Artifact #8

Rocks and Minerals Unit- Content Vocabulary

ED 914: Teaching Reading in the Content Areas

Taken: Spring 2013


For ED 914, I created a Rocks and Minerals unit utilizing the Backwards Design model. This meant determining what the overall unit outcome should be and working backwards from that final point to determine how to get there. I looked at what big ideas or concepts students should get out of the overall unit. By using this educator strategy, I was able to create a number of key vocabulary words that students would have to acquire in order to successfully engage within the unit and gain the big ideas.

Competency 3: History and Nature of English Vocabulary and of English Dialects; development of vocabulary knowledge

It is essential for students to build a knowledge of content knowledge that is specific to what unit/topic is being taught. When implementing a unit on Rocks and Minerals, it is important that students understand basic terms related to what rocks are, how they are formed, and what characteristics identify them. When working with a partner, they need to be able to find the correct terminology to communicate effectively to complete whatever task they are required to do. Within the unit, they will gain more knowledge about the given topic and expand upon their vocabulary. By showing students different examples and models of rocks and minerals and their characteristics, the teacher is building a bridge from unknown knowledge to background information. They are creating prior knowledge that was not there before. I use trays of rocks, magnifying glasses, rock field guides, streak plates, and other scientific instruments to give students the exposure not only to new manipulatives and resources, but also to the verbiage that is associated with each piece.

With knowledge of words within the unit, students are able to connect other words that would fit within the category of rocks or the study of rocks. They are able to decipher words such as geocentric and understand the geo has to do with rocks and centric has to do with center, therefore they can conclude that a geocentric theory has to do with the topic being centered around rocks or something containing rock. No matter what the grade level or the child's abilities, vocabulary acquisition is important.

Students who participated within this unit completed a number of vocabulary work sheets in a number of ways. They created flashcards, either handwritten ones or on a website that creates flashcards such as, they created diagrams, illustrated charts, played games, and read selected passages for vocabulary knowledge.

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