Pollution Unit Plan
The purpose of this unit is to provide the students with a firm understanding of what pollution is, how it effects the environment, and what we can do to reduce its effects. In a world that has a depleting ozone layer, harmful chemicals and an abundance of waste, our students need to be educated in the destruction and preservation of the world we live in.
This lesson is targeted for a sixth grade level. This topic is generally taught in curriculum throughout the years, but would be a great way to talk about and celebrate earth day. I would incorporate this unit into an interdisciplinary unit for a two week period.
Unit Learning Goals
1. Students will understand three different types of pollution.
2. Students will learn the causes of pollution.
3. Students will learn the effects of pollution.
4. Students will learn ways to reduce pollution.
5. Students will understand why preventing pollution is so important.
Instructional Overview (for individula lessons click on lesson
in assessment section below)
Overall, I want the students to explore and discover the problems with pollution. I have included several activities, learning situations and methods of teaching. Working with a sixth grade middle school class, it is important to use the principle of variation to keep the students attention span. For this reason I have incorporated a variety of teaching and learning styles to engage the students and hopefully to use every students learning style at one point.
As the teacher I plan to guide the students through the activities without lecturing or forcing information on them. I begin the whole unit with a video tape on pollution and then lead the students through a discussion of the topic. This inductive way of teaching allows students to see specifics and then move toward generalities. I intend on being the facilitator throughout the unit to guide students toward inquiry and discovery learning. I have included direct instruction techniques to teach specific skills such as definitions of terms.
I have used a lot of group work or cooperative learning situations. I feel that it is good to get the students to interact with each other while they explore the material. A lot of the activities are based on group performances such as the Fun Factory activity where every group member has a duty to perform to get the task done. I used a learning center on one day and incorporated the use if technology and a hands on activity.
For students to create a link with pollution and the world they live in, I think it is important to include these aspects in their learning. I incorporated a scavenger hunt and sock activity to allow students to explore items in their every day environment and to see the effects of pollution from these things.
To provide a smooth transition into the lesson for the day, a cartoon or quick review game has been incorporated. This engages the students thinking while guiding the students toward the lesson.
Along with smooth transitions, I incorporated several disciplines in this unit. Science is used when performing experiments, technology in learning centers, language arts for writing letters and reading, math for graphing and charting and history to show the effects of pollution overtime with major events. I carried this interdisciplinary idea through the final projects by incorporating an art, language arts, math and historical choices.
I have used kid watching as a major participation assessment. Seeing that group work is a big part of this unit, it is important that students get some sort of assessment on that activity. The teacher will walk around a give students participation checks for participating in the lessons, class discussions and group projects. This keeps the students on task and allows the teacher to observe the students discovering the content of the lessons.
I also used homework, group projects and writing assignments as assessment tools. If students are going to do the work there should be results from it. Grading this material allows the teacher to see that the students are getting the information and correctly processing it. It also allows for the teacher to modify their lessons and evaluate the instruction.
The following is a list day by day of the assessment used and the reasoning behind the method chosen.
click link to see lesson plan
Day 1- Kid watching to see if the students are working well in groups and are getting the material accomplished. The class discussion will allow the teacher to see the connections the class is making and guide their thinking to the right direction if off. The group worksheets will let the teacher know that the group understands cause/effect relationship. The homework allows the teacher to see that the students understand the material and are able to apply the information.
Day 2- The class discussion on the new topic will allow the teacher to see that the students are in the right direction and will allow the teacher to assess how much the students may already know about the topic. Another kid watching participation check will be given for group work which also allows the teacher to keep students on task. Assessing the group questions will allow the teacher to see if the students were able to get the correct results of the activity and that they are understanding the information.
Day 3- Students predicting and the evaluating their predictions allows the teacher to see possible previous knowledge and the new information gained. This also shows the understanding of the material covered. Group summaries allow the teacher to see that the group work was completed and information was gathered correctly. The homework puzzle is just a fun activity for the students to do while still reinforcing the information covered.
Day 4- Kid watching is again used and the students papers on classifying and connecting the scavenger hunt materials to the relationship of pollution. This allows the teacher to see connections forming between the students information and the ability to apply it to real situations.
Day 5- The group factory questions will be looked at to see that the students performed the activity and are able to apply the information learned. Also the students letters will be given a grade for format, relationship of findings in activity to real factories and suggestions given to reduce pollution.
Day 6- Students will be given a grade for their bar graphs. This allows the teacher to see that the students understand the concept of a bar graph and are able to apply information about pollution into a graph. A group grade will also be given on the students group graphs. This activity has freedom for the students to choose the method and gives the students a chance to fully apply their knowledge.
Day 7- Students will be given a grade for their ability to predict an event (right or wrong in this case) and their ideas about ways to reduce pollution. This is another open activity that really allows the teacher to see that the students are making connections and applying their knowledge.
Day 8- Students are given a participation grade for their ability to recall information learned that is pretty general. The students will also be given a check for the application of knowledge to identifying actions that cause pollution. This allows the teacher to see that the students can apply the information learned and spot acts of pollution.
Day 9- The review sheet allows the teacher to see that the students are able to recall and locate information from the entire unit. This is a good evaluation to see that the students have followed the activities, done their previous work and followed directions.
Day 10- The students overall project will be their biggest grade. This shows the teacher that they are able to apply their knowledge, understands the material, and that they have gained some sort of knowledge from the unit.
An overall participation grade will count for twenty percent of their grade. Sixty percent of their grade will be dedicated to final projects and the remaining twenty will be for written and graded work. One grade will represent the overall unit, but several grades will factor into the major grade.
Authentic Performance Assessment Rubric
This sheet can be found on Day nine in the unit. There is a final project sheet and a rubric that the students will be getting. The students will fill out the rubric for each student as well as the teacher. The students will present their projects to the class and will then be graded based on the rubric they had while developing the projects. The peer assessment will be averages and compared to the teachers assessment. This will make sure that the teacher and students work with the rubric while grading.
Anderson, Robert. Pollution. California: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1992.
Baines, John. Conserving the Atmoshere. Texas: Steck-Vaughn Co., 1990.
Berger, Melvin. Oil Spill! New York: Harper Collins, 1994.
Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. 1998 ed. CD-ROM. Cambridge: The Learning Company, Inc., 1998.
James, Barbara. Waste and Recycling. Texas: Steck-Vaughn Co., 1990.
Wilcox, Charlotte. Trash. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, Inc., 1988.
Web Sites Used