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Lesson Plan

Cosmic Oranges: Observation and Inquiry Through Descriptive Writing and Art

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Rebecca Manery

Chicago, Illinois


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



This lesson employs scientific observation, descriptive writing, sketching, reading, investigation, and poetry writing to train students to use their senses and focus their attention. The lesson is designed to enhance cognitive skills used in nearly every discipline and can serve as a prelude to an inquiry project, scientific investigation, art project, or descriptive writing assignment. When students truly learn to see, they are on the path to becoming more engaged, curious, reflective thinkers.

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Short, K., Kauffman, G., & Kahn, L. (2000, October). "I just need to draw": Responding to literature across multiple sign systems. The Reading Teacher, 54, 160171.

  • By constructing meaning in a variety of ways, including drawing, scientific observation, and poetry writing, students can form more complex understandings of the subject under study.

  • "By engaging in transmediation across sign systems . . . [children are] encouraged to think and reflect creatively and to position themselves as meaning makers and inquirers" (Short, Kauffman, & Kahn, 2000).

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