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ELA G7:M4B

Water Is Life

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This eight-week module focuses on a “science and society” topic, engaging students in reading compelling informational text about water sustainability, fresh water management, and how to make evidence-based decisions. In Unit 1, students read the article “Water Is Life” by Barbara Kingsolver as well as excerpts from The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman to build background knowledge about water sustainability and water management. Students determine main ideas and evidence in diverse media and clarify the issue of why humans need to manage water better. They also trace arguments and evaluate the soundness of reasoning and the sufficiency and relevancy of evidence in the texts and media that they engage with in this unit. In Unit 2, students participate in a robust research project in which they investigate the strategies of better agricultural and industrial water management. This research begins with students reading more excerpts from The Big Thirst to scaffold their research skills. Then students conduct internet-based research. To organize their research sources and information, students use a researcher’s notebook. Once they have finished gathering information, students analyze the impact of water management strategies.

To help students grapple with this issue, Unit 2 introduces students to a decision-making process called “Stakeholder Consequences Decision-Making” (see the end of this document for details). This process will help students understand the implications of various choices, and will scaffold their ability to determine, based on evidence and their own values, what they themselves believe can and should happen. Unit 3 marks the transition from research to writing as students plan and draft a position paper, addressing the question: “Which category of water management, agricultural or industrial, would be a good place to begin to improve our use of fresh water?”Students have several opportunities for feedback and revision during this unit. As a final performance task, students publish and share a visual representation of their position paper. This task centers on ELA standards RI.7.1, W.7.1, W.7.4, W.7.5, and L.7.6.

 

 

Week-at-a-Glance

Each module is approximately 8 weeks of instruction broken into 3 units. The "week at a glance" chart in the curriculum map gives the big picture, breaking down the module into a detailed week-by-week view. It shows how the module unfolds, the focus of each week of instruction, and where the six assessments and the performance task occur.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • How can we balance the needs of people and the environment?
  • How does human activity influence the availability of our water resources?
  • How should humans manage water resources in a way that is sustainable?
  • Human activity can affect the availability of useable, fresh water.
  • Humans use water for many things and manage water in a variety of ways.
  • Sustainable water management is important in order to ensure that the needs of people and the environment will continue to be met.
  • Making an evidence-based decision relies on research and an analysis of consequences and stakeholders. 

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards as students read informational texts about water management and sustainability. However, the module intentionally incorporates Science concepts and themes to support potential interdisciplinary connections to this compelling content.

These intentional connections are described below.

Big ideas and guiding questions are informed by the Next Generation Science Standards:

Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World
All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment.

The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes
Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land. (MS-ESS2-4)

Earth and Human Activity
Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capital consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.

Texts

Texts to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.


Cover Text Quantity ISBNs
The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water
by Charles Fishman
One per student
ISBN: 978-1439102084, 1439102082

Texts included in the module

Texts that are included in the lesson materials.

Cover Text Quantity Publisher
Charles Fishman: Corporations Need to Pay More Attention to Water
by Video
“Beyond Thirst,” in Faces (Vol. 25, Issue 7)
by Kathiann Kowalski
Faces, 2009
“The Future of Water”
by Landmark Media Inc.
“Charles Fishman: The Water Crisis Isn’t Global. It’s Local”
by The Lavin Agency
“Charles Fishman: Why College Students Should Start Paying Attention to Water”
by The Lavin Agency
"Why Care about Water?”
by National Geographic
“New York Bottled Water Ban”
by Riverkeeper
Riverkeeper, 2009
“Water Is Life,” in National Geographic (April 2010)
by Barbara Kingsolver
National Geographic, 2010

Outcomes

Reading—LiteratureLong-Term Learning Targets
  • RI.7.1. Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • I can cite several pieces of text-based evidence to support an analysis of informational text.
  • RI.7.2. Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

  • I can determine a theme or the central ideas informational text.
  • I can analyze the development of central ideas in a text.

 

  • RI.7.3. Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).
  • I can analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text.
  • RI.7.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

  • I can determine the meaning of words and phrases in text (figurative, connotative, and technical meanings).
  •  I can analyze the impact of word choice on meaning and tone in an informational text.
  • RI.7.5. Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to the development of the ideas.

  • I can analyze the organization of an informational text (including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to the development of the ideas).
  • RI.7.8. Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.

  • I can identify the argument and specific claims in a text.
  • I can evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text for sound reasoning and relevant, sufficient evidence.
  • RI.7.9. Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts.

  • I can contrast how multiple authors emphasize evidence or interpret facts differently when presenting information on the same topic.
  • RI.7.10. By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

  • I can read grade-level informational texts proficiently and independently.
  • I can read above-grade-level texts with scaffolding and support.
WritingLong-Term Learning Targets
  • W.7.1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

a.  Introduce claim(s), acknowledge alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

b.  Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
     
c.  Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), reasons, and evidence.

d.  Establish and maintain a formal style.

e.  Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

  • I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
  • W.7.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • W.7.5. With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.

  • With support from peers and adults, I can use a writing process to ensure that purpose and audience have been addressed.
  • W.7.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.

  • I can conduct short research projects to answer a question.
  • I can use several sources in my research.
  • I can generate additional questions for further research.
  • W.7.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

  • I can gather relevant information from a variety of sources.
  • I can use search terms effectively.
  • I can evaluate the credibility and accuracy of each source.
  • I can quote or paraphrase others’ work while avoiding plagiarism.
  • I can use a standard format for citation.
  • W.7.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

a.  Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims”).

  • I can select evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • W.7.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

  • I can adjust my writing practices for different timeframes, tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Speaking and ListeningLong-Term Learning Targets
  • SL.7.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

a.  Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.

e.  Seek to understand other perspectives and cultures and communicate effectively with audiences or individuals from varied backgrounds.

  • I can effectively engage in discussions with diverse partners about seventh-grade topics, texts, and issues.
  • I can express my own ideas clearly during discussions.
  •  I can build on others’ ideas during discussions.
  • SL.7.2. Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.

  • I can analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in different media and formats.
  • I can explain how ideas presented in different media and formats clarify a topic, text, or issue.
  • SL.7.3. Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

  • I can outline a speaker’s argument and specific claims.
  • I can evaluate the reasoning and evidence presented for soundness, relevance, and sufficiency.
  • SL.7.4. Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

  • I can present claims and findings with descriptions, facts, details, and examples.
  • I can use effective speaking techniques (appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation).
  • SL.7.5. Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points.

  • I can include multimedia components and visual displays in a presentation to clarify claims and to add emphasis.
  • SL.7.6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

  • I can adapt my speech for a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when indicated or appropriate.
LanguageLong-Term Learning Targets
  • L.7.4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 7 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

a.  Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

b.  Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., belligerent, bellicose, rebel).

c.  Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.

d.  Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).

  • I can use a variety of strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words or phrases.
  • L.7.6. Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

  • I can accurately use seventh-grade academic vocabulary to express my ideas.
  • I can use resources to build my vocabulary.

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