Comparing Structures Lesson

Teacher: Kim Nickerson
Grade level: 2nd/3rd Combination Grade Class
Location: Newark, CA
Brief Description:

Science lesson on comparing the structures and functions of crayfish and land snails (3rd grade life sciences) The amount of instructional time was 93 minutes in one morning.

Classroom context: Diverse classroom with 27 students with 10 second graders and 17 third graders. Student demographics:  There were 10 students classified as English Learners (ELs) and 3 as Fluent-English Proficient (FEP). Of the ELs, one has basic English skills, two are early-intermediate, four are intermediate, and three are advanced.
Curriculum: Lesson Plan (adapted from the FOSS Curriculum - Structures of Life Unit)
California Science Standards Addressed: Next Generation Science Standards: 1 - Structure, Function, and Information Processing
Learning goals:

The science learning goals for the unit were
1. Students will be able to identify the structures and behaviors of crayfish and land snails.
2. Students will be able to describe how a structure or a behavior of crayfish and land snails helps them to survive.
3. Students will be able to compare and contrast the structures of crayfish and land snails.

The language and literacy learning goals for the unit were:
1. Students will be able to communicate effectively with classmates and the teacher about the structures and behaviors of the land snail and the functions of those structures.
2. Students will be able to use concepts and academic vocabulary to complete writing activities that support concept development related to the study of land snail's behaviors, structures, and functions.
3. Students will be able to follow multi-step directions given verbally and in written form.
4. Students will be able to write legible, simple sentences that respond to prompts.

Samples of student work:

Crayfish Structures Worksheet: Scanned | Transcribed (prior lesson)

Comparing Structures Worksheet: Scanned | Transcribed (current lesson)

Video transcripts: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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Part 1: Science Talk (Clip length: 18:28 minutes)

Part 2: Vocabulary Instruction and Venn Diagram Activity (Clip length: Clip 20:37 minutes)

Part 3: Writing Activity and Lesson Closure (Clip length: Clip 19:44 minutes)

a. The total lesson time was 93 minutes. The science talk was 20 minutes long; the vocabulary instruction and venn diagram activity was 32 minutes long; and the writing activity and lesson closure was 41 minutes long.

b. Prior to this lesson, the class had several lessons about the structures, functions and behaviors, of crayfish and land snails. This lesson occurred near the end of the school year (in May).