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Teaching Science to ELL students

This paper focuses on developing a set of lessons designed to teach Science to third grade English Language Learners.  In teaching Science to ELL students, it is important to integrate language instruction into the science lesson in order for ELL to understand important concepts in science.  The lesson plans that follow will incorporate Sheltered Instruction as a means for making grade level content comprehensible for ELLs while promoting their English language development. The lesson plans will target students who are in the intermediate fluency stage while the learning theory is based on the Social Interactionist Learning Theory.  A variety of teaching strategies will be used such as teacher modeling, active student involvement, appropriate pacing, independent practice, and individual monitoring.  It is my hope that the strategies and ideas used in the lesson plans will help solve the gap between social and academic language used by ELLs in the science classroom.

Topic:  My Body

Objective:  Students will gain a greater understanding of their bodies by making a paper model of the human body.

Materials:  A transparency of body parts to use on overhead projector, multiple copies of body parts pages, colored pens or crayons, glue, transparency of the human skeleton, pictures of muscles of the human body, cardboard.

Review:  We have been studying about the human body and have recognized that everyone has similar parts that do the same function.  Today we will identify those parts and learn where they are located in the human body.

Method of Instruction:  Teacher modeling, student hands on participation

1.  Now that they have completed their study of their bodies, tell the students they are going to make a paper copy of what they look like inside.

2.  Distribute copies of the body parts page to each child.  Have them color the body parts as follow: (teacher will model this on overhead)

  • Brain-gray
  • Esophagus, stomach, and duodenum-yellow
  • Heart-red
  • Lungs-pink
  • Liver-brown
  • Gall bladder-green
  • Small intestine-yellow
  • Large intestine-pink
  • 3.  The students should cut out the body outline and glue it to cardboard.

    4.  Have students cut out the body parts, and place them on the body outline.  Let them check with other students to see if they agree with the placement and then glue these in place. 

    5.  Show the students the skeleton transparency and let them sketch in the bones of the arms, hands, legs, and feet.

    6.  If available, show pictures of the muscles found in the human body and have students add some of those found in the arms and legs to one side of their body outline.

    Closure:

  • While modeling on the overhead, have students, label their body parts.
  • Cover the finished picture of the body with plastic wrap.  Have the students take this
  • home with the assignment of sharing them with family members and explaining some of what they learned from this study.

    Assessment:  Go around and monitor the students individually and ask questions allowing ample time for them to respond.  Give students a blank handout of the human body allowing them to label the body parts themselves. 

    Skeletal System

    Learning Outcomes:  Students will be able to identify some of the major bones of the body.

    Objective:

    This lesson is designed to introduce children to the skeletal system and its function in the human body.  They will also be able to identify the major bones in the body.

    Required Materials: Plastic skeleton model, clay, overhead projector,

    Review previous learned material:

    Last week you learned that you are the only person exactly like you in the whole world-that makes you very special.  But although you are different from everyone else, your body is made of the same things as theirs and it has exactly the same parts doing all the different jobs that keep you alive.  One of the parts that we will learn about in this lesson is the skeletal system.

    Introduction: During the lecture the teacher will be sure to speak slowing using clear enunciation.

    Have you ever thought about what keeps a tall building, like a skyscraper, from collapsing?  Even on the windiest days, the building keeps standing and does not fall over.  What makes these buildings so strong?  Buildings are built around a steel framework much the same way our bodies are built around bones. Your body is similar to a skyscraper.  A small bug may look up at you and wonder, “I can not imagine what keeps that gigantic object from falling”.  The answer to this question is your bones. The skeletal system of the human body is made up of bones.  When you were a very small child, everything about you was tiny including your hands and feet! But as you got older, everything got bigger including your bones.  When you were born, you had more than 300 bones.  But by the time you finish growing, you will have just over 200!  Do the missing bones just fall out or disappear?  No, instead, as you get older, some of your smaller bones will join together to make bigger ones.  Remember the skyscraper illustration: without bones inside you to give you shape, you'd be like a floppy, squishy bag.  Not only do bones give the body shape, they also protect internal delicate body parts (point to the internal organs on the transparency).  Your bones are partly made of hard stony stuff called calcium, but unlike stones they are alive.  It is very important to keep your bones healthy and strong.  This allows them to get bigger as you grow.  Now I am going to introduce to you some of the larger bones in your body.  I will write key words on the overhead projector.

    Model: The longest, strongest, and largest bone in your body is the one above your knee, called the femur.  The femur bone helps us to perform leg movements such as running and walking.  I have everyone feel their leg to help them understand the location of the femur bone.  Now on an index card, I need for you to write femur on one side and write leg bone on the other side. (I will also write these words on the over-head projector).  The spine is a very important part of the skeletal system and is very easy to locate.  Team up with a friend and feel down the center of their back and you will notice small bumps.  Not only does the spine help hold you up, it also helps you bend and twist.  It also has the job of protecting your spinal cord.  Now with another index card, write spine on one side and backbone on the other.  Your ribs are a part of the skeletal system that protects your heart, lungs, and liver.  The ribs actually act as a cage surrounding your chest.  Now everyone inhale deeply and place your hands right below the chest like you see me doing.  It will be very easy for you to feel your ribs right in front of your body.  Now what does the ribs protect?  On an index card write ribs on one side and below the chest on the other.  When you engage in activities such as typing, swinging from a bar, even when you put on your shoes, you're using the bones in your fingers, hand, wrist, and arm.  The bones that help with these tasks are the humerus, radius, and ulna (point to each on the skeletal model and have students write humerus, radius and ulna on one side of their index card and write arm, wrist on the other). 

    Bone care:  As you have learned today, your bones help you with many important functions.  Now we have a responsibility to take care of our bones so that our bones will continue to take care of us.  What are ways we can take care of our bones? (Allow enough time for students to respond).  You can take care of your bones by:

    1. Always wear a helmet on your head while riding a bike or skateboard.
    2. Always wear protective equipment while playing sports.
    3. Take calcium each day by drinking and eating dairy foods such as milk and cheese.
    4. Exercise daily by running, jumping, and dancing.

    Independant practice: Teacher will divide students in groups of 5.  With a skeletal model taken apart, students will converse and identify the bone and discuss help it helps them in their daily life.

    Assessment and Feedback:  Teacher will now have an open discussion asking questions about the information covered.  This gets students actively involved and also gives the teacher feedback on the students gained knowledge.

    Muscle Power 

    Overview: Students will learn the role that muscles play in the human body

    Materials:

    A chicken leg with the skin and muscles attached (chilled until ready to use), single-edged razor blade, mirror for each student.

    Teaching Science to ELLs  6

    Introduction: The human body has more than 600 muscles.  Muscles do everything from helping you lift an object to pumping blood throughout your body.  There are muscles you control called voluntary and muscles that work in your body that you never have to think about called involuntary.  Can you think of a voluntary muscle in which you have complete control of? Yes, using your shoulders and arms to lift an object over your head.  Can you give me an example of an involuntary muscle that you do not have think about?  Yes, your heart is a muscle that automatically works without you consciously thinking about it

    Hands on activity: All key vocabulary words are written on over-head projector

    1.  Ask all students to “make a muscle”. The teacher will model a bicep pose so students can visually see it in a relaxed state and then in a flexed state. Ask them what happened to their arms when they did this.  (The muscle on the upper arm bulged, and the lower arm bent up to touch the upper arm.)

    2. Tell them to do this again and use the other hand to feel the muscle on top of the upper arm.  Have them tell what the muscle felt like as the lower arm was rising. 

    3.  Have them repeat this but have them feel the muscle just under the upper arm. Again the teacher will model this action to locate the tricep muscle. They should feel the muscle under the upper arm bone relax as the arm rises and stiffen as it stretches out.

    4.  Explain that muscles beneath the skin of the arm are working in pairs to raise or lower the arm.  Top muscles contract (concentric or become tight) as the lower arm is raises, and relaxes(eccentric phase)  as the arm lowers again.

    5.  The teacher will show students the chicken leg.  She will then peel off the skin to reveal tendons and muscles.  Bend the leg to show how the muscles contract and relax.  Compare this to what students just did. 

    6.  Have students open and close a fist, explaining that tendons attached to the finger bones are pulled by the muscles in the palm of the hand.  On the chicken leg, show the tendons connected to muscles and the base of the leg.  Explain that tendons tie muscles to bone.  Carefully cut the tendons at the bone and bend the leg again.  Discuss the difference without the muscles being held to the bone.  Separate the muscle groups and then count them.  Look for the large vessels which supply blood to the muscles.   

    7.  Carefully cut between the thigh and drumstick to show the joint.  Show the tough bands of ligaments (white sheets) and cartilage caps.  Let students feel how smooth this is.  Ask how it would feel if these were rough surfaces (painful and difficult to move the joints).  Have them feel a finger joint and keep feeling it as they bend the finger.  Can they feel the bone and tendons?

    Feedback:  Teacher will now have an open discussion asking questions about the information covered.  This gets students actively involved and also gives the teacher feedback on the students gained knowledge.

    Nutrition and the Human Body

    Objective:  Students will learn how to make the correct food choices in order to achieve good health.  They will also be able to identify the major food groups using the Food Pyramid while creating a Food Pyramid booklet.

    Materials:  Construction paper, magazines, scissors, glue, artificial plastic foods, wall chart of the food pyramid, overhead projector.

    Introduction:  Most of you know that there are good foods and bad foods.  Good food supplies the body with the nutrients that it needs to function at its best and grow healthy. Today, we are going to learn about which foods make us healthy by learning about the Food Pyramid (show the Food Pyramid on the overhead projector and on the wall chart).  I have also laid out examples of a variety of these foods so that you may also have a visual of them.  Pointing to the food pyramid, explain to the students that foods listed in the pyramid are foods that should be included in their diet on a daily basis.  The bottom level is carbohydrates (write carbohydrate on the overhead) such as bread, cereal, rice, and pasta (pick up fake food samples as I say each one).  The second level consists of the fruit and vegetable group (repeat illustration above).  The third level is the protein group, consisting of milk yogurt, cheese, and meat.  The top of the pyramid is the fats and sweet group which should be eaten in small amounts.

    Modeling:  Show students a sample booklet that they will be making.  On each page, write the name of a food group in the pyramid.  Children will get into groups and go through magazines and newspapers to find samples of the food in the Food Pyramid and glue to the appropriate page in their booklets. The last page is reserved for them to journal, using COPS strategy, ways they will need to change what they eat in order to have good health. They will then decorate the cover of their book.

    Assessment:  Teacher will hold up samples of the plastic foods from the table and ask individuals to identify its place on the Food Pyramid. Children will be asked to write a sample food program that would be healthy for them to eat for one full day.

    References

    Cheek, J., (2005).  Nutrition.  Retrieved March 5, 2010 from   http://edtech.kennesaw.edu/web/nutrit.html

    Echevarria, J., Graves, A. (2007). Sheltered Content Instruction: Teaching English Language Learners   with Diverse Abilities.  Pearson Education, Inc.

    Herr, N., (2007).  Strategies for teaching science to English language learners.  Retrieved March 7, 2010   from http://www.csun.edu/science/ref/language/teaching-ell.html