In this module, students engage in reading, writing, listening, and speaking to build knowledge of simple machines and how they impact force, effort, and work. Students begin by reading some basic informational text. They then read out loud and perform a short Readers Theater (written for classroom use) about simple machines in order to continue building background knowledge about simple machines while also learning the structural elements of drama and practicing reading fluently.
In Unit 2, students examine an extended science text, Simple Machines: Forces in Action (870L), which gives them a chance to examine the structure and text features, as well as analyze concepts in scientific writing. Several sections of this science text will be structured as close reading experiences. Students also will write routinely to explain how various simple machines work. They then will develop deeper expertise by working in small groups to read more about specific simple machines (inclined plane, levers, pulleys, etc.) as well as reading and conducting a series of science experiments using simple machines. They will synthesize their findings from the experiments by writing scientific conclusion statements. To appreciate just how prevalent simple machines are in daily life, students will conduct a simple machine “inventory” at home and school.
In Unit 3, students will continue to learn about simple machines, and will write an opinion about simple machines in an editorial to be submitted to a fictitious engineering magazine. They will explain what simple machines are and then form an opinion about which simple machine benefits people the most in their everyday lives. This performance task centers on ELA CCLS RI.4.1, RI.4.3, W.4.1, W.4.4, W.4.5, W.4.7, W.4.9, and L.4.3.