Engage: Pose introductory questions, share personal experiences, and assess prior knowledge.
[**The Engage & Explore sections can be completed together in a 45-minute time slot and incorporated into a reading block if needed.]
- Pose the following questions to students, “Have you ever been in a blackout, where all the electricity went off?” Have students to turn and talk to a partner for a few minutes and share their story of a blackout.
- Allow students to share their story with the group. Have them phrase their story to answer these two questions: “What problems did you have? How did you solve them?” You may need to remind them to “tell the short version,” and guide the discussion to focus on cause/effect relationships and problem-solving.
Explore: Discuss content and begin to introduce vocabulary through children’s literature read aloud.
- Tell the students that today we are going to read a story about a little boy who has a blackout in his entire city. He and his family, and his neighbors, have to figure out what to do while waiting for the lights to come back on.
- Begin reading the story Blackout by John Rocco. When you get halfway through the story, where the lights are completely out, stop and introduce the vocabulary word “Light Source.”
- Look back to the earlier pages and have students point out all the light sources they see in the city and in the boy’s house. As you continue to read and enjoy the story, point out any additional light sources that come up.
- Explain that this concept of light sources will be the springboard for the next science topic—a study of light.
Explain: Continue to introduce vocabulary, create a list of light sources, and sort them into categories.
[This section can be completed in a 45-minute time slot and incorporated into Shared Writing if needed.]
- If returning to the lesson from a previous day, remind the students about the new science topic of light, and do a brief retell/picture walk through the Blackout story from earlier.
- Explain to the students that this part of the lesson is to brainstorm all the different light sources we can think of. We will start with the ones in the story, but we can include any others that we know also.
- Introduce vocabulary “Natural” and “Man-made.” Explain that light sources can come from nature, or be made by humans. We can put both kinds on the list.
- Tell the students that we will be creating a Padlet together to keep track our ideas. Show an iPad with the Padlet ready to go. Tell them it is like writing their idea on a sticky note to add to a chart. [Do a sample one with your name and light source as you give them the directions.]
- To create a “post,” they will click the plus sign in the bottom corner, and a little note box will appear. They click on the “Title” part and type in their name, then click on the “Write something…” part and type in their light source. Tapping outside of the note will close it and post it to the Padlet.
- Have students raise their hand one at a time to tell a light source. Then send them over to one of the iPads to add their idea to the list. As more students tell new ideas, send them to join one of the iPad groups. Going one at a time fro the whole group to small group helps eliminate students adding something to the Padlet multiple times.
- As everyone finishes, put the iPads away and display the chart on the projector screen. Reintroduce the concepts of “Natural” and “Man-made” light sources, and create a post with each word at the top of the padlet, one on the left, one on the right.
- As you read each student’s post aloud, ask them to tell you if their light source is natural or man-made, and move it to the appropriate side of the chart.
- If students have other ideas, add them as time allows.
- Distribute Light Source Exit Slips to students; close projector screen. Direct students to write/draw 2 light sources they know from nature in the top boxes and 2 man-made light sources in the next boxes. Tell them they can write a question about light or light sources they have started thinking about during this lesson.
Elaborate: Introduce and allow students to work in groups to explore Light Boxes.
[This section can be completed in a 45-minute time slot for science.]
- Tell students that today we are going to experiment with levels of light. This means how much light is available to see things. Recall all the different light sources from the previous part of the lesson. Ask students to describe examples of seeing things in the dark (looking out the window at night, walking through their house at night)—how well can you see? Are there any light sources in your house at night? Think about how your eyes “adjust” to darkness and let you see better. Think about how your eyes react when someone flips on a bright light! They are adjusting to let in more light so you can see better in the dark.
- Explain that today we will observe how objects look with different levels, or amounts, of light. Show the cards with the vocabulary words ("Bright, Dim, Dark, and Pitch Black") mixed up. Let students suggest how to rank them in order of most light to least light. Describe examples of each level of light. Explain that after our experiments, we will illustrate these new words and then write what happened with our experiment.
- Show a light box and demonstrate to everyone how to look in the side hole to see what is inside. Distribute a box to each group. Let them look inside and see what they can see. Since there is no light, it should be nothing, because the level of light is pitch black. Then have students uncover the hole so that some light gets in—explain that this is a dim level of light. How does the object change? How does it change when you shine a flashlight onto the hole? What level of light is that? (bright) Let all partners have a turn.
- Rotate to a different group and look in a new box. First without and then with a flashlight, using the vocabulary pitch black, dim, and bright as you give the directions. How can you tell what is in the box? What do you need? Rotate so that students have a turn to look at each box.
- As students are doing the activity, rotate to groups and discuss—what changes do you see each time? How does light affect your ability to see? What is the difference between dark and pitch black? What is the difference between bright and dim?
- Distribute the Levels of Light Exit Slip as students return to seats and clean up the light boxes and flashlights. Illustrate the 4 vocabulary words at the top of the page. Have students color the flower in the “bright” box. Tell them to keep those crayons out because they will color the flower exactly the same each time!! Leave the background white, because the flower will be fully illuminated. Then color the same flower in the “dim” box, but color over the entire quadrant with your gray crayon. Next, color the flower in the “dark” box but color over it with a black crayon (medium pressure, so that you can barely see the outline of the flower). Then color in the “pitch black” box darkly with the black crayon so that you cannot see the flower at all. Discuss that pitch black means no light sources and dark means that a little light is coming in from somewhere.
- Read the next two questions to students and have them describe the experiment and explain what they learned. As you collect the exit slips, challenge students to go home at night and look around their house in the dark. How do things appear? What can you see clearly? What is hard to see? What light sources are in your house?
Evaluate: Students apply content and vocabulary knowledge to the writing process for a narrative story.
[This section can be completed during your writing block, scheduling enough sessions to allow time for the pre-writing, conferencing & editing, final draft writing, and post-conferences.]
- Remind students of the story they told at the beginning of the lesson about the blackout. Allow them to turn and talk to a partner to retell their story. If they are struggling to remember a personal experience about a blackout, allow them to create a fictional story about what might happen if there was a blackout.
- Explain that today they will get to write their stories and will use what they have learned about light sources and levels of light to add details to their story.
- Show a copy of the Narrative Writing Rubric-Light. Tell students that they will use a list to help them remember all the things they need to include in this story. They will work on these stories for a couple of days and use the writing process to get a “well-done” copy at the end. Name each heading on the rubric and write the headings only on the board. [If students are very familiar with writing rubrics, you could possibly display the entire rubric on your projection screen. This may be too much information for/intimidating to beginning writers and a list of the headings to include is plenty!]
- Distribute writing materials and allow students to get started, providing help as needed to individuals and small groups. As students finish their first copy, allow them to edit, and then do a final copy—determine the pacing and procedures based on your current practice/schedule for writing block.
- Do a post conference with each student after final drafts are done, helping them look for the qualities and mark them on the rubric. Display in the hall, share with the class, publish, or send home as you choose according to your writing procedures.