Monday, March 31, 2014

Now & Ben: A Common Core, STEM Lesson

While perusing through Even More Picture Perfect Science Lessons by Morgan & Ansberry, I was excited to find a STEM lesson for Now & Ben by Gene Barretta. Now & Ben just happens to be the final reading story for the second grade Journeys series.  I was inspired to create a second grade lesson plan that incorporates several Common Core ELA standards and TN science standards. 

The lesson is available for download in both Smart Notebook and powerpoint formats on my Tennessee Trending Teacher Wikispace.  The Smart Notebook version has several interactive pieces that are not included in the powerpoint. These include quizzes, drag and drop Thinking Maps, and a hyperlinked content slide. 

The lesson begins by brainstorming circle maps and a read aloud.  Students are encouraged to activate prior knowledge and read closely for new information.  

The next step is to take a closer look at the differences between discoveries and inventions.  What were Ben Franklin's discoveries and inventions? What impact on history did Ben's accomplishments have?  Why would someone from long ago still be important today?

Students are then asked to contemplate problems.  With small groups, they discuss, design and even create inventions (solutions) for their problems.  Students critique their inventions and present their findings to the class.   

ELA is further incorporated by the introduction of cinquain poetry.  This simple 5 line form of poetry is tweaked to incorporate a review of nouns, verbs, & adjectives.  Students create their poems independently with teacher support & scaffolding as needed. Finally, poetry readings are digitally recorded for students to review and share with their families. 

This lesson is going to be a wonderful way to wrap up our school year. Those last two weeks of school can often drag on. I'm looking forward to engaging my students to really stretch their thinking and make connections between scientific ideas, history, and modern life.