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Copy of Lab's DEP Page

Page history last edited by tmedland@... 9 years, 8 months ago


Title of Unit


Grade Level

     3 & 4 

Subject Area (s)

     Science/Civics/Social Studies 

Time Frame

   September - December  2010

      (this is a semester long unit) 


     Tamara Medland & Karen Koski 

Desired Results (Stage 1)

Essential Content (Subject Area) Standards and Benchmarks/Indicators


Standard:  Earth Systems Science  

4.1 Earth is part of the solar system, which includes the Sun, Moon, and other bodies that orbit the Sun in predictable patterns that lead to observable paths of objects in the sky as seen from Earth.

3.1 Earth’s materials can be broken down and/or combined into different materials such as rocks, minerals, rock cycle, formation of soil, and sand – some of which are usable resources for human activity


Standard:  Civics

4.1 Analyze and debate multiple perspectives on an issue

3.1 Respecting the views and rights of others is a key component of a democratic society


Standard:  Geography

4.2 Connections within and across human and physical systems are developed


National Education Technology Standards (Choose 2-3 to focus on)


Net Standard 1: Creativity and Innovation

a. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products and processes

b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression

c. use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues


Net Standard 2:  Communication and Collaboration

a. interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts or others employing a variety of digital environments and media

b. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiply audiences using a variety of media and formats

d. contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems      


Net Standard 3: Research and Information Fluency

a. plan strategies to guide inquiry 

b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media 

c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks

d. process data and report results



Essential Questions

(connected to overarching and supporting understandings)

Overarching Understanding (“Big Idea”)


Everyone and everything is part of a system (or multiple systems) that is both independent and interacting.

What is a system?


Why do we study the solar system?


How do the actions of one piece of a system effect the others?


How are you a part of many systems?


In what ways is our classroom a system?


What part does geology play in the solar system?


Supporting Understandings


Understand what a system is


Understand that the actions of one component of the system effect all


Understand that you are part of many systems 



Students will know…


Students will be able to…


  • Patterns of movement for the Sun and Moon across the sky
  • Compare the Earth to other objects orbiting the Sun
  • How we study the solar system
  • How Earth’s materials are formed
  • Materials such as soil, sand, rocks, and oil come from different places
  • Processes that form different materials
  • The Earth's surface is always changing
  • Rocks “cycle”
  • The physical environment affects human activity
  • Human activity affects the environment in many ways
  • How people, places, and events help us understand the ideals of democratic system


  • Gather, analyze, and interpret data about the solar system
  •  Utilize direct and indirect evidence to investigate the solar system
  • Gather, analyze, and interpret data about the Sunrise and Sunset, and Moon movements and phases
  • Develop a scientific explanation regarding relationships of the components of the solar system
  • Investigate and identify two or more ways that Earth’s materials can be broken down and/or combined in different ways such as minerals into rocks, rock cycle, formation of soil, and sand
  • Use evidence to develop a scientific explanation about one or more processes that break down and/or combine Earth materials
  • Utilize a variety of media sources to collect and analyze data around Earth’s materials and the processes by which they are formed
  • Find and use information in an ethical way
  • Manage time responsibly and use appropriate work skills to complete and turn in work on time
  • Transference; transfer knowledge gained to other disciplines & real-world experiences


Assessment Evidence (Stage 2)


Assessment of Overarching Understanding/Big Idea


Assessment Criteria (students will be able to… student application of Six Facets of Understanding)


Assessment Tool (describe type of assessment tool to be used here - post completed tool with unit)


Assessment Strategy (summative performance task description)


Your goal is to show that you understand systems by creating a new system that you are a part of in some way (remember to be explicit about your interactions and the ripple effect that they have in your system).  Similar to the Zoom/Rezoom books, you will create a system that shows all of the ways you interact with your system. 


Students are researchers, analyzers, and presenters.


Demonstrate your new system to a small group of older more knowledgable students (high school or college)


Students will research, create, and present a new system and their place in it. 


  • Students will research multiple systems and their role in these systems (whether imaginary or real-life)
  • Students will apply the knowledge they have gained to create a new system (differentiation idea: students will choose a system to disect and examine in depth)
  • Students will write a script of dialog for their presentation (written piece) that introduces their system to someone/something that has just moved in so that they can function as a productive piece of the system
  • Students will add audio narration to their presentation 
  • Students will publish (using multimedia software) in the format of a photostory, frames video, or video from the flip cameras.
  • Students will present their new system with the projector & netbook to the class and older students 


Students' final product must meet the following criteria:

  • Explain what a system is and their part in it
  • Communicate the independent/interdependent properties of systems
  • Student's final product incorporates technology and a written component
  • Show an understanding that actions of one component of the system effect all others


Evidence of development of supporting understandings, knowledge and skills

(identify formative assessment criteria, strategies and tools for each)



Teacher observation

Rubric for presentation

Rubric for written piece

Rubric for work skills

Rubric for research skills


Evidence of student application of selected National Educational Technology Standards during the course of the unit? (Note: assessment of the NETS standards should be integrated with assessment of unit understandings, knowledge and skills and embedded within unit learning activities)





Learning Experiences (Stage 3)

                   Consider the questions in the boxes below as you design learning experiences that support student achievement of desired results and exploration of unit essential questions.



     A. Building Background/Connecting to Students’ Current Understandings, Knowledge and Skills

     B.  Student Exploration of Essential Questions


Classroom Systems: 

1.  Clarify classroom routines & rituals - have students perform different roles each day

2.  Create a classroom society to be used in minisociety

3.  Discuss families & neighborhoods - systems are everywhere

4.  Service learning project - how our actions influence a system

5.  Brainstorm ways each student is part of our classroom system

6.  In small groups, name the different aspects of each of the systems in your classroom

7.  Take digital pictures of pieces of the classroom system

8.  RAFTS: You are a student in Karen/Tamara's classroom. You are to develop a brochure which will orient a new student/substitute teacher (choice) to the rituals and routines of our classroom.  The new student/substitute teacher should be able to quickly be a member of our classroom system just by reading your brochure.  See rubric for specific guidelines on your brochure.  Classroom_Systems__Brochure_Rubric.doc  

Student Exemplar #1:  brochure_1.pub

Student Exemplar #2:  brochure_2.pub  

Earth Systems:

1.  Mystery gallery walk - examining different types of rocks/minerals.  What do you notice, what do you wonder (write on sticky notes).  As a whole class, categorize notices into characteristics for each rock.

2.  Write descriptions, weigh, measure, and classify a rock of your choice.

3.  Explore the collecting rocks webquest: http://www.rocksforkids.com\

4.  Travel to Lory State Park.  Meet with a park Ranger to conduct hands-on activities to reinforce the three types of rocks, learn about the process of uplift (using Arthur's Rock as an example), and practice classifying rocks.

5.  Rock Life Story: Pick a mineral that you would like to research.  With a partner, conduct research on your mineral and record what you learn in 2-column notes.  Then, on your own, write a story that tells how you become a rock, what type of rock you will become, and what parts of the rock cycle caused you to become a rock.  See rubric for specific requirements: rocks rubric.doc

Student Exemplar #1:  rock_story_1.doc

Student Exemplar #2:  rock_story_2.doc


Solar System:

1. Students write 3 things they already know about the solar system and three things they want to learn about the solar system   

    in a T-chart.

2. Students are assigned homework: research one aspect of the solar system that you would like to explore further.  Print out a     

    picture and write a short caption to accompany/explain the photo.

2. Photo/Video gallery walk (also using student's prior homework) - students write their notices and wonders on their own paper.   

    Students document their biggest "wonder" on big chart paper.

3. Students work on the solar system matrix.doc

Student Exemplars from the Solar System Matrix:  why_is_the_sky_blue.pdf write_your_own_question.pdf letter_to_a_friend.doc life_of_a_star_poem.pdf weight_calculations.pdf




From:  Wiggins, Grant and J. Mc Tighe. (1998). Understanding by Design, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

   ISBN # 0-87120-313-8 (ppk)

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