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  • MI.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.10
6.3 Weather, Climate & Water Cycling
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This unit on weather, climate, and water cycling is broken into four separate lesson sets. In the first two lesson sets, students explain small-scale storms. In the third and fourth lesson sets, students explain mesoscale weather systems and climate-level patterns of precipitation. Each of these two parts of the unit is grounded in a different anchoring phenomenon.

The unit starts out with anchoring students in the exploration of a series of videos of hailstorms from different locations across the country at different times of the year. The videos show that pieces of ice of different sizes (some very large) are falling out of the sky, sometimes accompanied by rain and wind gusts, all on days when the temperature of the air outside remained above freezing for the entire day. These cases spark questions and ideas for investigations, such as investigating how ice can be falling from the sky on a warm day, how clouds form, why some clouds produce storms with large amounts of precipitation and others don’t, and how all that water gets into the air in the first place.

The second half of the unit is anchored in the exploration of a weather report of a winter storm that affected large portions of the midwestern United States. The maps, transcripts, and video that students analyze show them that the storm was forecasted to produce large amounts of snow and ice accumulation in large portions of the northeastern part of the country within the next day. This case sparks questions and ideas for investigations around trying to figure out what could be causing such a large-scale storm and why it would end up affecting a different part of the country a day later.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Assessment
Lesson Plan
Student Guide
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Unit of Study
Author:
Assessment Specialist Colleen O’Brien
Boston College Emily Harris
BSCS Science Learning Audrey Mohan
BSCS Science Learning Dawn Novak
BSCS Science Learning Katie Van Horne
BSCS Science Learning Lindsey Mohan
BSCS Science Learning Tracey Ramirez
Columbia University Elisabeth Cohen
Indian Woods Middle School Ann Rivet
Indian Woods Middle School Whitney Smith
Lombard Middle School Vanessa Hannana
Michael Novak
Northwestern University Renee Affolter
Williston Central School Heather Galbreath
Date Added:
08/04/2020
7.4 Matter Cycling & Photosynthesis
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This unit on matter cycling and photosynthesis begins with students reflecting on what they ate for breakfast. Students are prompted to consider where their food comes from and consider which breakfast items might be from plants. Then students taste a common breakfast food, maple syrup, and see that according to the label, it is 100% from a tree.

Based on the preceding unit, students argue that they know what happens to the sugar in syrup when they consume it. It is absorbed into the circulatory system and transported to cells in their body to be used for fuel. Students explore what else is in food and discover that food from plants, like bananas, peanut butter, beans, avocado, and almonds, not only have sugars but proteins and fats as well. This discovery leads them to wonder how plants are getting these food molecules and where a plant’s food comes from.

Students figure out that they can trace all food back to plants, including processed and synthetic food. They obtain and communicate information to explain how matter gets from living things that have died back into the system through processes done by decomposers. Students finally explain that the pieces of their food are constantly recycled between living and nonliving parts of a system.

Subject:
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Hydrology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Module
Unit of Study
Author:
Assessment Specialist Kelsey Edwards
BSCS Science Learning Meghan McCleary
BSCS Science Learning Tyler Scaletta
Chicago Public Schools Katie Van Horne
Field Test Unit Lead and Reviewer
Hugh B. Bain Middle School Elizabeth Xeng de los Santos
James Ward School Mary Colannino
Jamie Noll
Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance Emily Harris
Northwestern University Christina Murzynski
Northwestern University Dawn Novak
Northwestern University Kate Cook-Whitt
Northwestern University Misty Richmond
Northwestern University Tara McGill
The Nora Project Michael Novak
University of California – Davis Cindy Passmore
University of Illinois Extension Katy Fattaleh
University of Illinois Extension Sue Gasper
University of Nevada – Reno Chris Griesemer
Date Added:
08/04/2020
8.2 Sound Waves
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In this unit, students develop ideas related to how sounds are produced, how they travel through media, and how they affect objects at a distance. Their investigations are motivated by trying to account for a perplexing anchoring phenomenon — a truck is playing loud music in a parking lot and the windows of a building across the parking lot visibly shake in response to the music.

They make observations of sound sources to revisit the K–5 idea that objects vibrate when they make sounds. They figure out that patterns of differences in those vibrations are tied to differences in characteristics of the sounds being made. They gather data on how objects vibrate when making different sounds to characterize how a vibrating object’s motion is tied to the loudness and pitch of the sounds they make. Students also conduct experiments to support the idea that sound needs matter to travel through, and they will use models and simulations to explain how sound travels through matter at the particle level.

Subject:
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Assessment
Data Set
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Reading
Simulation
Student Guide
Unit of Study
Author:
Boston College Susan Kowalski
BSCS Science Learning Gail Housman
David Wooster Middle School Sara Ryner
Ideal Elementary School Jamie Noll
North Shore Country Day School Michael Novak
Northwestern University Chris Newlan
Northwestern University Tyler Scaletta
Renee Affolter
United Junior High School Katie Van Horne
Date Added:
08/05/2020
Afterimage
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this activity about light and perception, learners discover how a flash of light can create a lingering image called an "afterimage" on the retina of the eye. Learners will be surprised when they continue to see an image of a bright object after staring at it and looking away. Use this activity to introduce learners to principles of optics and perception as well as to explain why the full moon often appears larger when it is on the horizon than when it is overhead. This lesson guide also includes a few extensions like how to take "afterimage photographs."

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Date Added:
09/04/2019
The Amazing Red Planet
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The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the planet Mars. This lesson will begin by discussing the location and size of Mars relative to Earth, as well as introduce many interesting facts about this red planet. Next, the history of Martian exploration is reviewed and students discover why scientists are so interested in studying this mysterious planet. The lesson concludes with students learning about future plans to visit Mars.

Subject:
Engineering
Astronomy
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Chris Yakacki
Daria Kotys-Schwartz
Geoffrey Hill
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Bird in a Cage
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Stare at one color—but see another. You see color when receptor cells (called cones) in your eye’s retina are stimulated by light. There are three types of cones, and each is sensitive to a particular color range. If one or more of the three types of cones adapts to a stimulus because of long exposure, it responds less strongly than it normally would.

Subject:
Anatomy/Physiology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Date Added:
09/04/2019
Bone Density Challenge Introduction
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Students are introduced to the challenge question, which revolves around proving that a cabinet x-ray system can produce bone mineral density images. Students work independently to generate ideas from the questions provided, then share with partners and then with the class as part of the Multiple Perspectives phase of this unit. Then, as part of the associated activity, students explore multiple websites to gather information about bone mineral density and answer worksheet questions, followed by a quiz on the material covered in the articles.

Subject:
Engineering
Life Science
Physics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Kristyn Shaffer
Megan Johnston
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Breakfast Proteins
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
Rating

Construct a protein through cereal additions. Model the central dogma of molecular biology by constructing a colorful chain using a simple code (and some delicious cereal).

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Date Added:
09/04/2019
Bringing Algorithms into the Classroom
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CC BY-NC-SA
Rating

Students will take a sequence of events or steps for some process and create an algorithm. This could apply to any content area. They will display the algorithm in flowchart form. This activity can be modified for all grade levels and content areas.

Subject:
Computer Science
Arts and Humanities
English Language Arts
Life Science
Mathematics
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Author:
Cheryl Wilson
Date Added:
08/28/2020
Can You Taste It?
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Few people are aware of how crucial the sense of smell is to identifying foods, or the adaptive value of being able to identify a food as being familiar and therefore safe to eat. In this lesson and activity, students conduct an experiment to determine whether or not the sense of smell is important to being able to recognize foods by taste. The teacher leads a discussion that allows students to explore why it might be adaptive for humans and other animals to be able to identify nutritious versus noxious foods. This is followed by a demonstration in which a volunteer tastes and identifies a familiar food, and then attempts to taste and identify a different familiar food while holding his or her nose and closing his or her eyes. Then, the class develops a hypothesis and a means to obtain quantitative results for an experiment to determine whether students can identify foods when the sense of smell has been eliminated.

Subject:
Engineering
Nutrition
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Catch Up on Tomato Technology
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This lesson is a tool to demonstrate how various technological advances have changed the tomato and the tomato industry over the years. The technology includes both selective breeding and genetic engineering.

Subject:
Biology
Genetics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
National Park Service
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Date Added:
02/16/2018
Cell Celebration!
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In this lesson, the students look at the components of cells and their functions. The lesson focuses on the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Each part of the cell performs a specific function that is vital for the cell's survival. Bacteria are single-celled organisms that are very important to engineers. Engineers can use bacteria to break down toxic materials in a process called bioremediation, and they can also kill or disable harmful bacteria through disinfection.

Subject:
Engineering
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Glen Sirakavit
Janet Yowell
Kaelin Cawley
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Cellular Respiration and Bioremediation
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In this lesson, students learn about the basics of cellular respiration. They also learn about the application of cellular respiration to engineering and bioremediation. And, students are introduced to the process of bioremediation and several examples of how bioremediation is used during the cleanup of environmental contaminants.

Subject:
Engineering
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Janet Yowell
Kaelin Cawley
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Clipbirds
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This variation on the classic bird beak activity demonstrates variation of beak size within a population and shows how the proportion of big-, medium-, and small-beaked birds changes in response to the available types of food. The “birds” with binder clip “beaks” live in Clipland where the large population becomes divided into two smaller populations by a mountain range. Popcorn, lima beans and marbles are the three types of food available in the two areas. Food is spread out for the birds to eat and then after 15 seconds it is counted to see whether birds have gathered enough food to survive. The big billed birds need to eat more than the medium and small billed birds to survive and each bird needs to eat more than the minimum amount of food for survival to be able to reproduce. Four years pass during the simulation and students are asked to describe what happened to the Clipbird populations and what they think caused the changes. A link to Rosemary and Peter Grant’s research on finch populations in the Galapagos is identified for those teachers who want to connect the simulation to a real life example.

Subject:
Biology
Genetics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
UC Museum of Paleontology
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Author:
Al Janulaw, Judy Scotchmoor
Date Added:
02/16/2018
Continental Climate and Oceanic Climate
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This activity proposes different small experiments and discussions to show that in the summer it is cooler by the sea than on the land and that water cools off more slowly than soil.

Subject:
Physical Science
Oceanography
Physical Geography
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
International Astronomical Union
Provider Set:
astroEDU
Author:
Leiden Observatory
Date Added:
01/01/2016
Dueling Mandates
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Using dilemma cards describing some of the issues affecting Yellowstone National Park, students work in small groups to consider management issues that meet both of the conflicting mandates that the National Park Service must follow." There are 6 dilemmas that the class can be broken into groups to research. These dilemmas include wolf reintroduction, bison diseases, non-native trout, wildfires, resource sharing, and winter use of park lands. After researching each dilemma, students will make a pros/cons list, a final decision, and a brief presentation to the class. While the website recommends completing this lesson "after the expedition" to Yellowstone park, it can be done without visiting the park.

Subject:
Biology
Genetics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Date Added:
02/16/2018
Earth's Place in the Universe
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In this unit on Earth's Place in the Universe, 6th grade students will delve deeply into the universe and its stars as well as our solar system and Earth's place within it. 6th grade students will be able to develop and use a model of the Sun-Earth-Moon system in order to observe, describe, predict and explain the cyclical patterns of the lunar phases, solar and lunar eclipses, and the seasons.

 

The first part of this unit will focus on the universe at its stars. Students will be able to explain that the Earth and its solar system are part of the Milky Way galaxy, which is one of many galaxies.  Students will be able to understand the fact that the motion of the sun, the moon and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted and explained with models. This model of the solar system can explain tides, eclipses of the sun and moon, and the motion of the planets in the sky relative to the stars. Earth's spinning axis is fixed in direction over the short term but tilted relative to its orbit around the sun. The season are a result of that tilt and are caused by the differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year.

*This unit will end with the patterns of eclipses. The gravitational pull of the Sun and how it holds celestial objects in orbit, as well as causes the tides will occur after, but are not included in this document.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
Michigan Virtual
Author:
Jessica Zavodnik
Date Added:
08/27/2016
Eating & Exercise
Unrestricted Use
CC BY
Rating

How many calories are in your favorite foods? How much exercise would you have to do to burn off these calories? What is the relationship between calories and weight? Explore these issues by choosing diet and exercise and keeping an eye on your weight.

Subject:
Health, Medicine and Nursing
Life Science
Anatomy/Physiology
Biology
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Mathematics
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Franny Benay
Kate Semsar
Kathy Perkins
Noah
Noah Podolefsky
Sam Reid
Wendy Adams
Date Added:
10/01/2008
Florida Shipwrecks: 300 Years of Maritime History
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This is a travel itinerary featuring 13 historic shipwrecks in waters near Florida, a convergence point for maritime trade routes. Learn about the historical significance of these 13 shipwrecks. See photos and an essay on Florida maritime history.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Maritime Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
National Park Service
Date Added:
08/02/2007
A Good Foundation
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Students explore the effects of regional geology on bridge foundation, including the variety of soil conditions found beneath foundations. They learn about shallow and deep foundations, as well as the concepts of bearing pressure and settlement.

Subject:
Engineering
Education
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Geology
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Christopher Valenti
Denali Lander
Denise W. Carlson
Joe Friedrichsen
Jonathan S. Goode
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Natalie Mach
Date Added:
09/18/2014