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High Impact Instructional Strategies: Science

District Sample Curriculum Project (DSCP): Phase IV //

High Impact Instructional Strategies


Hello,

I am very proud to present standards-based instructional resources for Science. The model lesson is a set of full lesson materials developed to train content area teachers at the 2016 "All Students, All Standards: Instructional Strategies Institute." The additional sample lesson resources represent the work of a team of Colorado educators to share how they develop their own unique standards based lessons that employ high impact instructional strategies. As examples, they are intended to provide support (or conversation/creation starting points) for teachers, schools, and districts as they make their own local decisions around the best instructional plans and practices for all students.

Phase IV of the District Sample Curriculum Project is intended to share just a sampling of lesson planning processes and ideas as a response to requests from local schools and districts asking for more explicit instructional sample ideas. Thank you to the educators that worked diligently to submit their work for this purpose!

Joanna Bruno
Science Content Specialist

Phase IV Lesson Elements

Educators that attended the ASAS Institute submitted sample lesson plans that included the following four essential elements:

  • Element 1 | Classroom Context
  • Element 2 | Lesson Planning with Rationales for their choices
  • Element 3 | Description of the Lesson Implementation
  • Element 4 | Reflection

To learn more about the four essential elements, click here.

Model Lesson

The following is the lesson that was modeled during the ASAS Institute by the Content Specialist.  The focus was within the Earth Science strand (however, concepts presented overlapped with both Physical and Life Sciences), specifically around the topic of weathering.

Lesson Description: Participants were asked to engage with images of a phenomena, arches in Arches National Park, and generate questions.  Subsequently they were to engage in various scientific practices, collaboratively and independently, and present their arguments with evidence.

Model Lesson Planning Guide

Presentation of model lesson

Sample Lessons Submitted by Science Teachers

The lessons below represent some of the approaches teachers use in lesson design.  One purpose of the lesson design project was to tap into the questioning and reflective practices that enable deliberate and intentional instructional decisions.  We wanted to tap into the metacognitive processes that underlie the decisions teachers make as they plan, deliver, and reflect on their instruction. 

NOTE: Due to the nature of lesson planning and the various ways educators plan, the lesson plans submitted are in different formats.

 

High School

Biology: Cellular Metabolic Activities (Carolyn Porter, Cherry Creek School District)

Lesson plan (Word or PDF)

Lesson Description: Students are asked to analyze nutrition labels and use their knowledge of biomolecules to determine if a food has high nutritional value.

 

Biology: Conservation of Matter (Doug Eccher, Montrose School District)

Lesson plan (Word or PDF)

Lesson Description:  This lesson formally defines “conservation of matter” which then allows students to apply their understanding towards successfully achieving the lesson’s evidence outcomes. Students will be required to utilize appropriate math skills when quantifying the amount of carbon stored in trees during the carbon cycle. This lesson plan was delivered as part of the broader lesson “The Cycles of Matter” which was imbedded within the Unit: Matter and Energy in Ecosystems for a sophomore level General Biology Course. 

 

Biology: Homeostasis (Kevin Lindauer, Denver Public Schools)

Lesson Plan (Word or PDF)

Lesson Description:  This lesson plan was designed to elucidate questions from students that lead to student designed experiments using an established protocol. The teacher used striking phenomena centered on bull sharks swimming great distances up freshwater rivers so that students are motivated to ask questions related to the sharks’ internal environments responding to the external conditions of the freshwater rivers. Students were then asked to consider a model—shell-less chicken eggs—to explain the types of changes that occur in living cells when their external environments are changed. 

 

8th Grade

Energy/Heat Transfer (Leslie Donnelly, Cherry Creek School District)

Lesson plan (Word or PDF)

Lesson Description: This specific lesson allows for students to solidify their understanding of energy/ heat transfer, and the amount of radient heat needed to generate thermal heat.  

 

7th Grade

Water Filtration (Christopher Cruz, Colorado Springs District 11)

Lesson plan (Word or PDF)

Lesson Description:  This lesson focuses on chemical properties in the context of water filtration.  Reviewing with students about mixtures, the class will now focus on mixtures within Colorado Springs' water. 

Presentation of Lesson (PDF)

 

6th Grade

Water, Water Everywhere* (Rose Tinucci, Colorado Springs District 11)

Lesson plan (Word or PDF)

Lesson Description: This lesson was delivered as part of the 6th grade curriculum on the water cycle, how water is processed and used in a community.  I used this lesson with my 7th grade students (approximately 27 students per class) during our integrated chemistry unit which covers the concepts of types of mixtures, solutions, solutes, and water filtration. 

*Note:  This lesson plan is tied to an instructional unit from the 6th grade District Sample Curriculum Project. 

Lesson Presentation (PDF)

 

Changing Environments (Eric Sonnentag, Douglas County School District)

Lesson plan (Word or PDF)

Lesson Description: This lesson has a large focus in systems thinking. In 6th grade, students should be looking at systems in various contents (Western Hemisphere History, Geography, etc). In looking at how the environment has a variety of systems and those systems are key to  creation and destruction of surfaces and features, we can connect to the learning targets. 

 

5th Grade

Reason for the Seasons (Beth Vinson-Grabois and Linda Morris, Denver Public Schools)

Lesson plan (Word or PDF)

Lesson Description: This lesson introduces a phenomena and allow students to access any schema around this topic to assist them in asking and answering their own questions around reasons for the seasons.

Student Work Samples (PDF)

Transcript for video of the lesson (PDF)

 

4th Grade

Reason for the Seasons (Marjorie Comer, Denver Public Schools)

Lesson plan (PDF)

Lesson Description: This lesson introduces a phenomena and allow students to access any schema around this topic to assist them in asking and answering their own questions around reasons for the seasons.

Teacher reflections (PDF)

Student reflections (PDF)

 

Reason for the Seasons (Marianne Berge, Denver Public Schools)

Lesson plan  (PDF)

Lesson Description: This lesson introduces a phenomena and allow students to access any schema around this topic to assist them in asking and answering their own questions around reasons for the seasons.

Lesson Presentation (PDF)

Lesson Handout (PDF)

 

3rd Grade

Reason for the Seasons (Kayla Twedt, Douglas County School District)

Lesson plan (PDF)

Lesson Description: This lesson introduces a phenomena and allow students to access any schema around this topic to assist them in asking and answering their own questions around reasons for the seasons.

 

District-Level Professional Development

A professional development module was created by a district STEM Coordinator around the instructional shifts presented at the ASAS institute.

STEM Cohort B PD/Planning Day (Sherri Dennstedt, Cherry Creek School District)

Professional Development Presentation ( PDF)

Example of STEM student reflection form

Example of STEM teacher reflection form

 

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