About Me
Ed Links
Lesson Plans
(more to come!)
Email Me
Back to
Back to


A. 4/18/11

B. 60 minutes

C. Sienna Mae Heath

D. Grade Level: Fourth Grade


II.             BIG IDEAS

1.     The earth system changes constantly as air, water, soil, and rock interact.

2.     Energy exists in many forms and can be changed from one form to another (transformed) as it moves through a system.



1.     What is the evidence that the earth’s systems change?

2.     What predictable patterns of change can be observed on and from earth?



1.     S4.A.2.1.3: Observe a natural phenomenon (e.g., weather changes, length of daylight/night, movement of shadows, animal migrations, growth of plants), record observations, and then make a prediction based on those observations.

2.     S4.A.3.2.2: Use models to make observations to explain how systems work (e.g., water cycle, Sun-Earth-Moon system).

3.     S4.A.3.2.3: Use appropriate, simple modeling tools and techniques to describe or illustrate a system (e.g., two cans and string to model a communications system, terrarium to model an ecosystem).


V.             GENERAL OBJECTIVES (Concepts)

1.     A system is made of parts, and the parts can interact.

2.     Objects in the sky have patterns of movement that can be observed.

3.     When liquid water disappears, it turns into a gas (water vapor) in the air. It can reappear as a liquid when cooled or as a solid when cooled further. Clouds and fog are made up of tiny water droplets or ice crystals. When such droplets or crystals get large enough, they fall as precipitation.

4.     Water from precipitation can seep into the ground, run off, or evaporate.

5.     Weather variables such as temperature, barometric pressure, wind direction and speed, cloud type, cloud cover, and precipitation can be observed measured and recorded to identify patterns. Basic weather conditions change in predictable patterns.


VI.           BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES (Competencies)

1.     Construct and use models to explain natural phenomena and make predictions and conduct investigations.

2.     Communicate through speaking, writing, or drawing predictions, observations, and conclusions.




1.     Cloud Finder activity (attached).

2.     Handout of directions and ideas for Cloud Finder activity (attached).

3.     Powerpoint and Videos (attached to email, taken from Ms. JoAnne Daniels at Moravian Academy).

4.     Additional handout (attached, created by me).



1.     Describe

2.     Analyze

3.     Summarize

4.     Create

5.     Apply



1.     Introduction

a.     Students will be provided with a PowerPoint, which summarizes and describes the concept of the water cycle and how it relates to their lives on Earth. They will also listen and watch YouTube videos of catchy songs that describe the water cycle.

2.     Motivation

a.     Students will be told to split up into their lab groups, applying their new knowledge to their previously known knowledge on the subject. They will discuss how they think the water cycle is present every day. Then they will share their conclusions with the class briefly.

3.     Development

a.     As students sit with their lab groups, they will individually create a “Cloud Finder,” which aids in their understanding of the different types of clouds and the weather they create.

b.     Students will be asked to summarize and memorize the information on the Cloud Finder and to reiterate it to the class before the next part of the lesson.

c.     After creating this hands-on learning tool, they will be taken outside to observe the current weather, analyzing the clouds, temperature, and other weather conditions.

d.     Students will record their findings on my handout, which is attached.

4.     Strategies for Diverse Learners

a.     Teams (pairs) will be formed with a high-level academic student and a less-high-level academic student in order to balance their creative processes and discussion. Therefore the higher-level academically functioning student will help the lower-level functioning student to express him or herself verbally and creatively.

5.     Summary and Closure

a.     Each lab group will compare results with the other lab groups in order to analyze if their descriptions of the clouds and weather were accurate, and in order to measure if the in-class lesson was effective for all students.

6.     Assignment

a.     Students, individually, will write a brief essay, summarizing their conclusions and their opinions of the experience of the lesson as a whole in addition to how the lesson will impact their everyday lives on Earth.

b.     Students, individually, will also record and analyze the weather with the different clouds they observe for a week. They will compare and contrast their findings with their lab partners, making a case for the accuracy of their conclusions.


X.            ASSESSMENT

1.     Formative

a.     The teacher will examine and evaluate the presentations, rating their verbal presentation skills, their accuracy in the conception of their conclusions, and their expression through the brief writing of an essay.

2.     Summative

a.     None


XI.          Reflection and Self-evaluation




W: How will you help your students to know where they are headed, why they are going there and what ways they will be evaluated along the way?


I will discuss the main topics of the lesson, which include the water cycle, its clouds and the weather it creates. Before they engage in their activity within their teams, I will inspire them to engage in a discussion of why these topics are relevant to their everyday lives. I will clarify that they will be graded on attentiveness and accuracy.


H: How will you hook and hold students’ interest and enthusiasm through thought-provoking experiences at the beginning of each instructional episode?


Students’ interest will be maintained as I remind them that the topics being discussed are relevant to their everyday lives. I will also ensure them that discussing them with their peers with help them be more aware of their surroundings. The YouTube videos will also make the lesson educationally fun and memorable.


E: What experiences will you provide to help students make their understandings real and equip all learners for success throughout your course or unit?


In order to make the students’ understandings real, I will provide them with materials, which they will use for analyzing their out-of-class experiments and keep for further reference.


R: How will you cause students to reflect, revisit, revise, and rethink?              


The assignment, the brief essay summarizing their opinions of the lesson, will allow them to reflect on the discussion with their peers, revisit their conclusions and how they may have changed, revise their discoveries if necessary, and rethink through taking into account their peers’ conclusions and how they may have changed their own.


E: How will students express their understandings and engage in meaningful self-evaluation?


Students will express their understandings through the discussion in pairs and as a whole class, and they will engage in meaningful evaluation through the post-lesson assignment. Due to the feedback from their partner and from the class, they will learn how to not only express their understandings of the topics at hand but also learn how to revise their conclusions with input from others, engaging in meaningful evaluation.


T: How will you tailor (differentiate) your instruction to address the unique strengths and needs of ever learner?


Some students are better at verbal expression, while others are better at the written word for expression their opinions and thoughts. Therefore, I will allow both means of expression so that most if not all students will have the opportunity to express themselves the best they can. The students who excel at verbal expression can have more opportunity to present their conclusions to the class, while the students who are better at the written word can express their findings only through their essay instead.


O: How will you organize learning experiences so that students move from teacher-guided and concrete activities to independent applications that emphasize growing conceptual understandings as opposed to superficial coverage?


The combination of discussion, creativity, and individual out-of-class learning with aid in the students’ understanding that this is not just a teacher-guided activity, but also an activity that the students have control over, as both their knowledge and their opinions matter. This emphasis on the students’ control over the lesson aids in their conceptual understanding and appreciation of the topics discussed.



Anderson/Krathwohl Taxonomy: In this lesson, students are analyzing the water cycle, weather, clouds, and their general surroundings, as they create the “Cloud Finder” and summarize their conclusions on its information for a week. They are also applying their knowledge of these topics through creative, hands-on learning and discussion.




Name(s): _______________________________




Date: ______________________



Record the types of clouds you see in the sky and the weather conditions that correspond with them for a week. Compare your conclusions with those in your “Cloud Finder.”





Compare to “CF”