In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes one common virus that takes a sneaky route to success. It doesn't kill its leafy hosts, instead, it makes infected plants smell more attractive to bees. This ensures the virus will have a new generation of the plants to host it in the future. This lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a rubric.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 6, 7, 8
Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: symbiosis, ecology, mutualism, parasitism, virus, symbiotic relationships, parasite, pollinate, text complexity, informational text
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Compare and contrast relationships among organisms found within an ecosystem focusing on mutualism, commensalism, parasitism, and competition.
- Explain the effects of the cucumber mosaic virus on plants.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Use various vocabulary strategies to define academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a multiparagraph response that clearly establishes a main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
- Students should have a general familiarity with the process of flower pollination. This short review , titled "Flower Reproduction" (2:10, uploaded by YouTube user Mark Drollinger), can be shown to students prior to reading the article to improve comprehension.
- Students should have a general understanding of what a virus is and how they work. This short review video, titled "What is a Virus? How do Viruses Work?" (4:30, uploaded by YouTubeuserWinchPharmaGroup), can be shown prior to reading the article to improve comprehension.
- The teacher may choose to address that viruses are not considered to be true living organisms because they do not share all of the characteristics of life, and therefore, some argue viruses are similar to parasites but are not true parasites.
- Students should have an understanding of the different relationships that exist in a community. Khan Academy's resource page on ecological interactions provides information about parasitism and mutualism.
- Students should understand that plants do have ways to normally defend themselves against pathogens. How Plants Work has a website titled "Do Plants Have an Immune System?" that provides basic information for the teacher and student on this topic.
- Students should have a general understanding of how enzymes are used to fight viruses. This website from Enzyme Stuff may be helpful to both the teacher and the student depending on their knowledge base.
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text. For this lesson, prior experience in using context clues to determine the meaning of words in a text would be beneficial. In addition, students should have some dictionary skills that will enable them to look up words with multiple meanings and determine the most appropriate meaning based on how a word is used in a text.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in the article "Sneaky! Virus Sickens Plants, but Helps Them Multiply" include the title, subtitle, headings, images, and captions.
- Based on the provided writing rubric, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and include relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. This site provides transitions teachers might provide.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- How does the cucumber mosaic virus increase a plant's chance for reproduction?
The virus can turn a plant's genes on and off, changing the scent that the plant produces. This change in scent can make the plant more attractive to pollinating insects, increasing the plant's chances of reproduction.
- How does the relationship between the cucumber mosaic virus and tomato plants differ from the relationship between bumblebees and tomato plants?
Some types of relationships in an ecosystem result in harm or death to one of the organisms involved while the other organism involved benefits. The virus uses the tomato plant for reproduction and when a tomato plant is infected by the cucumber mosaic virus, it becomes small and misshapen. Another type of relationship found between organisms increases the survival rate of both involved. The bumblebee pollinates the tomato plant while the flowers on the tomato plant provide a food source for the bumblebees.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
Lesson opener/attention getter:
- Play the 3-minute video from Scholastic titled "" and then complete the video quiz as a whole class (this video requires registration for the site). As an alternative, show the video titled "Symbiosis: Mutualism, Commensalism, and Parasitism" (5:16, uploaded by YouTube user Untamed Science).
- Ask students to list three relationships between organisms they are familiar with that were not shown in the video. Ask students to draw next to each organism a "happy face" if the organism benefits from this relationship, a "sad face" if the organism is harmed or killed, and a "face with straight mouth" if the organism is neither harmed nor helped in the relationship. Have students share their answers with the class.
- Next, show the students the following image of the cucumber mosaic virus. Ask the students if they know what they are looking at. Tell the students they are looking at a computer generated image of the cucumber mosaic virus.
- Ask students if they know how viruses affect different organisms. Sample responses may include they make them sick, they can kill them, etc. Inform the students that viruses are referred to as obligate parasites because they rely on their host's cells machinery to reproduce but do not always kill the host they live in.
- The teacher may choose to address that viruses are not considered to be true living organisms because they do not share all of the characteristics of life, therefore, some argue viruses are similar to parasites but are not true parasites.
- Finally tell students they will be reading an article from Science News for Students about the cucumber mosaic virus which can infect tomato plants making them small and sick, but more attractive to pollinators!
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
Instructions for setting up and leading the activity that the students will complete with teacher guidance:
- Provide each student with a copy of the article, "."
- For class discussions that will follow, it might be helpful to have students number each paragraph within each section. They can also number the sections (Section 1 follows the subtitle, Section 2 is "2b or not 2b").
- Note: The end of article on the Science News for Students site includes a "Power Words" section. Teachers should not include these terms/definitions when distributing copies of the article to students as the literacy components of this lesson focus on helping students determine the meaning of many of these (and other) terms in context.
- Provide each student with a copy of the note-taking guide.
- Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: Sneaky! Virus Sickens Plants, but Helps Them Multiply
- Subtitle: Infected tomato plant gives off special perfume that lures bees
- Headings: 2b or not 2b
- Have students fill out the note-taking guide as they read the text. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in small groups. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies to define the meaning of the words. Vocabulary tips are located in the sample answer key. For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge and use a dictionary to define the words.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their completed note-taking guides, checking their work, providing written feedback, or grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers should use the sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
- For discussion of students' answers to the defined vocabulary words, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to provide alternative suggestions as to how the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond.
- The only relationships organisms have in an ecosystem is based on feeding.
Discuss with students that organisms have many needs in an ecosystem. They need to reproduce, hide, find a home, protect themselves, and get food/energy. Organisms within different ecosystems have evolved to make connections with other organisms to help them with any of these needed resources and not just food.
- Plants cannot have a relationship with other organisms in an ecosystem because they are not mobile.
Discuss with students that, while plants are not mobile, they can still have relationships with other organisms. The more mobile organism can move toward the plant but plants can also grow towards other plants. Some plants are even parasitic, they derives some or all of its nutritional requirements from another living plant. To reinforce this concept, play this video from PBS titled "Dodder Vine Sniffs out Its Prey."
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Instructions for facilitating the activity that students will complete independently or in groups:
- Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
- Note: The text-dependent questions document includes both the student handout as well as a sample answer key for teachers to use to assess student work. Teachers should be careful not to distribute the key to students.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers should use the sample answer key included with the text-dependent questions document to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the text-dependent questions sample answer key.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing prompt, be sure to review their responses to the other text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
- Students should complete the writing response. Provide the list of "Power Words" (from the article) to students and ask them to include at least four of the terms in their response.
- After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with anLCD projector and discuss:
- How the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph; have students identify the main point of the piece. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.
- Have students examine each of the body paragraphs and explain how each supports the main point of the piece.
- Have students identify where the writer effectively uses textual evidence from the article for support of his or her points.
- Have students identify the use of transition words or phrases that make the ideas flow.
- Ask students to identify where domain-specific vocabulary is used accurately and effectively.
- Have students read the final paragraph to see how the writer wrapped up the piece and connected back to the main point established in the introduction.
- Teachers may have students use the rubric to provide a score for the sample written response and have them justify the score they gave, possibly providing revision suggestions for any categories they scored lower than a 4.
Introduce the terms mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism. Refer back to or replay the Scholastic video titled "." Have students try to use the correct term to represent the relationship between the plant and the virus (parasitic) and the plant and the bee (mutualistic). Then have students draw pictures to illustrate the parasitic and mutualistic relationships in the article.
- Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over it with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
- Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address. Encourage students to underline key parts of the prompt as the teacher goes over it so they will remember to answer all the required parts:
Using details from the text, write to compare and contrast the plant's relationship with the virus to the plant's relationship with the bee. Be specific, and describe how each organism you discuss either benefits or is negatively impacted from the relationship.
- Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for conducting Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson.
Accommodations & Recommendations
For students struggling with the science content:
- The titled "Viruses: Virus Replication and The Mysterious Common Cold" (7:21, uploaded by YouTube user Amoeba Sisters) may help students who benefit from receiving information in a visual format. This may be shown before students read the text. Students will be able to have a basic idea on how viruses generally work.
- Teachers may want to show students pictures of tomato plants infected by the cucumber mosaic virus.
For readers struggling with the text:
- It might benefit students to chunk the text. Have students independently read section one, then have several strong readers read section one aloud.
- Then, have students highlight selected vocabulary for section one on the article. Work with students to model ways to define a few of the academic vocabulary words to get them started. The teacher can think aloud as he or she decides which vocabulary strategy or strategies to use to define a word, and think aloud while deciding which meaning from a dictionary entry with multiple meanings would be the best fit for how the word is used in the context of the article.
- When students are ready, have them share their answers and provide corrective verbal feedback as needed, allowing students to make corrections to their work. Then repeat this process for the other sections of the text if needed. Or, at least have students complete the graphic organizer for the next section and receive feedback on their work before they move on.
For struggling writers:
- It might help struggling writers to provide them with an outline to help them structure their response. The outline might include places for them to record:
- Introduction paragraph
- Ideas on how to introduce the topic
- A few specifics from the text they might want to use to support or explain the topic
- A place to write down their main point(s)
- Body paragraphs:
- Topic sentences (the first sentence of each body paragraph that will reveal the point of the paragraph and will connect to the paper's overall main point)
- Specific evidence from the text for support in each body paragraph
- Ideas for transition words
- Ideas for use of selected vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s)
- Have students continue to explore different symbiotic relationships with the CPALMS lesson (Resource ID 127754). Have students report their findings back to the class.
- Have students research other plant viruses and how they affect plants. The following American Phytopathological Society website can provide information for the students on plant viruses in general. If they choose to explore more on the cucumber mosaic virus, the following link provides detailed information for the students.
- Have students research positive examples of viruses and how they may be beneficial for humans. The following website from the American Society for Microbiology provides examples for students to explore.
Suggested Technology: Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones
For teachers who would like more support in understanding and implementing Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects into their science curriculum, please see the teacher tutorials featured in the section of this lesson's CPALMS resource page labeled "Attached Resources."
The grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the Standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Tracy Colucci
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Broward
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.