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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


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  • Published Comments

Erin Brack

August 30, 2016

You can also use the orange for a density lesson - ask the students if they predict the orange will float or sink when placed in a tub of water. Hint: It will float with the peel intact much like wearing a life jacket. Demonstrate and place the orange in water and make observations. Discuss why it floats. Weigh the orange etc. Then ask what they predict will happen if you peel the orange. Demonstrate. Ask why it sinks, what the difference is between the two oranges. Calculate Density mass/volume. It makes great discussion about the peel, the orange and density.


Rebecca Manery

November 18, 2015

@Michael Crain: I love the addition of "dissecting" the orange skin and viewing it under the microscope.
I hope the majority of your students found oranges were the better food choice! My students often found ways of adding pictures of themselves as aliens to their orange drawings--the opportunity to roleplay seems to be a big part of the appeal of this assignment!


Michael Crain

October 20, 2014

I have actually expanded this to include having the students "dissect" the orange and the orange skin and then make observations under the microscope. By doing this the students are given additional practice making observations and also furthers their familiarity with a microscope.

To end the project I have asked the students to create a final report on if it is better to "eat the humans" or to start to consume the newly found "oranges".



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