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    Life Science - Grade 4 - Environments

    Overview

    In the FOSS Environments unit students are asked to share their ideas for why such diversity of plant types within different ecological communities on the Olympic Peninsula. Students are presented with images taken at three different locations on the Olympic Peninsula and ask to make claims as to why the plants look so different from place to place. Over the course of two to three days students will develop their arguments as they are provided with further evidence for the variation in plant structure which includes weather patterns, elevation, and climate data.

    Students will learn that different organisms have different structures that allow them to survive in specific habitats. They will observe that the Douglas Fir in the Hoh Rainforest has a massive trunk and reaches way into the canopy to compete for energy from the sun, but the cactus in Sequim has a hard leathery skin to prevent moisture from escaping. Students will set-up terrariums and consider the living and non-living factors as they observe growth and change over time. They will learn about ecosystems and energy flow through an ecosystem and consider the transfer of energy through the living systems that they are observing.

    This activity will then lead into an exploration of terrariums which are set up and monitored by the students in Investigation 1. Students learn about the llving and non-living factors that will impact the growth of the plants within the terrarium over two weeks of collecting observations. They then consider the living and non-living factors impacting the plants within the various environments on the Olympic Peninsula.

     

    Planning for Engagement

    Planning for engagement with important science ideas 

    Background information about the unit, and what children think about the ideas need to understand an interesting phenomenon or anchoring event.

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    Eliciting Student Ideas

    Eliciting students' ideas

    Revealing the range of resources that students use to reason about a set of science ideas (working theories, everyday experiences, language), Activating their prior knowledge about the topic, and helping you to adapt upcoming instruction, based on how students reason about the anchoring event.  

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    Supporting Changes in Thinking

    Supporting ongoing changes in student thinking

    Providing experiences and guiding their explorations. The purpose is to help students develop new ideas to use in revising explanations and models for the anchoring phenomena. 

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    Pressing for Evidence-Based Explanations

    Pressing for Evidence-Based Explanations

    Providing experiences and guiding their explorations. The purpose is to help students develop new ideas to use in revising explanations and models for the anchoring phenomena. 

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    This entire unit guide is available for download as an 8 page, 11 x 17 PDF document.