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Home Classroom Resources Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan

I Wonder: Writing Scientific Explanations With Students

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

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Eight 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Emily Manning

Emily Manning

Denton, Texas


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • Why Do Leaves Change Colors? by Betsy Maestro (HarperTrophy, 1994)

  • I Am a Leaf by Jean Marzollo (Scholastic Cartwheel, 1998)

  • Computers with Internet access

  • Chart paper and markers

  • Art supplies

  • Sticky notes

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Fact Fragment Frenzy

Grades   1 – 6  |  Student Interactive  |  Inquiry & Analysis

Fact Fragment Frenzy

Fact Fragment Frenzy provides elementary students with an online model for finding facts in nonfiction text, then invites students to find facts in five sample passages.


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1. Throughout this project, you will want to continually immerse students in the science topic they will be writing about through experiments and hands-on investigations. Choose science experiments to use with students from the Science Explorations handout or from Science NetLinks. It may be helpful to arrange your science block back-to-back with your writing block or lengthen your writing time to include science investigations.

2. Choose one question about trees for the class to research. Sample questions about trees include:
  • Why do leaves fall off in autumn?

  • Why do leaves change colors?

  • Why do trees have different leaves?

  • How do trees make food?
You can use a different topic if you choose; the examples in this lesson are about trees. Prepare a sheet of chart paper and label as "I wonder..."

3. Obtain and familiarize yourself with Why Do Leaves Change Colors? by Betsy Maestro and I Am a Leaf by Jean Marzollo.

4. Gather an assortment of nonfiction books about trees; the Tree Booklist has some suggestions. You may also choose to have your students use the Internet to do research if you have computers in your classroom or access to a computer lab. Montshire Museum of Science: Fall Foliage, Idaho Forest: Forests Are For Kids!, and Carly's Kids Corner are some websites related to trees that you might find useful. To find appropriate websites on other topics, use a search engine like Ask Kids or visit Science NetLinks. Familiarize yourself with and bookmark any websites you will be using, and if necessary, reserve the computer lab for one 40-minute session (see Session 4, Step 3).

5. Make a copy of the Leaves! Leaves! sheet for each student in the class.

6. Create a TCF chart with three columns titled, "What we think we know," "What we have confirmed we know," and "New facts we have learned through research."

7. Prepare the Letter to Parents with the correct information and dates; make a copy for each student in the class.

8. Take the sentences from one of the Paragraph Puzzles and write them each on a sticky note (see Session 6, Step 1).

9. Familiarize yourself with the Scientific Explanation Assessment Rubric.

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