Lesson Plan on Social Studies Research

Teacher: Stacey Vendryes  Subject: Social Studies
Grade Level: 4th Date: March 22, 2000

Sunshine State Strand: Time, Continuity, and Change [History]
Sunshine State Standard: The student understands historical chronology and the historical perspective.

I. Content: Skill - I want my students to be able to pick out important facts from research articles and
organize these facts into an essay.

II. Prerequisites: In order to complete this lesson, the student needs to have an understanding of the terms “possible” and “probable.”

III. Instructional Objective: Given nonfictional books and articles, the student will compose a one page essay that compares two American history icons using a total of six facts they have found.

IV. Instructional Procedures:
Lesson Initiating Activity:
A. (Day 1) The teacher will introduce the lesson by posing the question, “Was it possible for Davy Crockett to receive a letter from the pony express?” After allowing the children to discuss their thoughts and ideas, the teacher will read a book to them on each topic (Davy Crockett by David A. Adler and They’re Off! The Story of the Pony Express by Cheryl Harness).

Core Activities: 
(Day 2) The teacher will pass out copies of factual sheets on Davy Crockett to the class. In groups of four, the children will discuss the article and pick out important facts that help explain why Davy Crockett is famous. The teacher will then instruct the students to write each of their facts on separate
note cards.
(Day 3) The teacher will pass out copies of factual sheets on the Pony Express. In the same groups of four, the children will discuss the article and pick out the important facts that explain who, what, when, where, and why of the Pony Express. The teacher will then instruct the students to write each of their
answers on note cards. 
(Day 4) The teacher will call a scribe from each group up to the board to write the facts that they have found on each topic. Using the facts on the board, the teacher will then initiate a class discussion to determine whether it was possible for Davy Crockett to receive a letter from the Pony Express. It might have been possible, but was it probable based on the customs, transportation, etc. of the times? 

Closure Activity:
(Day 5) The teacher will explain to the students that using the facts they have found, they are each going to write a paper on whether it was possible for Davy Crockett to receive a letter from the Pony Express. First, the teacher will talk about introduction paragraphs with the class. As a whole group activity, the class will write some possible introductions together. Next, the teacher will have the children use their facts to write a paragraph about Davy
Crockett. She will explain to the children that they must include three facts about Davy in their paragraph that supports their decision of whether it was possible for Davy Crockett to receive a letter from the Pony Express. Then, the teacher will instruct the students to write a paragraph about the Pony Express. Again, the students must include three facts about the Pony Express that supports their decision. Finally, the teacher will have the students write a conclusion
to their paper. The conclusion will state whether it was possible or not and why. If it was possible, the students should also address whether it was probable. 

ESOL Considerations: 
The teacher will use graphic organizers such as note cards and writing on the board to help children during discussions and to provide models for writing opportunities. The teacher will also have the children work in cooperative groups to stimulate creative discussions without putting the risk of failure on one child. 

V. Materials and Equipment:
A. Storybook, Davy Crockett by David A. Adler
B. Storybook, They’re Off! The Story of the Pony Express by Cheryl Harness
C. Class copies of an encyclopedia article on Davy Crockett
D. Class copies of an encyclopedia article on the Pony Express

VI. Assessment/Evaluation: After reviewing the students’ essays, the teacher will assess their understanding of the lesson by how well the children incorporated their six facts into to support their conclusion.

VII. Follow-up Activities: This lesson is done under heavy teacher guidance and modeling. A follow up activity could be done that is more independent. In the week following the conclusion of the original lesson, the teacher will pose a new question to the students; “Was it possible for the Wright Brothers to drive in a car?” For this lesson, the teacher again reads a story on each topic. However, the teacher will then take the class to the library so that they can find their own research article on each topic.  The students will then be instructed to find the important facts from each of their articles and compose a paper that is similar to the last one they wrote. 

VIII. Self Assessment: The teacher will review the major concepts of the lesson in terms of the lesson assessment, the students’ ability to find important facts from the articles, the students involvement in the cooperative groups as well as the whole class activities, and the students level of interest in the activity.

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