5e Lesson Plan Model
Many of my science lessons are based upon and taught using the 5E lesson plan model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. This lesson plan model allows me to incorporate a variety of learning opportunities and strategies for students. With multiple learning experiences, students can gain new ideas, demonstrate thinking, draw conclusions, develop critical thinking skills, and interact with peers through discussions and hands-on activities. With each stage in this lesson model, I select strategies that will serve students best for the concepts and content being delivered to them. These strategies were selected for this lesson to facilitate peer discussions, participation in a group activity, reflective learning practices, and accountability for learning.
The Ecosystems and Interactions unit focuses on students recognizing the interrelationship between organisms and their ecosystems. It engages students in understanding that organisms have observable characteristics that are fully inherited and can be affected by the climate and/or environment. Students distinguish structures that define classes of animals and plants, and develop an understanding that all organisms go through predictable life cycles. They learn that organisms depend upon one another for growth and development and discover that plants use the sun's energy to produce food for themselves. They observe how the sun's energy is transferred within a food chain from producers to consumers to decomposers.
In this lesson, Living (Biotic) and Nonliving (abiotic) Parts of an Ecosystem, students explore the characteristics of living things by examining a variety of items, some living and some nonliving. After exploring these items, I use a powerpoint to explain six characteristics of living things. As I explain these characteristics, students are creating a foldable as a model to display them. The lesson wraps up with a long term assignment: create a realistic ecosystem poster that displays biotic and abiotic features in that area. They apply what they have been learning in the last two lessons by following a rubric and then writing an analysis about their poster. This is collected and used as a summative assessment on their understanding of an ecosystem.
Next Generation Science Standards
This lesson will address and support future lessons on the following NGSS Standard(s):
2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
5-LS1-1. Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment
5-PS3-1. Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.
Why Do I Teach this Lesson and Address This Standard?
I teach the Living (Biotic) and Nonliving (abiotic) Parts of an Ecosystem lesson because many of my students have very limited background in science since the elementary school's within my district do not formally teach science prior to my students entering the 5th grade (the middle school); therefore, they have not been exposed to earlier grade level NGSS standards or other previous state standards pertaining to animals, plants, and ecosystems. I find it important to expose my students to parts of these earlier standards in order for them to truly develop a thorough understanding of how matter moves among organisms and developing models to describe how animals' food was once energy from the sun in future lessons. Students take part in inquiry based investigations and apply their evidence to explain outcomes and phenomenons. Providing my students the opportunity to practice this type of learning will help to facilitate their scientific thinking for future investigations in any lesson.
Scientific & Engineering Practices
Students are engaged in the following scientific and engineering Practices
3.) Planning and Carrying Out an Investigation: Students investigate several items to identify characteristics that distinguish living things from nonliving things. They use their data as evidence to explain why it is living thing and/or nonliving thing.
8.) Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information: Students obtain information about the characteristics of living things by examining six different materials and constructing a foldable that displays this information. They illustrate their understanding by creating an ecosystem poster that includes living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) things.
The Living (Biotic) and Nonliving (abiotic) Parts of an Ecosystem lesson will correlate to other interdisciplinary areas. These Crosscutting Concepts include:
4.) Systems and Systems Models: Students identify characteristics of living things that distinguish them from nonliving things that make up an ecosystem and create a poster to model the components that interact with one another in order for that ecosystem thrive.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Disciplinary Core Ideas within this lesson include:
LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
Importance of Modeling to Develop Student
Responsibility, Accountability, and Independence
Depending upon the time of year, this lesson is taught, teachers should consider modeling how groups should work together; establish group norms for activities, class discussions, and partner talks. In addition, it is important to model think aloud strategies. This sets up students to be more expressive and develop thinking skills during an activity. The first half of the year, I model what group work and/or talks “look like and sound like.” I intervene the moment students are off task with reminders and redirecting. By the second and last half of the year, I am able to ask students, “Who can give of three reminders for group activities to be successful?” Who can tell us two reminders for partner talks?” Students take responsibility for becoming successful learners. Again before teaching this lesson, consider the time of year, it may be necessary to do a lot of front loading to get students to eventually become more independent and transition through the lessons in a timely manner.
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