The Moon: Science Mentor Text {freebie} and Sparking Motivation (late)

Happy Sunday!

I wanted to link up with Joanne AND Collaboration Cuties this weekend, and blogging just didn’t happen yesterday, so here I am today to do both. :o)

When I taught about the moon recently, I used one of my strategies I just learned about in my Gifted Endorsement class: Inductive Learning. It’s a great way for students to be creative in their thinking while working together.
I started off with the Phases of the Moon rap I shared with you a couple of weeks ago:

Then I showed them a picture that I took in 2012 with my zoom lens when we had the supermoon:

My kids think it’s awesome that I took this picture, but they love even more being able to see the moon “up-close” and talking about things they can’t really see when they just look at the moon from their backyard.

At this point, I grouped students and gave each group a set of Moon Word Cards (which I had run on cardstock and laminated). Click to download the cards for free!

The students had to sort the cards into categories – but they had to decide on the categories themselves. You could really see the creativity come out as the students discussed where the words belonged, and what words were related, with VERY limited knowledge (I had not officially begun teaching the moon at this point).

The students wrote the words under their categories they created in their notebooks:

Then I read them The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons.

Gail Gibbons is one of my favorite science mentor text authors, and this is another book that doesn’t disappoint!

It’s a great overview of all things lunar :o) and it has great illustrations!

After we read the book, the students returned to their groups and decided if any of their words needed to be moved to another category, or even if a new category needed to be created.

To assess their understanding of the words, I asked the students to choose one category they created and explain why they put their words in that category. Here are a few examples (typed word-for-word from their paragraphs):

The category I picked is what the moon has. The words are near side, far side, crater, phases, wane, and wax. You might be puzzled as to why I picked wane and wax it’s because the moon has waxing and waning phases. It also has a near side which is the side we always see at night. It has a far side that we could never see unless we went to outer space. The moon has phases and craters too.

My group I will share is causes and in my group are tides, lunar, eclipse, and month. The moon causes high tides and low tides. The moon is the cause of lunar eclipses. It is also the cause of the months because it takes about a month so that’s probably why we have months.

The catockory (hee hee! how great is that spelling??) I chose is what the moon does the words that are in that catockory are moon set, rotate, reflect, revolve, and moon rise. The moon rises and sets in the sky. It rotates and revolves around Earth. It reflects the sun’s light. That is the things the moon does at night.

If you teach the moon, you should definitely try this activity. If you have some low babies in your room, you can always differentiate by giving them the categories instead of having them think of them on their own… or give them fewer cards to sort.

Speaking of writing… that’s our topic for Workshop Wednesday this week!

This week, let’s share how we get students to GET STARTED on their writing piece– what are some strategies you use to get your students to begin writing instead of staring at their paper? (You know the ones I’m talking about!!)

Have a great Sunday!