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Understanding Science Vocabulary and Categorization
Lesson Objective:Students expand their knowledge and understanding of scientific language and categorization as related to commonly known plants and animals.
Instructional Focus:Understanding Science Vocabulary and Categorization
Supplies:Visual Thesaurus and Student Handout
In addition, students may want to refer to books such as a biology text book or an encyclopedia to research scientific names or additional animal/plants characteristics.
Instructional Plan:Students are asked to perform four major tasks:
- Hypothesize about a specific plant or animal, thinking about its scientific name, categories, and characteristics of the organism;
- Understand the complexity of the scientific naming and language that can be used to describe commonly known plants and animals;
- Learn new concepts and vocabulary associated with common plants and animals; and
- Compare and contrast scientific language with creative writing language.
Variations:Individual: Lesson as given; "Challenge" section can be assigned or omitted based on level of students or time frame.
Small Group: Students can collaborate on plant and animal descriptions or work in groups to explore different plants and animals.
Whole class: Teacher can chose science words or concepts that relate to in-class science curriculum to reinforce concepts and knowledge from areas other than Language Arts.
ESL/LEP: Lesson as given is appropriate, though categorizing plants and animals and differentiating scientific and creative writing may beyond intermediate students? abilities.
Life Sciences:Understands biological evolution and the diversity of life (S. 7)
Level II, Grade 3-5Knows that there are similarities and difference in the appearance and behavior of plants and animals, and different ways that animals can be grouped (S. 7.2)
Level III, Grade 6-8Knows ways in which living things can be classified (e.g., taxonomic groups of plants, animals, and fungi; groups based on the details of organisms? internal and external features; groups based on functions served within an ecosystem such as producers, consumers, and decomposers) (S. 7.5) Understands the nature of scientific knowledge (S. 11)
Level IV, Grade 9-12Knows ways in which science distinguishes itself from other ways of knowing and from other bodies of knowledge (e.g., use of empirical standards, logical arguments, skepticism) (S. 11.1)
Writing:General skills and strategies of the writing process (S. 1), including using content, style, and structure appropriate to specific audiences (S. 1.5) and writing that is aimed towards a specific audience using evidence or support (S. 1.10)
Use of the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing (S. 2, 2.1), including use of paragraphs and sentences to organize writing (S 2.2)
Reading:Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process (S. 5), including using a variety of strategies to extend vocabulary, improve understanding of definitions, and compare and verify words meanings, shades of meaning, and word differences in context (S. 5.3)
Reflects upon what has been learned after reading and formulates ideas, opinions and personal responses to text (S. 5.6) Gathers and uses information from reading for research purposes, including assessing the appropriateness of an information source for a research topic (S. 4.5)
Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts (S. 7), including the ability to identify and compare sources for different purposes (S. 7.1, 7.2)
Notes:Note 1: The standards used in these lessons follow the McREL guidelines, concentrating on grades 6-8, primarily in the Language Arts (writing, reading, listening, and speaking). Abbreviated Standards are listed here.
Note 2: The ESL variations given are most suitable for intermediate and advanced learners.