In2Books Super Scientists: Investigations with Informational Texts! An ePals Project

Ready to turn your students into Super Scientists? In this project, your students will participate in cooperative science learning: first reading to find out about a shared science topic, then asking thoughtful questions about the topic, conducting a hands-on experiment using the scientific method to find answers to their questions, and then sharing their learning/findings with the ePals global community through a science report. We provide nonfiction reading strategy lessons as well as a lesson on the scientific method. Talking, reading, writing, questioning – this project is an engaging cycle of deep learning - motivated by the anticipation of communicating science learning with the ePals community!

Special Note: You may participate in this project as:

a) a solo class (and interact with other ePals through the Science Learning Center),

b) as a multi-class project with other ePals classrooms (and use your own project forum to communicate amongst your classrooms and the ePals forums to communicate with the wider ePals Global Community),

c) as a classroom-to-classroom email exchange.


Subjects: Science



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Ready to turn your students into Super Scientists? In this project, your students will participate in cooperative science learning: first reading to find out about a shared science topic, then asking thoughtful questions about the topic, conducting a hands-on experiment using the scientific method to find answers to their questions, and then sharing their learning/findings with the ePals global community through a science report. We provide nonfiction reading strategy lessons as well as a lesson on the scientific method. Talking, reading, writing, questioning – this project is an engaging cycle of deep learning - motivated by the anticipation of communicating science learning with the ePals community!

Special Note: You may participate in this project as:

a) a solo class (and interact with other ePals through the Science Learning Center),

b) as a multi-class project with other ePals classrooms (and use your own project forum to communicate amongst your classrooms and the ePals forums to communicate with the wider ePals Global Community),

c) as a classroom-to-classroom email exchange.

Objectives:

1. Students will research a science topic through informational texts.

2. Students will examine elements of the genre of science informational texts.

3. Students will make comparisons between the genre of science informational texts and other familiar genres.

4. Students will work collaboratively to conduct experiments on their topic using the scientific method.

5. Students will practice the conventions of standard English when posting to forums and writing their science report. For some students, this will be authentic practice in their second (target) language.

6. Students will practice the important 21st century skills of collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

7. Students may build a relationship via email with a student in another region of the world.



Essential Questions:

How do informational texts support my understanding of science topics?

What is the scientific method?

How can reading, writing, listening and speaking be used to help a scientific investigation?



Common Core ELA Standards

This project meets up to 14 ELA Standards for Grades 2-5.



Reading 1, 5, 7, 10

Writing 2, 6, 7, 8, 10

Speaking and Listening 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

Culminating Activity Description: The culmination of any scientific inquiry process is a final report that communicates the extent and results of their investigation. Through this sharing of information, science advances, step by step. In this culminating activity, students learn how to write a science report with six key parts, and share their reports with the ePals global community.


Teach Lesson: Write A Science Report. Within this lesson students receive the handout Science Report Guidelines (found in the project resources tab), and they participate in composing their reports and engaging in peer revision/editing of their reports.

•Project Forum: Add a fourth thread to your project forum called “Science Reports” for students to post questions and get help with their science reports.

•Final copies of student reports should be posted in the Science Showcase to share with the entire ePals Global Community!

Follow these steps to participate.

1. Complete the Project and Culminating Activity


Do the in-class project activities to find out more about your topic through reading and experimenting!

2. Share Your Work

Share your experiment report with the ePals Global Community through the Science Learning Center “Science Showcase.”

3. Keep Learning!

Visit the ePals Science Learning Center and continue to learn about science!



Key Elements

Unit Preparation:

1. Choose a science topic to drive this project. Choose a topic that works with your science content curriculum or a topic promoted in the ePals Science Learning Center. Just make sure the topic is intriguing to your students!

2. Decide if you will complete the project as a solo-class or as a multi-classroom collaboration. If you would like to proceed as a multi-class collaboration, you will need to start a project and find other classrooms to join your project. When you start a project, you will get a project forum and wiki. Directions within each project step tell you how to use your project forum and wiki for multi-class discussions and collaborations.

3. Identify and acquire informational science resources that your students can use to research your topic. Consider books, magazine articles and websites that are at an independent reading level for your students.

4. View the Teaching Tutorial Science Nonfiction Comprehension for ideas on teaching students how to read nonfiction science texts.



Step 1: Before Reading: This step prepares students for the topic study and the use of informational/nonfiction science resources for research.

•Teach Lesson: Exploring the Genre and Topic (found in project resources tab)

Project Forum: Within the project forum, create an initial thread called “Introductions” and invite students to introduce themselves and share: a) what they already know about the topic, b) what they are hoping to learn about the topic, b) why this topic is important.



Step 2: During Reading: This step gives students 3 specific nonfiction comprehension strategies (Coding, Read/Remember/Represent/Retell and Graphic Aid Monitoring) to utilize to gather information about their science topic by reading science resources. Students should now be reading their science resources.

•Teach Lesson: Comprehension Strategies for Informational Science Texts

•Project Forum: Within your project forum, create a second thread for “Science Resources.” In this forum students should share what nonfiction science resource they are reading, which strategy from the comprehension lesson they have found most effective during their reading and 2 interesting things they have learned about the topic thus far.

•Additional Help: If your students need additional strategies for nonfiction reading comprehension, introduce one of the following strategies (explanations of each strategy can be found in the resource tab):, ISP Organizer, Code, Comprehend, Synthesize

•Project Wiki: Create a page within your project wiki entitled “Topic Learning.” Invite students from all participating classes to post interesting facts about the topic to this wiki page. Remind students to a) list their resource for each fact they list and b) not repeat facts that are already listed. Your wiki page will become your own collaborative informational resource about the topic!



Step 3: After Reading: Now that students have acquired more information about their topic through reading informational texts, they are ready to continue topic exploration with hands-on experiments that follow the scientific method. Classes will compose their own questions to research and conduct experiments.

•Teach Lesson: Exploring Our Topic With The Scientific Method Within this lesson, students design and complete their experiment.

•Global Community Forum: Invite students to visit the Science Center student forums, to discuss their experiment plans and to read about experiments being conducted by other students around the world!

•Project Forum: Add a third thread to your project forum called “Our Experiments” for the participating classrooms to update each other on their plans, implementation and results of the experiments! Invite students to make posts answering the following questions:

o What was the most difficult challenge in designing or conducting your experiment? How did you address that challenge?

o What question did you choose to research in your experiment? What other questions did you consider?

o If you were to do the experiment again, what would you do differently?

o What did you learn from doing this experiment?

o What questions do you still have about the topic?



Step 4: Culminating Activity: Students write science reports.

•Teach Lesson: Write A Science Report. Within this lesson students receive the handout Science Report Guidelines (found in the project resources tab), and they participate in peer revision/editing of their reports.

•Project Forum: Add a fourth thread to your project forum called “Science Reports” for students to post questions and get help with their science reports.

•Final copies of student reports should be posted in the Science Showcase to share with the entire ePals Global Community!



Step 5: Project Reflection

•Project Forum: Create a fifth thread in your project forum called “Project Reflections. Students should post a project reflection on the project forum. Post questions within the forum to guide students such as:

1. What was the highlight of the project for you?

2. Was there anything surprising you learned about the topic?

3. Which resource would you recommend to a friend wanting to learn about the topic? Explain.

4. What do you still want to know about the topic and how do you plan to find out?

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Optional Email Exchange: If you choose to supplement this project with an ePals email exchange, consider using these prompts to guide the email exchange.

After Step 1: First Email: In this email students should: a) introduce themselves and share two interesting facts about where they live, b) share what they already know about the topic, and c) share what they are hoping to find out about the topic.



After Step 2: During Reading: While reading, students participate in a back-and-forth email exchange with their ePal about their reading. Students should share their thoughts, questions and critiques for each resource they read. To prompt deeper discussion, ask students to consider responding to some of the following questions as they discuss the resources with their ePals:

•How would you make this article more exciting for kids to read?

•How is this article the same (or different) as ____(another article in the magazine, a related book or website)___?

•If you could talk with the author of this article, what would you ask?

•Did the author use any interesting words or words that are new to you? If so, share the word, its meaning and why you think the author chose to use that particular word.

•What is your opinion on the structure the author used to organize the text? How about the graphics? Would you recommend any changes to the structure or graphics to make the information easier to understand?

•What were the main ideas in the article? Did this article answer any of your KWL chart questions?

Provide students with the Email Checklist and Sample Letter to help guide their email exchange.



After Step 3: Experiment Sharing. Invite students to correspond about the process of designing and implementing their experiment using the scientific method.



During Step 4: Peer Revising/Editing of Science Report: Invite ePals to exchange drafts of their science report for peer revision/editing.



After Step 5: Students exchange a final email, saying goodbye and reflecting on this project experience. Email should include the following:

1. Share at least one thing that they learned from the email exchange, reading, experiment or their ePal’s science report that they did not know before starting the project and explain how learning this information has impacted them.

2. Reflect on the overall project experience.

3. Share at least one thing that they would like to know more about (relating to the project).

4. Give a friendly closing and thank the other student for being their ePal.



Optional Homework Extensions: Consider assigning the homework of having students write a book review of an informational science book. Students can post their reviews in the ePals Global Community In2Books Clubhouse – “Review A Book” Gallery.




Project Leader:

Country:
Subjects: Science

# of Students: 21-30
Age Range: 8-10
Collaboration: Email Exchange, Skype / Video Chat
Languages: English

About my classroom: BF Yancey is a small, rural elementary school of approximately 150 students in grades pre-Kindergarten through Fifth, located in central Virginia, USA. We are interested in communicating with other students from as many countries as possible regarding your school lunch experience. Do students eat in a cafeteria or common space? What foods are eaten for lunch at school where you live? Is the lunchtime meal prepared by the school or do students bring their own food from home? Are the meals sourced from local farmers and providers? What are the components of your favorite school lunch? We are especially interested in collecting photos of school lunches from around the world! Currently, we prefer to correspond by email and Skype, and to write at least 2x per month. We look forward to meeting you and learning about the food culture of your area.