Author:
Connecticut Department of Education
Subject:
Life Science, Physical Science, Space Science
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Level:
Upper Primary
Grade:
3
Provider:
CT State Department of Education
Provider Set:
CSDE - Public
Tags:
Language:
English
Media Formats:
Text/HTML

Unit 3 Overview: Environmental Change Over Time

Unit 3 Overview: Environmental Change Over Time

Overview

Unit Overview/Summary:  

Summary  

The unit organizes performance expectations with a focus on helping students build understanding of traits of organisms. Instruction developed from this unit should always maintain the three-dimensional nature of the standards and recognize that instruction is not limited to the practices and concepts directly linked with any of the unit performance expectations. 

Connections between unit Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs)  

The idea that some kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth are no longer found anywhere (LS4.A as in 3-LS4-1) connects to the idea that when the environment changes in ways that affect a place’s physical characteristics, temperature, or availability of resources, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die (LS2.C as in 3-LS4-4). And environmental changes can connect to the concept that climate describes a range of an area's typical weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over years (ESS2.D as in 3-ESS2-2). Scientists record patterns of the weather across different times and areas so that they can make predictions about what kind of weather might happen next (ESS2.D as in 3-ESS2-1). The engineering design idea that the success of a designed solution is determined by considering the desired features of a solution, or criteria (ETS1.A as in 3-5- ETS1-1), could connect to multiple science concepts, such as that scientists can make predictions about what kind of weather might happen next (ESS2.D as in 3- ESS2-1), and that populations live in a variety of habitats and changes in those habitats affect the organisms living there (LS4.D as in 3-LS4-4). The first connection could be made by having students consider the criteria for a solution to a problem caused by bad weather, and the second connection could be made by having students consider the criteria for a solution that mitigates the effect on organisms when a habitat changes. 

Unit Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs)

Instruction leading to this unit of PEs will help students build toward proficiency in elements of the practices of asking questions and defining problems (3-5- ETS1-1), analyzing and interpreting data (3-LS4-1 and 3-ESS2-1), engaging in argument from evidence (3-LS4-4), and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information (3-ESS2-2). Many other practice elements can be used in instruction. 

Unit Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs)

Crosscutting concepts have value because they provide students with connections and intellectual tools that are related across the differing areas of disciplinary content and can enrich their application of practices and their understanding of core ideas. As such, they are a way of linking the different domains of science.

Instruction leading to this unit of PEs will help students build toward proficiency in elements of the crosscutting concepts of Patterns (3-ESS2-2 and 3-ESS2-1), Scale, Proportion, and Quantity (3-LS4-1), and Systems and System Models (3-LS4-4). Many other crosscutting concepts elements can be used in instruction. All instruction should be three-dimensional. 

Relevant Standards:

Coding structure of content standards can be found at Nextgenscience  

3-LS4-1  Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago.  

3-LS4-4  Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change. 

3-ESS2-1  Represent data in tables and graphical displays to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season.  

3-ESS2-2  Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.  

3-5-ETS1-1  Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost. 

Examples and Explanations:

Include Foundational Subskills 

3-LS4-1  Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago.  

Clarification Statement: Examples of data could include type, size, and distributions of fossil organisms. Examples of fossils and environments could include marine fossils found on dry land, tropical plant fossils found in Arctic areas, and fossils of extinct organisms. 

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include identification of specific fossils or present plants and animals. Assessment is limited to major fossil types and relative ages. 

3-LS4-4  Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change. 

Clarification Statement: Examples of environmental changes could include changes in land characteristics, water distribution, temperature, food, and other organisms. 

Assessment Boundary:  Assessment is limited to a single environmental change. Assessment does not include the greenhouse effect or climate change. 

3-ESS2-1  Represent data in tables and graphical displays to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season. 

Clarification Statement: Examples of data could include average temperature, precipitation, and wind direction. 

Assessment Boundary: Assessment of graphical displays is limited to pictographs and bar graphs. Assessment does not include climate change. 

3-ESS2-2  Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.  

3-5-ETS1-1  Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost. 

LS4.A as found in 3 -LS4 – 1 

• Some kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth are no longer found anywhere. 

• Fossils provide evidence about the types of organisms that lived long ago and also about the nature of their environments.  

LS2.C as found in 3 -LS4 - 4  When the environment changes in ways that affect a place’s physical characteristics, temperature, or availability of resources, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die.  

LS4.D as found in 3 -LS4 - 4  Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there.  

ESS2.D as found in 3 -ESS2 - 1  

• Scientists record patterns of the weather across different times and areas so that they can make predictions about what kind of weather might happen next. ESS2.D as found in 3 -ESS2 - 2  

• Climate describes a range of an area's typical weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over years.  

ETS1.A as found in 3 - 5 -ETS1 - 1  Possible solutions to a problem are limited by available materials and resources (constraints). The success of a designed solution is determined by considering the desired features of a solution (criteria). Different proposals for solutions can be compared on the basis of how well each one meets the specified criteria for success or how well each takes the constraints into account 

Example Phenomena:

  • There are some patterns in rocks that look like the skeletons of unfamiliar animals.  

  • Stores sell more heavy coats in the fall than they do in the spring. 

Phenomena Resources 

  • Qualities of a good anchor phenomenon - a resource from the Research + Practice Collaboratory 

  • www.ngssphenomena.com - a collection of interesting phenomena that could be instructionally productive 

  • Video discussing phenomena in the context of evaluating instructional materials. From Achieve and the Teaching Channel. 

Transfer Goal: Aligned to district portrait or vision of the learner

Asking Questions and Defining Problems  

● Ask questions about what would happen if a variable is changed. Students could ask questions about what would happen [to] the organisms living in [a] habitat if the temperature of the habitat changes. 3-LS4-4  

Developing and Using Models  

● Identify limitations of models. Students could identify limitations of models of an area’s typical weather conditions. 3-ESS2-2  

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations  

● Make observations and/or measurements to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for an explanation of a phenomenon or test a design solution. Students could make observations to test a design solution [to a problem related to a] change in habitats that affects the organisms living there. 3-LS4-4 

Analyzing and Interpreting Data  

● Represent data in tables and/or various graphical displays (bar graphs, pictographs and/or pie charts) to reveal patterns. Students could represent data in tables or various graphical displays reveal patterns in fossil evidence about the types of organisms that lived long ago. 3-LS4-1 

Using Mathematical and Computational Thinking  

● Describe, measure, estimate, and/or graph quantities (e.g., area, volume, weight, time) to address scientific and engineering questions and problems. Students could describe or graph quantities to address scientific questions [about what happens to] organisms when the environment changes. 3-LS4-4  

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions  

● Use evidence (e.g., measurements, observations, patterns) to construct or support an explanation or design a solution to a problem. Students could use evidence to support an explanation about the types of organisms that lived long ago and also about the nature of their environments. 3-LS4-1  

Engaging in Argument from Evidence  

● Respectfully provide and receive critiques from peers about a proposed procedure, explanation or model by citing relevant evidence and posing specific questions. Students could respectfully provide and receive critiques from peers about a proposed model [of] an area’s typical weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over years. 3-ESS2-2  

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information  

● Communicate scientific and/or technical information orally and/or in written formats, including various forms of media as well as tables, diagrams, and charts. Students could communicate scientific and/or technical information—including various forms of media as well as tables, diagrams, and charts—[about why] scientists record patterns of the weather across different times and areas. 3-ESS2-1 

Coherence: 

How does this unit build on and connect to prior knowledge and learning? 

Articulation of DCIs across grade-levels: 1.LS3.A (3-LS3-1),(3-LS4-2); 1.LS3.B (3-LS3-1); MS.LS1.B (3-LS1-1), (3-LS3-2); MS.LS2.A (3-LS4-2); MS.LS3.A (3-LS3-1); MS.LS3.B (3- LS3-1),(3-LS4-2); MS.LS4.B (3-LS4-2), K.ESS2.D (3-ESS2-1); K.ESS3.B (3-ESS3-1); K.ETS1.A (3-ESS3-1); 4.ESS2.A (3-ESS2-1); 4.ESS3.B (3-ESS3-1); 4.ETS1.A (3-ESS3-1); 5.ESS2.A (3-ESS2-1); MS.ESS2.C (3-ESS2-1),(3-ESS2-2); MS.ESS2.D (3-ESS2-1),(3-ESS2-2); MS.ESS3.B (3-ESS3-1)  

How does this unit prepare students for future learning?    

A high-quality, robust science education means students will develop an in-depth understanding of content and will gain knowledge and develop skills—communication, collaboration, inquiry, problem solving, and flexibility— that will serve them throughout their educational and professional lives.  

High-quality, spiraling standards/curriculum allow educators to teach effectively, moving their practice toward how students learn best—in a hands-on, collaborative, and integrated environment rooted in inquiry and discovery. Teaching based on the NGSS calls for more student-centered learning that enables students to think on their own, problem solve, communicate, and collaborate—in addition to learning important scientific concepts. 

 

Essential Questions:

A question that can be approached in multiple ways. There should be no more than 2-3 essential questions and they should align with your topics. Questions can be repeated throughout a course or over years, with different enduring understandings. 

  • How are plants, animals, and environments of the past similar or different from current plants, animals, and environments?  
  • What happens to organisms when their environment changes? 

Enduring Understanding:

The major ideas you want students to internalize and understand deeply. These understandings should be thematic in nature. They are not the end all, be all of the question. They are focused to align to the unit overview. 

  • Students will develop an understanding of types of organisms that lived long ago and about the nature of their environments.
  • Students will develop an understanding of the idea that when the environment changes some organisms survive and reproduce, some move to new locations, some move into the transformed environment, and some die.

Cross Cutting Concepts (CCC): 

Examples of cross cutting concepts which can be utilized to assist students in achieving these enduring understandings are given below:

Scale, Proportion, and Quantity  

● Standard units are used to measure and describe physical quantities such as weight, time, temperature, and volume. Students could describe the importance of using standard units to measure and describe physical quantities of weather [such as such as inches of rain and feet of snow], and to record patterns of the weather across different times. 3-ESS2-1  

Systems and System Models  

● A system is a group of related parts that make up a whole and can carry out functions its individual parts cannot. Students could describe organisms that lived long ago and their environments as a system. 3-LS4-1  

Stability and Change  

● Some systems appear stable, but over long periods of time will eventually change. Students could describe organisms that lived long ago and their environments as a system that eventually changed over long periods of time. 3-LS4-1 

What Students Will Know:

Organizing data  

Students use graphical displays (e.g., table, chart, graph) to organize the given data, including data about:  

  • Fossils of animals (e.g., information on type, size, type of land on which it was found).  

  • Fossils of plants (e.g., information on type, size, type of land on which it was found).  

  • The relative ages of fossils (e.g., from a very long time ago). iv. Existence of modern counterparts to the fossilized plants and animals and information on where they currently live.  

Identifying relationships  

Students identify and describe relationships in the data, including:  

  • That fossils represent plants and animals that lived long ago. 

  • The relationships between the fossils of organisms and the environments in which they lived (e.g., marine organisms, like fish, must have lived in water environments).  

  • The relationships between types of fossils (e.g., those of marine animals) and the current environments where similar organisms are found.  

  • That some fossils represent organisms that lived long ago and have no modern counterparts.  

  • The relationships between fossils of organisms that lived long ago and their modern counterparts.  

  • The relationships between existing animals and the environments in which they currently live.  

Interpreting data  

Students describe that:  

  • Fossils provide evidence of organisms that lived long ago but have become extinct (e.g., dinosaurs, mammoths, other organisms that have no clear modern counterpart).  

  • Features of fossils provide evidence of organisms that lived long ago and of what types of environments those organisms must have lived in (e.g., fossilized seashells indicate shelled organisms that lived in aquatic environments). 

  • By comparing data about where fossils are found and what those environments are like, fossilized plants and animals can be used to provide evidence that some environments look very different now than they did a long time ago (e.g., fossilized seashells found on land that is now dry suggest that the area in which those fossils were found used to be aquatic; tropical plant fossils found in Antarctica, where tropical plants cannot live today, suggests that the area used to be tropical). 

Supported claims  

Students make a claim about the merit of a given solution to a problem that is caused when the environment changes, which results in changes in the types of plants and animals that live there.  

Identifying scientific evidence  

Students describe the given evidence about how the solution meets the given criteria and constraints. This evidence includes:  

  • A system of plants, animals, and a given environment within which they live before the given environmental change occurs.  

  •  A given change in the environment. 

  •  How the change in the given environment causes a problem for the existing plants and animals living within that area.  

  • The effect of the solution on the plants and animals within the environment. 

  • The resulting changes to plants and animals living within that changed environment, after the solution has been implemented.  

Evaluating and critiquing evidence  

Students evaluate the solution to the problem to determine the merit of the solution. Students describe how well the proposed solution meets the given criteria and constraints to reduce the impact of the problem created by the environmental change in the system, including: 

  • How well the proposed solution meets the given criteria and constraints to reduce the impact of the problem created by the environmental change in the system, including:  
  • How the solution makes changes to one part (e.g., a feature of the environment) of the system, affecting the other parts of the system (e.g., plants and animals). 
  • How the solution affects plants and animals  

Students evaluate the evidence to determine whether it is relevant to and supports the claim.  

Students describe whether the given evidence is sufficient to support the claim, and whether additional evidence is needed 

Organizing data  

Students use graphical displays (e.g., table, chart, graph) to organize the given data by season using tables, pictographs, and/or bar charts, including: 

  • Weather condition data from the same area across multiple seasons (e.g., average temperature, precipitation, wind direction). 

  • Weather condition data from different areas (e.g., hometown and nonlocal areas, such as a town in another state).   

Identifying relationships  

Students identify and descibe patterns of weather conditions across:  

  • Different seasons (e.g., cold and dry in the winter, hot and wet in the summer; more or less wind in a particular season). 

  • Different areas (e.g., certain areas (defined by location, such as a town in the Pacific Northwest), have high precipitation, while a different area (based on location or type, such as a town in the Southwest) have very little precipitation).  

 Interpreting data  

Students use patterns of weather conditions in different seasons and different areas to predict:  

  • The typical weather conditions expected during a particular season (e.g., “In our town in the summer it is typically hot, as indicated on a bar graph over time, while in the winter it is typically cold; therefore, the prediction is that next summer it will be hot and next winter it will be cold.”). 

  • The typical weather conditions expected during a particular season in different areas. 

Obtaining information  

Students use books and other reliable media to gather information about: 

  • Climates in different regions of the world (e.g., equatorial, polar, coastal, mid-continental).  

  • Variations in climates within different regions of the world (e.g., variations could include an area’s average temperatures and precipitation during various months over several years or an area’s average rainfall and temperatures during the rainy season over several years).  

Evaluating information  

Students combine obtained information to provide evidence about the climate pattern in a region that can be used to make predictions about typical weather conditions in that region.  

Communicating information  

Students use the information they obtained and combined to describe: 

  • Climates in different regions of the world.  

  • Examples of how patterns in climate could be used to predict typical weather conditions. 

  • That climate can vary over years in different regions of the world. 

Identifying the problem to be solved  

Students use given scientific information and information about a situation or phenomenon to define a simple design problem that includes responding to a need or want.  

The problem students define is one that can be solved with the development of a new or improved object, tool, process, or system.  

Students describe that people’s needs and wants change over time.  

Defining the boundaries of the system  

Students define the limits within which the problem will be addressed, which includes addressing something people want and need at the current time.  

Defining the criteria and constraints  

Based on the situation people want to change, students specify criteria (required features) of a successful solution.  

Students describe the constraints or limitations on their design, which may include:  

  • Cost.  

  • Materials.  

  • Time 

What Students Will Do:

This section of the Model Curriculum is based upon the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (SEP) Dimension. The emphasis on practice, rather than rote memorization and content delivery is purposeful. Engaging in the practice of science allows the student to see that science and engineering is a creative endeavor, one that is always changing as we learn more about the world around us and ourselves.

  • Organize or summarize data to highlight trends, patterns, or correlations between plant and animal fossils and the environments in which they lived. 

  • Generate graphs or tables that document patterns, trends, or correlations in the fossil record. 

  • Identify evidence in the data that supports inferences about plant and animal fossils and the environments in which they lived. 

  • Articulate, describe, illustrate, or select the relationships, interactions, and/or processes involved when the types of plants and/or animals change as a result of environmental changes. This may entail sorting relevant from irrelevant information or features. 

  • Identify a problem that results when the types of plants and/or animals change as a result of environmental changes 

  • Express or complete a causal chain explaining a solution to problem that results when the types of plantsand/or animals change as a result of environmental changes. The causal chain should include the ecosystem before the environmental change, the environmental change, the problem to plants and animals resulting from the environmental change, the solution to the problem, and the effect(s) of the solution on the ecosystem. This may include indicating directions of causality in an incomplete model such as a flow chart or diagram, or completing cause-and-effect chains. 

  • Identify and/or evaluate evidence related to a solution to a problem caused when the types of plants and/or animals change as a result of environmental changes. The evidence may support or refute the solution, or students may identify missing evidence. 

  • Evaluate a solution to a problem that results when the types of plants and/or animals change as a result of environmental changes, including how the solution may affect plants, animals, and/or other aspects of the ecosystem. 

  • Identify information or data needed to support or refute a claim regarding a problem resulting from an environmental change affecting the native plants and animals. 

  • Organize and/or arrange (e.g., using illustrations and/or labels), or summarize data to highlight trends, patterns, or correlations in weather patterns. 

  • Use relationships and patterns identified in the data to predict weather. 

  • Identify patterns or evidence in the data that support conclusions about weather. 

  • Organize and/or arrange data (including labels and symbols) regarding the climates in different regions to highlight/identify trends or patterns, or make comparisons/contrasts between different regions and/or climatically relevant aspects of their geology and/or geography. 

  • Generate or construct tables or assemblages of data (including labels and symbols) that document the similarities and differences between climates of different regions (this includes completing incomplete maps). 

  • Analyze and interpret scientific evidence (including textural and numerical information as well labels and symbols) from multiple sources (e.g., texts, maps, and/or graphs) that help identify patterns in weather in regions of different climate. This includes communicating the analysis or interpretation. 

  • Analyze and interpret patterns of information on maps (including textural and numerical information as well labels and symbols) to explain, infer, or predict patterns of weather over time in a region. 

  • Based on the information that is obtained and/or combined, identify, assert, describe, or illustrate a claim regarding the relationship between the location of a region and its climate, or the relationship between geological and/or geographical aspects/characteristics of a region and its climate. 

  • Use spatial and/or temporal relationships identified in the obtained and/or combined climate data to predict typical weather conditions in a region. 

  • Organize and/or arrange data regarding the climate of a region to highlight/identify trends or relationships between the weather patterns of a region and its geology and/or geography. 

  • Analyze and interpret scientific evidence (including textural and numerical information as well labels and symbols) from multiple sources (e.g., texts, maps, and/or graphs) that helps identify patterns in climate based on geography and/or geology. This includes communicating the analysis or interpretation. 

Demonstration of Learning:

Unit Specific Vocabulary and Terminology:

While students “do” science, they must use language (e.g., arguing from evidence). The integration of science and language learning can help ensure that all students, and multilingual students in particular, are supported in meeting rigorous content standards while drawing on and extending their full repertoire of language. 

Consult the resources in the Supporting ELs/MLs section for guidance with integrating content and language development and centering the language practices of students.

Science Vocabulary Expected 

3-LS4-1 Exist, existence, ecosystem, characteristic, habitat, species, volcanic eruption, climate, extinct, extinction, predator, time period, earthquake, erosion, weathering 

Science Vocabulary NOT Expected  

3-LS4-1  Chronological order, fossil record, radioactive dating, descent, ancestry, evolution, evolutionary, genetic, relative, rock layer 

Science Vocabulary Expected 

3-LS4-4 Population, organism, community, habitat, resource, reproduce, shelter, temperature, matter, predator, prey, flood, frost, tide 

Science Vocabulary NOT Expected 

3-LS4-4  Ecosystem, biotic, abiotic, food web, producer, consumer, decomposer, photosynthesis, pollinate, adapt, energy flow, biosphere, sustain, predation, mutualism, carrying capacity, volcano, earthquake, drought, arid, blight 

Science Vocabulary Expected 

3-ESS2-1 Season, weather, temperature, precipitation, patterns, average, latitude, longitude 

ScienceVocabulary NOT Expected 

3-ESS2-1 Probability, anthropogenic change 

Science Vocabulary Expected 

3-ESS2-2 Prediction, precipitation, glacier, ocean, region, climate, vegetation, latitude, longitude, drought, temperature, freeze, atmosphere. 

Science Vocabulary NOT Expected 

3-ESS2-2 Average, high pressure, low pressure, air mass, altitude, humidity, radiation, water cycle 

Aligned Unit Materials, Resources and Technology:

It is critical that curriculum be implemented using high quality instructional materials to ensure all students meet Connecticut’s standards. A non-exhaustive list of high-quality vetted resources aligned to the state model curricula that can, but are not required, to be used for implementation will be coming to provide additional support for districts.

Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Connections:

Common Core State Standards Connections: 

ELA

RI.5.7 Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently. (5-PS1- 1)  

W.5.7 Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic. (5-PS1-2),(5-PS1-3),( 5-PS1-4)  

W.5.8 Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources. (5-PS1-2),(5-PS1-3),(5-PS1-4)  

W.5.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (5-PS1-2),(5-PS1-3),(5-PS1-4)  

Mathematics 

MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (5-PS1-1),(5-PS1-2),(5-PS1-3)  

MP.4 Model with mathematics. (5-PS1-1),(5-PS1-2),(5-PS1-3)  

MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically. (5-PS1-2),(5-PS1-3)  

5.NBT.A.1 Explain patterns in the number of zeros of the product when multiplying a number by powers of 10, and explain patterns in the placement of the decimal point when a decimal is multiplied or divided by a power of 10. Use whole-number exponents to denote powers of 10. (5-PS1-1)  

5.NF.B.7 Apply and extend previous understandings of division to divide unit fractions by whole numbers and whole numbers by unit fractions. (5-PS1-1)  

5.MD.A.1 Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real-world problems. (5-PS1-2)  

5.MD.C.3 Recognize volume as an attribute of solid figures and understand concepts of volume measurement. (5-PS1-1) 

Opportunities for Application of Learning:

Defined Learning provides an open access online library of standards-aligned project-based lessons to help students meet the expectations of the Standards. Each project is based on a situation in a relevant career to help students connect classroom content to career pathways. This supplemental resource is available at no cost to teachers and districts. Create an account and log in to access this free resource to support your curriculum. 

Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence  

● Science findings are based on recognizing patterns. Students could communicate that science findings [about how] change in habitats affects organisms living there are based on recognizing patterns. 3-LS4-4  

Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence  

● Science explanations can change based on new evidence. Students could identify how science explanations about an area’s climate could change [if] new evidence [were found]. 3- ESS2-2 

Critical Consciousness for Diversity and Equity:

Culturally relevant Science engages and empowers students. Opportunities for teachers to orchestrate discussions where students share not only connections to prior Science learned but also to their lived experiences must be provided. It is important to dig deep to find ways to link students’ home cultures and the Science classroom. Build authentic relationships with families through two-way, reciprocal conversations that acknowledge families’ cultures as assets for teaching and learning. As you plan to implement this unit, focus on designing experiences that have students at the center. In addition to keeping students engaged, ensure the learning experiences have a context that reflects lived experiences (mirror) or provide opportunities to view and learn about the broader world (window). 

One crucial link to students’ home cultures is through their language. Students’ language repertoires –all the languages and language varieties they use everyday– are a valuable resource to be engaged in the science classroom. This approach is referred to as a translanguaging stance. It is based on a dynamic view of bilingualism that understands individuals as having one linguistic repertoire composed of various named languages (such as English and Spanish) and/or language varieties on which they draw to make meaning.

The following questions are intended to assist in promoting diverse voices and perspectives while avoiding bias and stereotyping: 

  • How will students share their experiences with others while attending to the Science in the unit? 
  • What opportunities are there for students to make connections from their life to the Science? 
  • What do I know or need to learn about my students to create lessons free from bias and stereotypes? 
  • In what ways can the scientific thinking already taking place in the classroom and community be honored? 
  • How is relevant background knowledge developed so that all students can access the Science of the unit? 
  • What opportunities are there for students to use their full language repertoires during mathematical scientific discussions and practice? Where can I create these opportunities?
  • What do I know or need to learn about students’ languages and how they use them? How can I learn this?

Multilingual Learners/English Learners (ML/EL):

Like all students, multilingual and EL classified students are developing and deepening content knowledge and extending their full linguistic repertoire. Some students classified as English Learners may be newer to English, others may be more comfortable in English at school, but they all bring an array of resources –including linguistic and standards-aligned knowledge– to the classroom.

Content and language learning are interconnected and acquired through active and meaningful participation. The research-based strategies listed below focus on making content comprehensible (accessible) and creating opportunities for student voice, including verbal and written (equitable participation).

Additional resources for ML/EL

CELP Standards--Linguistic Supports

ML/EL Support Collection for Science  

EL Strategies Desk Cards (Tip Sheets for ALL Classroom Teachers)

This unit presents opportunity to address the following CELP Standards:  

CELP Standard 1: Construct meaning from oral presentations and literary and informational text through grade-appropriate listening, reading, and viewing  

CELP Standard 2: Participate in grade-appropriate oral and written exchanges of information, ideas, and analyses, responding to peer, audience, or reader comments and questions  

CELP Standard 3: Speak and write about grade-appropriate complex literary and informational texts and topics  

CELP Standard 4: Construct grade-appropriate oral and written claims and support them with reasoning and evidence  

CELP Standard 6: Analyze and critique the arguments of others orally and in writing  

CELP Standard 7: Adapt language choices to purpose, task, and audience when speaking and writing  

CELP Standard 8: Determine the meaning of words and phrases in oral presentations and literary and informational text  

CELP Standard 9: Create clear and coherent grade-appropriate speech and text  

CELP Standard 10: Make accurate use of standard English to communicate in grade appropriate speech and writing 

The document below provides guidance on these standards that is grade appropriate and broken down by language level descriptors which will assist the teacher in making the content of the unit accessible to all students.

Grade 3 Language Level Descriptors