In this third unit, students will focus on the literacy skills that scientists need to use in order to take field notes, deepen their knowledge through research, and communicate information in writing. First, students will learn how to write field notes like a scientist, by observing carefully and writing precisely about their local natural environment.
Then they will work within expert groups to conduct research on the insects found in the rainforest, taking notes from print and digital sources. The mid-unit assessment will gauge students’ mastery of note-taking skills: They will read and take notes on passages of unfamiliar informational text on a different rainforest species—the howler monkey. Students will then return to their focus on insects and will write narratives in the form of rainforest explorers’ field journal entries that incorporate their research notes on insects. This will be the unit’s final performance task.
For the on-demand end of unit assessment, students will use the notes they took during the mid-unit assessment to create an additional field journal page on the howler monkey. (As an extension, students also may create a field guide to the local environment, drawing on their observations from nature and making parallels to the information they have gathered about the rainforest.)