“The student will investigate and understand how the Earth’s surface is constantly changing. Key concepts include, a) identification of rock types…”
The above is a 5th grade Standard of Learning (SOL 5.7) as written for the state of Virginia, under the category Earth Patterns, Cycles and Change, and is the one I chose for my next science unit. I selected this standard for a number of reasons. First of all, rocks are something that most students are already familiar with, at least to some degree. Secondly they are readily available, and finally they have obvious visual and physical characteristics. These three factors should make writing this lesson relatively straightforward, or so I would have thought!
If you look at the resources available for teaching rock identification, the first thing you notice is that the words metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary figure prominently. Should I teach these words? Are they necessary for the student to gain an understanding of rock types? How about the concepts of magma and plate tectonics? Teaching about rock types has suddenly become a lot more difficult!
Anyone who has tried to adapt the general education science curriculum to meet the needs of students with significant cognitive disabilities knows what I’m talking about, and it is the reason why the same tired content is often taught over and over again. Students with significant disabilities have been exposed to the life cycle of the butterfly and frog countless times. They have charted the weather, observed which objects sink and which ones float, and they have experimented with magnets to see if a pencil or a paperclip is attracted to it.
My goal with enable2learn is to provide you and your students with unique and meaningful science units, structured in a way that makes unfamiliar concepts accessible to all your students.
So stay tune, Let’s Learn About Rocks! will be available to members mid-June and will include a book, lesson plan, visuals and an assessment. Please sign up for my newsletter to get updates on when new material is uploaded.