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SARAH TREMBLAY
INSECT UNIT
(with 11 lesson plans and assessment rubric)

UNIT OVERVIEW

 This unit is on insects and is intended for fourth grades students.  Insects are a part of our everyday lives, therefore it is important for students to be aware of what features insects have and where insects come from.
 The topics that will be covered in this lesson are insects features, ants, bees, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, and crickets.  Each of these topics is broken down into cooperative learning and hands-on lessons.
 Throughout the unit their will be books shared with the class, reading, writing, and hands-on activities to enhance the students understanding of the unit.  Students will keep science journals as a means of understanding and reinforcement of the topics studied.
 Students will have a good background of insects because they will have learned a little about insects in their primary grades.  The students have also studied animals and other forms of life which will give them a better understanding of insectís lives.
 This unit fits well into the fourth grade curriculum because in fourth grade students are also learning about plants and animals.  This unit is also an educational and enjoyable way to learn about insects.  It incorporates not only science, but also art, language arts, and mathematics.  This unit should take about two weeks to complete.
 


Unit Goals

1.  Students will relate new information to prior knowledge and experience.

2.  Students will present information clearly in a variety of oral and written forms such as: journal
    writings, insect book, stories, and pictures.

3.  Students will compare and contrast the differences between certain insects using different sources.

4.  Students will be able to share ideas and communicate with others.

5.  Students will be able to use a wide variety of sources for selecting and organizing information on insects.

6.  Math, art, and language arts are incorporated in the science unit.

7.  Students will evaluate their own work based on criteria given from teacher.

8.  Students will compare and contrast ideas while creating a Venn diagram.

9.  Students will observe live insects and compare them.
 

LESSON PLANS
DAY 1
DAY 2
DAY 3
DAY 4
DAY 5
DAY 6
DAY 7
DAY 8
DAY 9
DAY 10
 


Instructional Overview

  Students will have some prior knowledge of insects before beginning this unit on insects, but the importance of this unit is to give students a thorough understanding of insects individually.  This unit will help students to understand the similarities and differences among insects, while learning that they all have an individual uniqueness that makes them different from each other.
 The unit begins with a general lesson on insects that helps students to understand the characteristics of an insect.  The unit lessons then follow with a different insect every two days.  This allows the instructor enough time to teach the students the important aspects of each insect in the unit.  The students will learn and understand the insectís body and detailed information on what makes that insect unique from the others.
 The first insect that the students will be learning is the ant.  The ant was chosen to be the first insect taught because itís body is a simple shape that will be easier for the students to learn the individual body parts.  The following insects taught in the unit all have similar body parts, but they are not as easily seen.
 Each lesson begins with an introduction that reviews the information taught the day before.  This gives the students the opportunity to recall information that was taught so they are able to use it towards that days lesson.  Everyday the students also write useful information from the lesson in their science journals.  This is so the students are able to recall information they learn and are able to look back in them for information they may forget.  The studentís journals are kept for themselves, but the information written in them is given from the teacher.  This is so each students has the correct information they need in them.
 The unit is taught mostly from a deductive reasoning instruction.  A deductive method of teaching was used in this unit because it is a method that is familiar with everyday life and is associated with the scientific method.  The lessons involve students observing and collecting data to form generalizations about insects and their lives.  Some of this information is then used to make generalizations on whether or not it holds true to all insects.  A few of the lessons consist of students collecting data, as a class, and then using that information to make a general conclusion.
 Overall, this unit will give students a better understanding of insects and their importance.  It includes a variety of lessons that will not only help students to learn about the different insects, but will also keep them interested in the subjects being taught.  The lessons do not only teach the students science, they also include a variety of subjects.  This helps the students who are not strong in science, to also succeed.
 


Assessment Overview

 To assess the students during this unit, I would use various forms of assessment.  The first lesson I would formally assess the studentís science journals after they have copied the insect webs in them.  I would use this form of formal assessment because it is important for students to have all of the information in them and written correctly.  This will also allow me to see which students are paying attention to what is written in the insect web.  The worksheet that the students will be completing during the lesson will be assessed on whether or not they are completed.  Every student is given the opportunity to chose any insect they want to complete the worksheet.  This worksheet is used to get students interested in the unit.  It asks students various questions about their insect, therefore I do not think it is necessary to grade it on whether or not they knew everything about the insect they chose.
 The next lesson involves student participation as an assessment.  The students will be learning about ants and their bodies.  The students will be assessed on their participation during the overhead lesson because it is important for students to know the different parts of body that an insect has.  Participation, to me, during this lesson mean that the students have to be paying attention to the labeling of the ant.  If not many students hands are raised to come up to the overhead and label a body part, then I can decide on whether or not to teach the body parts again.  Finally, I will grade the students worksheets and record them in a grade book along with all of the other insect unit grades.
 The next assessment will take place as the students are writing their ant stories.  The students will listen as I read them an adventurous story about ants.  After the story, the students will be creative and write their own ant story.   This will allow me to see if they are able to creatively write when given a topic.  In the fourth grade curriculum, students have to take a test on their English skills at the end of the year.  This will also allow me to see what I need to work on with the class before then.  The stories will be assess on the studentsí creativity and their illustrations that coincide with their stories.  The grades will then be entered into the grade book.
 The next lesson involves bees.  The students will be entering numerous facts about bees in their science journals.  The journals will be collected at the end of the lesson and graded on content as well as grammar.  I feel it is important that students take time in their writing, whether it be a paper or a journal.  The math worksheet will be graded and entered in the grade book.
 The next bee lesson involves the students participating in a class labeling of a bee.  The students will raise their hands and then come up to the front of the room to label a part of the bee.  The students will then have to pay attention because they will be labeling their own bee later.  The studentís bee labeling worksheet will be graded using a check or check-plus.  This is used to see how much they remember.  I do not feel it is necessary to punish students in grading the whole worksheet if they forgot a few parts.  The students will then have to follow directions and draw their own bee and label the parts that is listed.  This will be graded on how well they followed directions.
 The next assessment would take place when the students are participating in the completion of the Venn diagram.  I will provide the information to be entered into the diagram, but the students must help to fill it in.  Participation in this lesson means that I would like to see the students getting involved.  I want them to volunteer to come up in front of the class and label the diagram.  If the students are not participation in its completion, then I will know to explain the diagram again.  The students will them have to copy the Venn diagram in their science journals.  The journals will be collected and graded on whether or not the students have the correct information and for neatness.
 The next lesson involves the class to participate in a group completion of a butterflies complete metamorphosis.  This is done with many worksheets in the front of the classroom.  The students will be able to see the different stages that a butterfly goes through before it becomes a butterfly.  The students will then have a worksheet with all of the stages on it.  They will have to label each stage by themselves.  This will allow me to see if the students were able to remember the corresponding stages and apply them to their own worksheets.  This worksheet will be graded and entered into the grade book.  The grades will then reflect how well the students understood each stage.
 The next lesson involves the observation of live crickets.  First, the students will label a grasshopper as a class.  They will write down all of the body parts.  Next, the students will observe live crickets and write down things that they notice about their bodies.  The students will then need to compare and contrast the differences between them.  They will be working in groups and I will be kidwatching to see who is participating.  The students will then be graded on their findings and their comparing and contrasting.
 The second lesson on grasshoppers is a listening lesson.  I will read a story on grasshoppers.  While I am reading the story, the students will be following along labeling their worksheets.  The book explains all the body parts in it.  The teacher will read it twice, but the students must listen carefully in order to hear all parts.  The studentís grades will reflect their listening skills.
 The final lesson in the unit is an insect book.  The students need to follow directions and complete the insect book by themselves.  I will grade them using an assessment rubric (see insect book lesson) for this rubric.
 The insect quiz will involve questions on all of the insects that are taught throughout the unit.  The students will know of the quiz and therefore, they will have opportunities to review by looking in their science journals.  The quiz will provide me with an overall understanding of how  well the students learned the material in the unit and also it will give me an idea of what I need to teach more of next time.  This will be graded and entered in the grade book.
 The Insect Learning Center has many activities in it that will be formally assessed.  The center is an opportunity for the students to be independant and is self-directing so the students are able to follow along with exactly what they are supposed to do.  The centers will allow me to see how well students work when they are not taught by direct instruction from the teacher.  The grades from the centers will be added in the grade book.