Where’s the Water? Lesson Plan: Exploring Earth’s Bodies of Water Through Digital Storytelling

Submitted by: Julianne B. Ross

Grade Levels: 3-5

In this multi-day Water lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3, 4, and 5, students use BrainPOP resources to explore bodies of water on Earth. Students work collaboratively to collect and record data on a specific body of water using a Facts/Questions/Response (FQR) graphic organizer and analyze their findings. They then share their findings both verbally and through digital storytelling and other Web 2.0 technology.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Collect and record data on a specific body of water using a Facts/Questions/Response (FQR) graphic organizer.
  2. Work cooperatively to organize and analyze findings.
  3. Share and discuss their findings both verbally and through digital storytelling and other Web 2.0 technology.

Materials:

Vocabulary:

world ocean; seas; oceanographers; integral; currents; regulate; evaporation; gulf stream; monsoon; latitude

Preparation:

Acquire the print resources for each student. Divide the class into small groups of 3 to 5 students, and create a large FQR graphic organizer for each group. Create and upload a PowerPoint template to VoiceThread that has at least your class' name, title, and purpose of the lesson.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Introduction: Review class norms: attentive listening, be polite, and collaborate with peers as a reminder of how to work well in groups.
  2. Present the students with an overview of the lesson.
  3. Activate students' prior knowledge; toss a Koosh ball to students who want to share their knowledge of the Earth's geography.
  4. Narrow your focus by telling the class that they will explore the features of the bodies of water that are common to all regions of the Earth.
  5. Share the Quiz with students before the movie to test prior knowledge (if you have the ActiVote/ActivExpression LRS or any other student response system, this is a great time to use it.)
  6. Development: Give students a purpose for viewing the BrainPOP Oceans movie by asking them to plan to recall at least one fact to discuss afterward.
  7. View the Oceans movie. Consider turning on the closed captioning to help students process the information. You may also wish to have students take notes on their FQR sheets so they can share within their group afterward.
  8. Ask students to share one thing they learned, one question they have, and one response. Chart that through Shared Writing on the board.
  9. Ask if anyone heard a new word they didn’t know before; if so, add that word to your word wall. You can replay the movie at a later date to review the word and discuss how it is being used in the movie to help with vocabulary.
  10. Retake the quiz and compare students' answers as a motivator to show them they already know so much that they can chart in their groups.
  11. Practice: Model filling out the FQR graphic organizer using both the Think Aloud and Shared Writing activities; bring students to the Promethean board to help.
  12. Ask questions to check for understanding before independent/group practice.
  13. Independent Practice: Allow students time to read, discuss, and chart data in their groups. Depending on your class, you may want to assign someone the role of scribe. However, my experience is that students often organize this by themselves.
  14. Walk around to each group and videotape them at work and talking about their work.
  15. Upload the videos to VoiceThread.
  16. Bring students together in a community and play the VoiceThread.
  17. Ask students to give their opinion on this method of sharing. To help guide their thinking, you can give them starters such as I wonder..., what if..., next time..., or this reminds me of.
  18. Adaptations for Universal Access: Provide varied leveled texts, including maps.
  19. Have additional activities for students who finish early (see optional activities below).
  20. Provide shared reading/writing experiences.
  21. Play the movie with closed captions.

Extension Activity:

I printed out the Activity that went with the Oceans movie. It's great because it gives students the opportunity to really read their maps and record counties that border one, two or three oceans.

This introductory lesson can lead students to create norms for digital storytelling, learn how to become responsible producers using social media, learn to critique their own work and that of their classmates, learn to evaluate data sources, and learn to compare their work to that of professionals in order to become experts at publishing.