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					                                          Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale   1




Running head: SBUS: Rationale




           EDTP 503 - Developing Cross Cultural Competence - Fall 2008

              Multicultural Interdisciplinary Unit Plan
                    “Energy from the Sun” - Rationale


                Terri Cassel (1520750) & Ryan Wolfe (1605399)




                                University of Louisville
                                                                                          Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale                                           2




MULTICULTURAL INTERDISCIPLINARY UNIT PLAN..................................................................................1
   “ENERGY FROM THE SUN” - RATIONALE.................................................................................................................1
RATIONALE...............................................................................................................................................................3
   OVERVIEW .................................................................................................................................................................3
     Learning Styles ......................................................................................................................................................4
     Individualism & Collectivism ................................................................................................................................4
     Gender Differences................................................................................................................................................5
     Socioeconomic Factors..........................................................................................................................................6
     Language ...............................................................................................................................................................7
     Middle School ........................................................................................................................................................7
     Other Considerations.............................................................................................................................................8
   “ENERGY FROM THE SUN”: LESSON BY LESSON ........................................................................................................9
     Lesson 1: Insolation Overview ............................................................................................................................10
     Lesson 2: Properties of Light and Vision ............................................................................................................11
     Lesson 3: Pigment vs. Light Color Theories........................................................................................................11
     Lesson 4: Photosynthesis and the Carbon Cycle .................................................................................................12
     Lesson 5: The Food Web .....................................................................................................................................13
     Lesson 6: Heat Energy Transfer..........................................................................................................................14
     Lesson 7: The Water Cycle ..................................................................................................................................16
     Lesson 8: Wind Currents, and Seasons ...............................................................................................................17
   STRATEGY SUMMARY ..............................................................................................................................................19
   INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTIONS ...................................................................................................................................21
     Terri Cassel .........................................................................................................................................................21
     Ryan Wolfe...........................................................................................................................................................23
                                                      Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale         3


Rationale

Overview


       Our approach to culturally responsive teaching can be summed up by one word: variety.

To insure that every student has an equitable experience, (Banks, 2005) and that all will meet our

goals (even if some take longer than others), it is imperative that we provide a variety of different

lesson types. Some students prefer to work in groups, other to work alone. Some would rather

create a visual display when others would prefer to write a paper or give an oral report. Of

course, the variety cannot just be randomly thrown into our curriculum. We have to know who

are students are, where they are coming from, and how they learn best; then we must pick and

choose the lessons to fit within their learning styles.


       Where feasible, we offer choices – multiple ways to successfully complete a lesson – so

that each student can select their preferred method of working. Even when this is not practical,

however, students can still benefit from learning new approaches and working in new ways. It is

up to us as the curriculum designers to make sure that, in the long run, such “no option” lessons

represent a fair range of learning styles. For example, if some lessons must be done individually,

then others should give no choice but to work in groups. In this way, everyone gets a chance to

benefit from their preferred learning style and also gets a chance to expand their proficiency in

other styles. Instead of relying on a standard “default” lesson style with occasional variation, we

make variety our standard. In this way we achieve equity.


       Carol Ann Tomlinson’s article (2008) on differentiated instruction provides many good

points to keep in mind as we develop our lesson plans to suit our particular students. She urges
                                                    Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale          4


us to deal with student differences by “keeping kids together in the context of high-quality

curriculum but attending to their needs, their interests, and their preferred ways of learning.”

This is our guiding principle – we will form one unit, reaching towards one goal, but tailor it to

our students so that all have a chance to use their strengths while developing other skills as well.


Learning Styles


       While the specifics may vary, research agrees that people learn best in different ways.

One common example of this is Fleming and Mills (1992) suggested categorizing according to

Visual, Aural, Verbal-linguistic, and Kinesthetic preferences. Visual learners prefer diagrams,

charts, maps, and other such devices to represent what could have been presented in words. The

Aural or Auditory learner typically has a preference for information that is heard or spoken. This

fits in well with the traditional lecture and group discussion approach. Someone with a Verbal-

linguistic preference will do best with information presented as words. Reading texts and writing

assignments suit them well. Lastly, a Kinesthetic learner has a “perceptual preference related to

the use of experience and practice (simulated or real)”. They enjoy demonstrations, hands-on

applications, and the chance to move.


       Regardless of specific learning style, all students will do better when we can draw upon

their experience and build upon what they already know. No matter the type of lesson, making it

authentic and relevant to their lives will make it more memorable and meaningful for students.


Individualism & Collectivism


       As stated previously, some students prefer to work in groups, some prefer to work

individually, and for some it depends on the circumstances. Elise Trumbull (2001), among
                                                    Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale         5


others, labels these as Individualist and Collectivist preferences. The former approach is the

standard way of doing things in school, mainly because the dominant culture prefers and

promotes this style. However, collectivism is the norm in many immigrant cultures, including

American Indian, Hispanic/Latino, and African-American. Aside from the numerous ways these

differences can affect interactions with students and parents, we can also take these differences

into account in planning our lessons. By allowing students to work together, help each other, and

share responsibilities, we can accommodate those with a collectivist preference, regardless of

their culture. We must also support those students who prefer to work individualistically. One of

us (Cassel) has observed several students covering their work or criticizing classmates for using

the work of others. We see these responses of individualists as indicators that their style of

working needs to be honored more. Students must be explicitly told what their role is in all

students attaining the learning goals. If work is meant to be done in a group, those who are not as

comfortable with that situation need to be given tools to make it more comfortable (specific

roles, individual reporting). If there is meant to be choice, students choosing to work alone

should not have to do more work than those working in a group. And, if work is meant to be

independent the teacher must hold individuals accountable. While all of the students displaying

individualistic preferences I (Cassel) observed were White, it is important to avoid stereotyping

with this, or any, trait that seems to be common amongst a certain demographic. Certainly there

are many individuals who have different, mixed, or changing preferences. Again, knowing the

students is key.


Gender Differences


       Boys and girls learn differently and, especially at the middle school level, can benefit

greatly from instruction which takes their differences into account. The article by Michael
                                                    Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale           6


Gurian (2001) lists numerous differences in the way boys and girls learn. These are stereotypes,

but in general girls have a preference for verbal communication, favor inductive thinking, and

cooperate better in unstructured teams. On the other hand, boys tend to prefer non-verbal

communication, favor deductive thinking, and create structured teams. The research also

suggests that boys get bored easier than girls and have a greater need to move. These are all

things we can keep in mind to make sure that our lessons do not always favor one gender over

the other.


Socioeconomic Factors


       Fifty percent of the student in our classroom are considered “at risk”, eligible for free or

reduced cost lunch. I (Cassel) happen to know who two of those students are because of

involvement in a summer program open only to “at risk” students in which those individuals

participated. Neither stands out in class as being less prepared or more poorly equipped than their

classmates. One creates frequent disruption in the classroom and seldom completes assignments.

The other is a model classroom citizen. Since it is not possible to identify children of poverty

through simple observation and because, as we learned in class, dependence on stereotypes to

recognize “at risk” children is improper, strategies proven successful for that population need to

be applied equally to the whole class. Fortunately, during our class discussions, we learned that

children of poverty often share learning preferences with many other student demographics. For

example they typically prefer cooperative group work, kinesthetic activities, and choice in

assignments. They may also benefit specifically from having scoring guides and rubrics

presented up front, and from having more explicit pacing and goal setting guidelines. As with

any students, providing a positive role model and high expectations are also key to their success.
                                                    Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale          7


Language


       While our particular demographic does not contain main English Language Learners, we

have seen (in the handout referencing Gottlieb (2006)) that many of the practices which help

ELL students will indeed benefit all of our students regardless of their language preference.

Some examples include sensory supports like manipulatives, photos and videos; graphic supports

such as charts, tables, and graphic organizers; and interactive supports like working with

partners, groups, or mentors. By using these approaches in our classroom, we can enrich the

learning process for our current students while being ready to accommodate ELL students should

the need arise.


Middle School


       Considered by many to be the most difficult grades, there are factors which deserve

special attention when dealing with this age group. Since we are designing this unit for 6th grade

students, we need to make a real effort to keep lectures short and activities and participation

high. We cannot expect students at this age to sit still, or remained focused on a single objective,

for a long period of time. Considering the normal level of cognitive development at this age, the

material must also focus on concrete more than abstract concepts.


       Middle School students exhibit the wider range of cognitive maturity than either

elementary or High School students (Slavin, 2009). Because the degree to which students use

concrete thinking relative to more formal operational thought differs according to tasks,

background knowledge, and individual differences, all of the essential concepts covered in our

unit must include concrete representations. It would not be developmentally appropriate to

require learning through abstract presentations in the 6th grade. The middle years are also a time
                                                     Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale          8


of intense interest and focus on the self. In order to engage our students and gain their necessary

participation in their learning, our lessons must focus on their experiences and interests (Nieto

and Bode, 2008). Eliciting and valuing the emotional responses of the students is interspersed

with queries for student understanding of the content. Requiring students to talk to each other

and the teacher about what they think of the material and how their understanding of the content

changes over the course of the unit also taps into the interest students have for their own thoughts

and feelings and learning process.


       Consciously incorporating the content of the unit into the culture of the students is vital to

moving students past interaction with the content through interesting lessons to internalizing the

content and actually modifying their schema to incorporate the content. In order to do this, we

must continuously monitor our individual students, their physical environment (school,

neighborhood), their virtual environment (media, fantasy), and their social environment (friends,

family, sports) to find points of connection with our content (Sheets, 2005). In our unit, current

events (the election of Mr. Obama), opportunities to use their belongings in labs (lesson 2), and

discussions of their own diet (lesson 4) are examples of bringing the content into the student’s

culture.


Other Considerations


       In addition to the other parameters we are considering, Tomlinson (2008) also speaks

about students having a preference for creative, practical, or analytic ways of learning. In other

words, some like to ‘think outside the box’ while others benefit from real-life tie ins and still

others prefer the traditional, methodical approach to learning. Once we know the preferences of

our particular students, this gives us even more variety to work into our unit. A particular salient
                                                      Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale        9


quote reminds us that we need to start with quality curriculum before we begin considering how

to customize and fine tune. In Tomlinson’s words, “if what you differentiate is boring enough to

choke a horse, you’ve just got different versions of boredom.” She also explains that we should

be “teaching up” by starting with the high-end curriculum and then doing what is needed to make

it an obtainable goal for all students. So we start with a solid, interesting curriculum and high

expectations. Then it is up to us to craft the lessons to turn diversity into an asset and make it

possible for all students to flourish.




“Energy from the Sun”: Lesson By Lesson


This section describes the lessons specific to our unit, examining the choices we made in

selecting and developing each one. The lessons are listed chronologically as they would be

presented to in the Unit. Below is a summary of the lessons, showing explicitly which objectives

each meets, as well as what other content areas each lesson brings in.


#    Lesson name                         Objectives     Length      Other Content Areas
1    Insolation Overview                 1, 2, 3        1 day       Math, Writing
2    Properties of Light and Vision      4, 5           1 day       Writing
3    Pigments vs Light Color Theory      6              1 day       Visual Arts
4    Photosynthesis Carbon Cycle         7, 8           1 day       Math
5    The Food Web                         8, 9          1 day
6    Heat Energy Transfer                10             1 day       Writing
7    The Water Cycle                     11             1 day       Math
8    Wind, Currents, & Seasons           12, 13         1 day       Visual Arts, Writing
     Review                                             1 day
     Final assessment                                   1 day       Writing
                                                   Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale        10




Lesson 1: Insolation Overview


        Our first lesson introduces “Energy from the Sun” by examining how sunlight is

produced and transmitted to Earth. The distribution of this incoming solar radiation (insolation)

is presented as the driving force behind the winds and the water cycle, and the initial energy

source for life on this planet.


        The lesson begins in the standard lecture format with images on the overhead. The talk is

supported with a simple demonstration using a flashlight and graph paper to show how the angle

of light affects the amount of energy received by a given area. This traditional teaching approach

is used to get things started and to efficiently present broad concepts – providing a framework for

what is to follow. The short talk and demo transitions into a workshop which can be done either

in groups or individually. Travel brochures are used to drive an investigation of how places at

increasing latitudes generally have increasingly cooler climates. After some time, the class is

brought back together so that the groups can verbally share and discuss their findings.


        The introductory lecture is kept brief because, at this age, students generally have a very

short attention span. The verbal presentation is provided for auditory learners while the same

material is presented in graphical format on the overhead projector for the benefit of visual

learners. The flashlight demonstration brings in math concepts and provides something both real

and visual. It will also be available during the group work should kinesthetic students wish to

reenact the demonstration themselves. The workshop section allows for flexible grouping (which

benefits many segments of our demographic) and the travel brochures are a colorful, visual

manipulative that ties what we’re studying to the real world. Though it is possible that most
                                                    Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale            11


students may not have traveled much, all should be familiar with the changes of the seasons and

can use this experience to discuss how incoming sunlight affects both weather and climate.


Lesson 2: Properties of Light and Vision


       This lesson is presented in two halves, to emphasize the duality of splitting white light

into multiple colors on the one hand and absorbing all wavelengths of light except one color on

the other hand. This structure allows concrete thinkers to observe an abstract concept. It presents

the concept in two different ways, one that is more deductive (splitting light) and one that is

more inductive (observing the reflection of filtered light from colored objects). One of these

mini-labs is done in groups while the other is conducted as a “gallery walk”, allowing students to

observe and document individually.


       Students create their own meaning by interpreting their observations of the visible light

spectrum in their own diagrams and words. They have the opportunity to use their own

belongings to investigate the effect of filtering light on their ability to perceive color. They are

also required to document their observations and their impressions, inferences, and thoughts

about their experiences in a setting where only their correct discrimination between observation

and inference is graded. Value is given equally for all responses of personal thought.


Lesson 3: Pigment vs. Light Color Theories


       This lesson continues the exploration of light by looking specifically at how pigments

absorb certain wavelengths of sunlight and thereby determine the perceived color of an object.

Vision accounts for 80% of our perceptual input, and vision is likely the student’s most vivid

experience with sunlight, so discussing light and vision helps bring our Big Idea down to a
                                                     Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale         12


personal level. The comparison of additive colors (light) and the subtractive colors (pigments)

also lends itself very well to a visual arts project, which will be much appreciated by our creative

and visual learners. For this project students will use images from magazines and other sources

to construct a collage of colored objects. These will be arranged to represent the color

relationships of either additive or subtractive color theory. The former has red/green/blue as

primaries while the latter has cyan/magenta/yellow or red/yellow/blue. The collages will also

demonstrate an understanding of warm and cool, or complementary and analogous, color

relationships.


       Following a discussion of the project, and as an authentic example of energy

transformation, a teacher-lead class discussion traces the chemical energy of a “color” perceived

in the brain back to its ultimate origin (a fusion reaction in the sun). If time allows, there are also

possible extensions to the discussion of the personal aspect of sunlight. The initial subject matter

can dovetail into how colors affect moods or even how lack of sunlight can cause physiological

problems (for example Season Affective Disorder and vitamin D production). These are

additional ways to make a lofty subject like “energy from the sun” into something with personal

and important ramifications.


Lesson 4: Photosynthesis and the Carbon Cycle


       This lesson uses a group game to lead students through a simplified version of the carbon

cycle. The emphasis in this lesson is on the essentiality of the Sun’s energy in producing all of

the energy used by terrestrial life on Earth, including mankind. This is a whole class exercise in

which groups of students take the roles of plants or animals, assembling or disassembling

glucose molecules and passing energy, carbon, oxygen, and water among groups and back and
                                                   Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale         13


forth to “atmospheric pools”. This unstructured group game allows students to work together to

translate the concrete representation of the photosynthesis chemistry to a balanced chemical

equation on their worksheet. They have the opportunity to self-select roles in the groups. They

also have the option of functioning as more of an observer in their group, if they choose to work

more independently. This lesson uses the game as an incentive to move students through the

content. As they figure out how to play, they must figure out how plants assemble C, O, and H to

build glucose and what animals do with those elements once they extract the energy they need.

The lesson presentation is integral with learning the game. Providing the worksheet and requiring

students to answer the first two questions before the game begins prompts students of all learning

styles to relate the sensory-rich lesson to the verbal-linguistic assessment and gives those

students who prefer text-based content a preferred access to all the other presentation content.


       The demonstration with the color CO2 indicator and the Elodea plant will help students

in concrete thinking and those displaying resistance to the content observe clear evidence of

carbon fixation and oxygen production. Preparing duplicate experiments, one of which is placed

in the Sun light and the other which is kept shaded helps build the direct linkage from the Sun’s

energy to carbon fixation by plants.


Lesson 5: The Food Web


       This lesson is set up as an individual workshop. The teacher uses the observations made

during the carbon cycle game in the previous lesson to tailor a minilesson that reaches most of

the class where they are to emphasize the critical content (Sun’s role in the carbon cycle). The

teacher can also prepare some scaffold materials and enhancements (articles to read, helpful

graphics) to assist specific students during the workshop. The workshop goals are culturally
                                                   Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale          14


responsive by incorporating the student’s own food choices in the exercise. Examples and a

rubric is made available so that students understand the assignment objectives. They are required

to make a list of the foods they have eaten recently (lunch) and draw a food web, with

themselves as top predator, and those foods (main ingredients, as far as the students can deduce

them), and what those ingredients would require to grow to the point they were “harvested” for

their consumption. Packaging of typical processed foods are provided to assist students in

reading and thinking about ingredient lists. All points on the web should trace back to the sun.


       Students then participate in a whole class sharing where their home/society experiences

are honored. They get to see who else in class has the same food traditions they do and all

students see that all their food energy comes from the same basic starting points (sun to plant to

animal).


Lesson 6: Heat Energy Transfer


       Like most of the lessons in this unit, a variety of presentation styles is used in this lesson

to review the transfer of heat energy and connect that basic knowledge to the roles of the Sun’s

energy on Earth. This lesson begins with an exploration by student groups into the heat

absorbing and dispersing properties of water and sand. Two sets of the apparatus will be set up

upon student arrival to class, as follows: one beaker with sand and one with water with

thermometers in them and a light positioned to heat them both. Two students are selected as

recorders and two as time keepers. The class is divided into two teams which line up in two

rows. A student from each line steps up and reads the thermometers as the time keeper (with

stopwatch or watch with second sweep) indicates each minute and recorder writes down the

readings on a transparency. Students cycle around and repeat the exercise with the light off.
                                                     Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale         15


Data charts are displayed on the overhead and whole class discussion follows to compare the

rates of cooling and heating of the two matrices and the relative energy absorption, reflection,

and retention properties. Random selection of special roles and teams allows individual students

to explore new roles and associations. During class discussion, observations, inferences, and key

words will be recorded by the teacher.


        Following the exploration of radiation, absorption, and reflection of heat energy, students

will continue their interaction in a large group exercise to reinforce conduction and convection

using a ball. In 2-4 large groups, students will simulate molecules in a liquid or gas and move a

ball from one part of the room to another. Each holder of the ball must state which method of

energy transfer they are using to move the ball. If it is tossed or rolled, it is radiation. Since

radiation was already explored in the previous exercise, this will not be one of the options. If it is

passed hand to hand, it is conduction, and if it is held as the student walks it is convection. These

terms will be added to the collection from the previous exercise by the teacher.


        Following the activities, students are given a collection of diagrams and photos that show

transfers of heat energy. They will be arranged in columns so that students may choose a number

defined by the teacher (could be fewer for students performing at lower levels) from each

column and get practice defining each of the types of energy transfer. This incorporates choice

for the students. They are required to write captions for the pictures, using complete sentences

and describing what is happening in the picture incorporating at least one of the words for energy

transfer. The list of terms compiled during the activities will be left up during the writing

exercise and a rubric will be made available. There will be time for students to self-assess their

work and share their captions with the class.
                                                   Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale        16


Lesson 7: The Water Cycle


       The central piece of this lesson is an active game in which the students learn about the

water cycle by simulating bits of water. They move from station to station depending on dice

rolls and keep a written record of their journey. The stations are marked by labeled visual

images, as are the custom dice.


       Before the game, the class begins with a mini-lesson explaining the water cycle in a

typical discussion format. A graphical depiction of the cycle is used during this section as well –

adding a visual and text element to the verbal presentation and showing how the water cycle is

part of the real world. There is ample opportunity during this time to ask the students questions –

both to pre-assess their knowledge level and to allow them to bring their experience into the

conversation (as everyone has seen clouds, rain, and rivers). Given the target age group, the

length of this introductory material is kept short and followed by a game where the students can

move about the room. The water cycle will be briefly reviewed during the next lesson when the

discussion brings up wind and it’s part in moving water.


       This lesson targets all of the common learning styles. The lecture presents information

verbally as well as visually and in text. The game contains several manipulatives (again with

both graphics and text) as well as the chance to move about the classroom. It is expected that

some socialization and off-topic conversation may occur while students are waiting at the

various stations, but they will each be still responsible for writing down their progress while

playing the game. In the event that a small number of students strongly do not wish to

participate, an alternate writing assignment will be given – one which they can work on by

themselves while the game goes on.
                                                    Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale        17


        The water cycle and the carbon cycle are the two keystones of this unit and so this lesson

mimics the carbon cycle lesson somewhat. Both follow the same format, with a mini-lesson, then

a game, and a brief review the next day. This repeated structure will heighten the parallels

between the two systems.


Lesson 8: Wind Currents, and Seasons


        Our unit wraps up with a lecture presentation followed by a simple art/writing exercise

and class discussion. The subject matter is how differences in the incoming angle of insolation

causes wind and currents. Over the course of the year, the similar changes in the angle of

incoming solar energy account for the seasons. Weather maps will be used as visual aids to show

low and high pressure areas. A workshop project, which may be done in flexible groups, will

help students explore the similarities and differences between seasonal characteristics and

latitude-dependent climates. This is a good opportunity to bring in prior experience by asking

students about their preference in seasons, and to recall the discussion about latitude from the

first lesson.


        The verbal lecture is supported with visuals on the overhead projector so that both

auditory (aural) and visual learners can benefit. Students who prefer reading and writing will

benefit from the clearly labeled graphics and maps. The project incorporates pictures cut from

magazines and a brief writing assignment. This should be useful to visual and kinesthetic

learners, as well as those with a writing preference. Referencing the first lesson in the last should

help provide a sense of closure (this is a common cinematic technique and likely familiar to

many students).
                                                    Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale         18


Lesson 9: Review and/or sponge day


        This unit covers some very basic and intuitive concepts (energy from the Sun drives

many Earth processes). However, it also reviews a lot of content from students’ elementary

school experiences and makes many connections both among the lessons and to the students’

lives. We believe this is key to accomplishing the goals of the Unifying Concept put forth in the

Core Content for Assessment and to producing curricula that is interesting and challenging to the

students. However, some students will be better prepared than others and we anticipate that most

students will find the pace of at least one of the lessons to be too challenging. Having a review

day at the end of the unit allows the teacher to review the formative assessments of all the

students and design a small group or individual workshop for each of them to get the support

they need to be successful on the final exam.


        A general review worksheet is prepared for this day, broken up into sections relating to

the specific content objectives. Students can be instructed individually to start with a specific

section that they have demonstrated misconceptions in, to be sure they work on that content

during the class period. Also, students with similar difficulties with the content can be grouped

together for a small group mini-lesson while other students work. If needed, students who have

demonstrated mastery of all subjects can be offered an extension activity, like an a more complex

“cycle game” or current scientific news articles to read and discuss together.


        Finally, if content deemed essential by the teacher was skipped due to time constraints or

most of the class just didn’t get it during the lesson, this day can be used to cover that content or

re-run that activity.
                                                  Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale   19


Strategy Summary
       The table on the following page summarizes which ‘best practice’ strategies are

employed in which lessons, as well as which groups these strategies typically benefit.
                                                   Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale           20




                                                               Benefits What Group
          Strategy                   Lessons
                                                                  (in general)?
Lecture                       1, 3, 7, 8          auditory/verbal-linguistic learners
                              1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
Text slides/posted text                           verbal-linguistic learners
                              7, 8
Pictorial/diagrammatic
                              1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8    visual-spatial learners, ELL
slides
Video clips                                       visual-spatial learners, ELL, concrete thinking
Demonstration                 1                   visual-spatial learners, ELL, concrete thinking
                                                  collectivists, students of poverty, many
Cooperative Group Work        7
                                                  minority cultures, girls, ELL
Unstructured team game        4                   Interpersonal learners, adolescents, boys
Experiments/Data
                              1, 2, 6, 7          concrete thinking
collecting
Solo Work                     3, 8                individualists, dominant American culture
                                                  kinesthetic learners, boys, students of poverty,
Active, interactive games     6, 7
                                                  concrete thinking
Artistic/graphic activities   2, 3, 5, 8          visual-spatial learners, kinesthetic learners
Manipulatives /                                   kinesthetic learners, boys, students of poverty,
                              1, 2, 4, 6, 7
Kinesthetic                                       concrete thinking
                                                  students of poverty, many minority cultures,
One-on-one with teacher       5
                                                  verbal-linguistic learners, ELL
Reading Assignment                                verbal-linguistic learners
Written products              4, 8                verbal-linguistic learners
Data/graphic provided         6, 8                visual learners, ELL
                                                  students of poverty, many minority cultures,
Choice in assignment          5, 6
                                                  adolescents
Elicit personal
                              1, 2, 3, 5          Intrapersonal learners, adolescents
experiences
                                                  verbal-linguistic, Collectivists, students of
Oral Presentation             1, 5, 7
                                                  poverty, many minority cultures, girls
Visual/graphic
                              5                   visual-spatial learners
Presentation
                                                  students of poverty, many minority cultures,
Rubrics and pacing guides     4, 5, 6
                                                  adolescents
                                                   Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale           21



Individual Contributions
As part of this assignment, we were instructed to comment on our individual contributions to the

project. This section of the document contains those comments.


Terri Cassel


       Working on this unit in partnership with Ryan was a great experience. In developing

lessons in the past, and in writing a unit for my Special Methods class, I often lacked focus and

sacrificed intention for activity. In this experience, communicating with my partner through each

phase of the unit development kept the design on target and made my efforts much more

effective. I feel that we were able to get many things right the first time which I have struggled

on my own to redo over and over in other experiences.

       My specific contributions to this unit were, initially, in providing the basic documentation

(CCA, pacing guide) from which we decided on our subject matter. Since I am further along in

the program than Ryan, many resources he has not yet been exposed to are at my fingertips.

Once we identified our Core Content, I took the lead in writing up the Unit Plan, drafting the

essential and guiding questions and the final assessment and scoring guide. Ryan contributed one

of the open response questions and I, the other. We struggled a bit to define the scope of our unit,

both of us being inexperienced in the prior knowledge of the subject to expect of our sixth grade

students. I obtained a collection of text books, some from my mentor teacher and some from the

College of Education resource room, and visited the Louisville Free Public library for children’s

books on the subjects not covered in the texts. After each of us looked over these resources and

we spoke with Dr. Finch, we were able to plan the depth of our lessons and the quality of

background knowledge students starting Middle School should have.
                                                    Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale            22


       Using Ryan’s list of topics, we worked together to decide which lessons we would write

completely and which to only summarize. This topic plan was excellent in that Ryan had

identified the critical division of the subject into light and heat energy and outlined the order of

the topics such that very little adjustment needed to be made. From this document, I drafted the

list of objectives and this did not need much alteration as the lessons were developed. After

brainstorming about resources and activities to incorporate in each of the lessons, we met and

decided to each focus on one half of the unit. I have been primarily responsible for the first

(light) half, due to my biology/chemistry background, and Ryan has worked primarily on the

heat energy half, with his interest in weather related phenomena. I wrote the full lessons 4

(photosynthesis and carbon cycle) and 5 (food webs) and the summaries for lessons 2, 4, 5, 6,

and 9. Ryan and I co-authored the first lesson in the unit (Insolation). My specific contribution to

that lesson was the travel brochure activity and assessment.

       Most of my contribution to the Rationale has been in editing and compiling the data

tables. Within Ryan’s format, I added some background for the specific populations I have

worked with in my field placement and of whom I am always aware when writing or assessing

lesson plans. I also took the lead in standardizing the terminology throughout and among the

documents and tables to show the relationships between our lesson plans and the literature and

experiences we cited. I drafted the Powerpoint portion of our presentation and provided graphics

for Ryan to use in his description of the lessons I wrote in the movie portion. I also helped proof-

read and edit his script for the movie portion.
                                                    Unit: “Energy from the Sun” – Rationale         23


Ryan Wolfe


       This has been an excellent collaboration – one in which I truly believe that the end result

is significantly better than what either of us could have produced alone. The initial planning

stages were done together, with Terri providing key documentation such as the Curriculum Map

and Core Content for Science Assessment. Between us, we settled on a topic along with a set of

standards and “Big Idea”.

       Terri came up with the first draft of the SBUS Unit Plan and I helped to refine our

Essential and Guiding Questions and finalize our assessment. During this period, I spent a lot of

time constructing the list of topics for our lessons and finding a way to organize and present the

information in a logical manner. This eventually gave us the overall structure of our unit and the

subjects for the individual lessons. As with everything else, this went through several revisions

as Terri and I shared ideas back and forth.

       I authored the initial draft of our Rationale and then handed it over for extensions and

editing. I wrote the initial version of the “Overview” sections. In the “Lesson by Lesson” section,

I constructed the framework and wrote the parts pertaining to lessons one, three, seven, and

eight. I started the Strategy Summary table but Terri really fleshed it out. Throughout the

document, we both made several revisions and extensions as the project progressed. This was the

central document of our project and was modified right up until the end.

Lesson-wise, I developed lesson 7 (the Water Cycle) and lesson 8 (Winds, Currents, & Seasons)

as well as the first half of lesson 1 (Insolation Overview). For the presentation, I created the

video slide show presentation, including the script and graphic animations. Having written only

one lesson plan, and no Units, prior to this I learned an immense amount and benefited greatly

from being able to collaborate with Terri on this project.

				
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