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HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Cosmic Oranges: Observation and Inquiry Through Descriptive Writing and Art

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

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

Rebecca Manery

Chicago, Illinois


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • Scale (scientific or kitchen) [optional]

  • Measuring tape (or string and rulers) [optional]

  • Magnifying glasses [optional]

  • Oranges by John McPhee (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1967) [optional]

  • "Perfection" by William Carlos Williams [reprinted in In the Palm of Your Hand by Steve Kowit (Tilbury House, 1995)] [optional]

  • 10 to 15 oranges

  • Folders (1 for every 3 to 4 students)

  • Unlined paper

  • Chart paper or overhead transparencies

  • Paper towels

  • Computers with Internet capability

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It is strongly recommended that you complete each of the assignments first, including the observation, writing, drawing, and online research. By doing this, you can provide models, make modifications based on the age and abilities of your students, increase or decrease time allotments, and find solutions to possible glitches.

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