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3501 Mini Unit Plan: Lesson 1 Josh Pidkowa | Alison Armitage | Madeleine Hardy

Mini Unit Plan: Lesson 1

For our Mini Unit Plan we chose to collaborate Science with English Language Arts for Grade 6.
Our approach is mostly learner centric with some scholar academic. We have designed this
lesson 1 with a strong hook to the introduction of the unit having a crime occur in the school
(specifically in their classroom). This lesson plan is designed to take up 2 blocks (science and
English) for the class to work through.

The contextual considerations are: the teacher has been with the class long enough to know
how to divide students into well balanced groups. The students have been in the school long
enough to know a number of the teachers and who the principal is. It is during fall and close to
Halloween and there is no snow on the ground (this will come into play during our footprint
lesson plan). Our plan B if snow has arrived early is we will use store bought soil or mud to
teach the unit and likely go outside to observe footprints to deepen understanding.

Once the evidence and investigation unit is over it c ould lead into the social studies Citizens
Participating in Decision Making for a discussion of citizenship, equity and fairness etc. with a
discovery of a potential thief.

Unit overview:
Science: In the evidence and investigative unit students will investigate a variety of evidence
such as fingerprints, footprints, soil samples, handwriting and fabric. They will develop their
investigative skills using inferences and observations.

English: In English Language Arts, students will engage and further develop their reading,
writing, analyzing and viewing skills to respond in creative ways to information collected.

Unit Rationale: This unit represents a topic from the Grade 6 Science Program of Study
(Evidence and Investigation) and Grade 6 English Language Arts. It will function as an
independent unit as it is thematically consistent and the specific learner expectations of this
topic are closely related, making them easier to achieve in unison. English is integrated
inherently through the reading, listening, recording and analyzing skills the students will engage
in. English will play a larger role later on in the mini unit plan as there will be more writing and
synthesizing of ideas as the unit develops. Specifically, students will be developing note taking
skills, recording details through written means and likely, in the final lessons use creative means
(such as recording a news report, or a wanted sign) to synthesize their ideas developed by the
science curriculum to achieve the ELA outcomes.

The method used to teach this is as a hands-on and experiential unit where students are
involved in the learning process. It is our hope that the class is coded as an episodic buffer or
an event and therefore more memorable in the students mind. We use intrigue and relevance
(principal and candy) to attempt to increase motivation for the students.

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3501 | Mini-Unit Plan Josh Pidkowa | Alison Armitage | Madeleine Hardy

Essential Question: Can we know enough concrete evidence from investigation to justly a solve
a crime?

Program of Study:
Science: Topic D: Evidence and Investigation
68 Apply observation and inference skills to recognize and interpret patterns
and to distinguish a specific pattern from a group of similar patterns.
69 Apply knowledge of the properties and interactions of materials to the
investigation and identification of a material sample.
English:
o 1.1 Discover and Explore:
Engage in exploratory communication to share personal responses and
develop own interpretations
o 2.1 Use Strategies and Cues:
Evaluate Information:Identify, and explain in own words, the
interrelationship of the main ideas and supporting details
o 3.1 Evaluate Information:
Distinguish among facts supported inferences and opinions while using
note-taking or representing to assist with understanding ideas and
information, and focusing topics for investigation
Recognize gaps in gathered information, and suggest additional
information needed for a particular audience and purpose

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3501 | Mini-Unit Plan Josh Pidkowa | Alison Armitage | Madeleine Hardy

Lesson Rationale: Our Mini-Unit is primarily based around the Evidence and Investigation unit
in the Grade 6 Science Program of Study, along with elements from the English Language Arts
Program of Study integrated into it. Due to the nature of the Evidence and Investigation unit we
decided to focus our first lesson on developing observation skills and understanding the nature
of drawing inferences. This seemed like a logical place to begin developing student
understanding of the unit, as these skills are necessary to develop the other specific learning
expectations of this unit. We chose to frame the entire Mini-Unit as a real investigation that
the students must undertake in order to track down a culprit at the school who has committed
a crime to better hook the students. This approach will be highly engaging to the students of
the class and allow them to develop their investigation skills in a practical, rather than simply
theoretical, setting.

Lesson Lesson #1: Mini Unit Plan - Course English Language Arts &
Title/Focus Introduction to the Evidence and Science
Investigation Science Unit

COURSE OUTCOMES
Apply observation and inference skills to recognize and interpret patterns and to distinguish a
specific pattern from a group of similar patterns (Grade 6 science: GLO 6-8)
Recognize that evidence found at the scene of an activity may have unique characteristics that
allow an investigator to make inferences about the participants and the nature of the activity, and
give examples of how specific evidence may be used (Grade 6 science: SLE #3)
Investigate evidence and link it to a possible source (Grade 6 science: SLE #4)
Engage in exploratory communication to share personal responses and develop own
interpretations (Grade 6 language arts: GLO #1.1)
Identify, and explain in own words, the interrelationship of the main ideas and supporting details
(Grade 6 language arts: GLO #2.1)
Distinguish among facts supported inferences and opinions while using note-taking or
representing to assist with understanding ideas and information, and focusing topics for
investigation. (Grade 6 language arts: GLO #3.1)

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
At the end of the lesson students will be able to:
1. Define key introductory terms (hypothesis, evidence, clues, inference) from evidence
and investigation science unit (remembering)
2. Investigate and record observations made about found evidence (applying)
3. Infer through observation of evidence to identify a possible source (analyzing)
4. Infer what the objects may be used for (based on observations) (analyzing)
5. Practice proper note taking (applying)

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3501 | Mini-Unit Plan Josh Pidkowa | Alison Armitage | Madeleine Hardy

MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT


Mini notebooks that each student can use to collect evidence
Principle statement aka the Mini Mystery (One for the teacher to read allowed)
Station numbers with evidence artifacts: Set of school keys, red pen, eyelash curler,
emery board, travel coffee cup
Whiteboard and markers
Exit slips
Vocabulary worksheet
Magnifying glasses (5)

PREPARATION AND LOGISTICAL CONSIDERATIONS


Students should already have a base knowledge of vocabulary such as hypothesis and
prediction
Plan groups ahead of time based on a variety of skill level (25 students broken into
groups of 5 students)1
Communicate to teachers and principal ahead of time that this is what the class will be
doing. Check for consent and inform them they might encounter some additional
questions during non-science classes. Inform the teacher that is the actual thief. Ask
all to play along.
Set up the stations with each of the found objects. Have them to the side so that the
students dont touch them when they walk in. Have a magnifying glass with each object.

PROCEDURE
Introduction Time

This lesson is designed for an 1 hour class as it combines Language Arts


and Science periods together. It operates from a learner centered ideology 10 mins
with lots of hands-on experiential learning.
Welcome the class - display some concern and worry
Start the class on a serious note, explain to them that the principal
has just told you that something has been stolen from the school.
Read the principals statement to the class (this is your hook and
first introduction to the evidence and investigations unit in science)
Explain that the principal has asked for this class to solve this
mystery. Ask them: How are we going to solve this? How can we
figure this out?

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Having students in groups of 5 allows them all to cycle through each piece of evidence. If groups are not
working well together (or if there are individuals that are constantly left out) we suggest introducing
rotating roles in the group such as: question asker, timekeeper, note recorder, idea spy etc.
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3501 | Mini-Unit Plan Josh Pidkowa | Alison Armitage | Madeleine Hardy

Body Time

Assess previous 1) Let problem lead into prior knowledge assessment. 15 min
knowledge Ask the students: How can we solve this problem?
What do we think might have happened? What do we
call that? What do we need to know?
2) Write key words on the board (hypothesis, evidence,
clues, observations, inferences, suspects etc.)
3) What do these words mean?

Introduce Reveal to students that the thief left behind 5 objects - 2-3 mins
objects left they need to use these objects to infer who the thief might
behind stations be (the correct answer will be a female teacher at their
school - this will be discussed later).

Introduce the stations and each piece of evidence at each


station. In your introduction, hold up the item and use
some descriptive words to describe it (but dont tell them
what it is!) Divide the students into their group's (previous
groups made already). Have them gather at different
corners and one group in the centre of the room. Explain
that theyll have 5 minutes at each station and theyll
rotate clockwise with the front left corner rotating into the
centre station. Keep a timer on your phone, give students a
1 minute left warning for each rotation. Flick the lights to
indicate its time to move on.

Provide the students with stems for inferring (ex. We


think. because.) and have the students write an
inference for each object.

Stations of 1) Set of school keys 5 mins / station


objects left 2) Red Pen (25 mins total)
behind from the 3) Eyelash curler
thief 4) Emery board
5) Travel Coffee Cup

At each station the students will have time to examine the


objects, record observations (be sure to thoroughly explain
observation, what information do you obtain through your
senses? What do you see? What do you feel? etc.) and make
inferences about them. For some of these objects (the
emery board and the eyelash curler) the students will have

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3501 | Mini-Unit Plan Josh Pidkowa | Alison Armitage | Madeleine Hardy

to first determine what they are before then inferring who


might be carrying them and why. These will be the most
challenging items.

Depending on the skill level of the class you could


introduce a 6th item that you do as an example together
as a whole class.

For the other objects it will be more straightforward, and


the students will have to infer who might be carrying each
object, why, and what we can deduce by looking at the
group of objects as a whole. The students should record
their thoughts and have at least 1 inference per item.
(Who could have left this item behind?) Groups should
work together to complete their observations but record
their answers in their own notebooks individually.

Ex:

Walk around and observe the conversations happening.


Listen for proper term usage, observe proper note taking
in notebooks and ask probing questions if needed. ( What
are some unique features of this object? Whats important

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3501 | Mini-Unit Plan Josh Pidkowa | Alison Armitage | Madeleine Hardy

about that? (ex. Red pen) Do you think this relates to that?
(ex. Between two objects)) Encourage the class to sketch
objects in their notebooks.

Discussion and 1) Go through all 5 objects as a class and discuss the 25 min
review inferences the students came up with. Keep a list on
the board of the inferences for each item. This will
serve as a formative assessment of how the lesson
has gone and further develop student learning of the
subject. Ensure students state their reasoning for
their inferences. Check for commonalities between
groups and probe for reasoning (ex. Did anyone else
think that? Why?)

2) After all of the items have been examined look at the


suite of items as a whole and prompt the students to
look at the commonalities: What ideas were repeated
over multiple objects? Is there a common thread
amongst all of them? What can we infer from this
common thread? Correct any major errors in
reasoning and guide the students to the intended
answer. (A female teacher at the school committed
the theft, and we can infer this due to the nature of the
items left behind)

Conclusion Time

Bring the class back to their seats and get them to put away their investigative 10 mins
notebooks and pull out their science books.
Hand out a worksheet with the definitions and blank words. This is an
assisted note taking exercise. (If students need differentiation, hand out a
teachers copy of the worksheet and get them to draw a little symbol next
to each definition. Alternatively (depending on students needs) you could
use a cloze passage).
Review what terms we learned (or reviewed) today and how they
were used (hypothesis, inference, evidence, suspect) and read them
aloud. As reading them, get students to write down and match the
proper words to the definitions on their sheet.

Hand out exit slips to the class, ask students to put their name at the top and
answer this question (write it on the board): Explain how you developed your
inferences about the 5 objects you encountered today. Collect these at the end

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3501 | Mini-Unit Plan Josh Pidkowa | Alison Armitage | Madeleine Hardy

of class and use these as formative assessment to check for individual


understanding.

Assessment
Observe the students during the inferences activities, listen for proper vocabulary use.
(learning objective #1)
Observe students recording observations in their notebooks about evidence. (learning
objective #2 & #5)
Post-activity, check for accurate and appropriate inferences and observations made about
the found evidence through asking groups to share their observations and inferences about
objects (and who might use these items). (learning objective #3 & #4 & #5)
Post-activity, check the exit slips for understanding of the material covered today. Clear up
any misunderstandings at the beginning of the next lesson. (learning objective #3 & #4)

Additional Notes:
Handback the exit slips at the beginning of next class to ensure corrective feedback

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3501 | Mini-Unit Plan Josh Pidkowa | Alison Armitage | Madeleine Hardy

Vocabulary: Evidence & Investigation Unit, Grade 6 Science (Master)

Evidence: Anything useful to a judge or jury in deciding the facts of a case. Evidence may
take the form of witness testimony, written documents, videotapes, media,
photographs, fingerprints, tire tracks, DNA, etc.

Observation: Information obtained through the senses.

Inference: A conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning.

Suspects: People who appear to have a motive to have committed the crime.

Hypothesis: A proposition or supposition made from known facts as the basis for an

investigation.

Prediction: A foretelling of what might be expected.

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3501 | Mini-Unit Plan Josh Pidkowa | Alison Armitage | Madeleine Hardy

Vocabulary: Evidence & Investigation Unit, Grade 6 Science (student worksheet)

_________ Anything useful to a judge or jury in deciding the facts of a case. Evidence may
take the form of witness testimony, written documents, videotapes, media,
photographs, fingerprints, tire tracks, DNA, etc.

_________ Information obtained through the senses.

_________ A conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning.

_________ People who appear to have a motive to have committed the crime.

_________ A proposition or supposition made from known facts as the basis for an

investigation.

_________ A foretelling of what might be expected.

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3501 | Mini-Unit Plan Josh Pidkowa | Alison Armitage | Madeleine Hardy


Principal Pocus October 17, 2017
6455 Macleod Trail S
Calgary, AB
T2H 0K8

Dear Ms. Hardys Grade 6 class,

I need your help. Ms. Hardys Halloween candy went missing this morning and we need to start an
investigation to see where it has gone. I know your class is starting an Evidence and Investigation unit
and I thought you could help me find the culprit.

What we know is the following:

Ms. Hardy came in, unlocked her classroom and sat at her desk at 7:30AM. She pulled out the box of
50-piece Halloween candy from her bag and placed it in the bottom left drawer of her desk. She then
left her classroom closing the door and locking it to make her way to the staff room.

At 8:00AM Ms. Hardy came back to her classroom. When she went to open the door she found a set of
staff keys still in the knob and the door open ajar. She also noticed a few things were out of place but
most importantly the bottom left drawer of her desk was open and the candy was missing.

After Ms. Hardy came and discussed with me the missing candy I asked what was out of place and she
replied: A red pen was located at the entrance to the classroom on the floor by the garbage. Located on
Ms. Hardys desk was an unknown travel mug of coffee. Ms. Hardy also found two items that we were
unsure of and would like you to analyze.

If you could help me investigate using the evidence and find the culprit that stole the candy but more
importantly the missing candy itself I would be forever grateful.

Thank you and good luck,

Principal Pocus

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