Water cycle word study
Students will look at the written similarities in the words used to describe the water cycle (ex., evaporation, transpiration, precipitation, accumulation, condensation), focusing on suffixes and prefixes as a way to gain understanding of those terms. Students will group words by meaning and label a blank water cycle chart based on the categories for the groupings they create. This lesson is designed in conjunction with “More than just a rainy day—the water cycle.”
A lesson plan for grade 5 English Language Arts, English Language Development, and Science
- Identify suffixes and prefixes of each word.
- Gain knowledge of the meaning of suffixes and prefixes in order to help understanding the meaning of words.
- Classify words with similar meanings, accessing prior knowledge and combining it with newly-introduced vocabulary.
Time required for lesson
- labeled water cycle chart
- blank water cycle chart
- Blank paper and pencils for students (at least four sheets of paper—one sheet for each group; more than one sheet per group may be necessary if the teacher chooses to appoint a more than one scribe for groups in which the novice LEP student is unable to serve as the scribe).
- water cycle word study vocabulary list
- water cycle vocabulary flashcard labels (print these labels and stick them on index cards to produce flashcards for word study or print on card stock and cut apart for flashcards; attached at the end of this document)
- Print two sets of these flashcards: one for use by the teacher during the Pre-activities portion of the lesson, and the other for use by students during the Activities portion of this lesson.
- The teacher will need to divide the water cycle word study vocabulary flashcards carefully into four piles, making sure that all the words for one category that the students will asked to sort the words by (for example: “bodies of water”) are not all included in one pile of cards (for example, for the category of “bodies of water,” one group of students does not receive all of the following words from the water cycle word study vocabulary sheet, such as “pond”, “ocean”, “river”, “lake”).
Stations for assisting with sorting words by meaning:
- several non-fiction texts from school media center on the water cycle
- bookmarked websites for water cycle information
- encyclopedias and dictionaries
- classroom science textbooks (can be multiple grade levels as long as water cycle information is included)
- Access to computer with internet access—needed to print the labeled water cycle chart and the blank water cycle chart that will be referred to in the lesson.
The teacher will introduce/reinforce the concepts of suffix and prefix in preparation for the word sort activity in the corresponding part of the lesson.
- Write the word “pattern” on the board. Ask students what a pattern is, and write down, or allow students to come to the board and write down, examples of patterns that students give.
- After reviewing several examples of patterns with students, use the Word Detective Investigation Sheet to help students begin identifying patterns in words (for example, patterns that students generate may be nonverbal, using colors or shapes to explain this concept).
- The teacher will explain to the students that they will play a game in which, as word detectives, they will discover the pattern that the words he or she writes have in common. This game is fun, fast, and easy.
- Word Detective Game Explanation:
- In the column with the smiley face, the teacher will list one word with a specific suffix (for example, -tion for the -tion suffix pattern that the teacher wants the students to discover in the water cycle words being studied, such as “evaporation” and “transpiration”). On the frowny face side, the teacher will list a word that does not follow the suffix pattern that he or she is trying to get the students to discover (for example, if the word “evaporation” is listed on the smiley face side, then the teacher may list a word such as “school” which does not have the -tion suffix, and therefore does not follow the suffix pattern that students are seeking to discover). Do this step twice, giving students two complete words pairs, two each on the smiley face side, and two each on the frowny face side, so that they may begin to discover the pattern and respond to and complete a third example independently.
- The teacher returns to the smiley face side and chooses another word at random with a -tion suffix.
- The teacher asks the class if they can see the pattern (the -tion suffix pattern on the words in the smiley face column), and, if they do see the pattern, not to tell what it is, but to give an example to add to the list. If the word the student offers is correct, the teacher writes it under the smiley face side. If the word is incorrect because it does not match the -tion suffix pattern, (for example, television, an -sion suffix word), then the teacher writes this word under the frowny column.
- The Word Detective Investigation Sheet—Sample gives an example of how this would look when completed.
- After several more examples of the words that do and do not fit the desired -tion suffix pattern, the teacher stops the game and asks the students to state what the pattern the words in the column have in common. He or she explains, or has students explain, why the words in the smiley face column follow the same pattern and why words in the frowny face column do not follow the pattern.
- The teacher then circles all the -tion suffixes on all the words in the smiley face column, asking students after he or she finishes if they know what the -tion word part is called.
- The teacher explains to students that many words that we use every day are made up of smaller word parts. When the word part such as the -tion pattern that they discovered comes at the end of a word, then that word part is called a suffix.
- In this part of the lesson, students will continue to sort the water cycle word study vocabulary words, but instead of looking for patterns in prefixes and suffixes, they will be sorting the words for meaning. Accessing prior knowledge of or building knowledge of prefixes and suffixes will help them to sort the words for meaning. Students will use four resource material stations to help them sort words for meaning.
- The teacher should plan grouping for students teams prior to the lesson. Suggested groupings are: mixed abilities (low, high, and average) and novice LEP students paired with a patient, helpful student; it is not necessary to pair LEP students who speak the same language or with advanced students, but with students with whom they will feel comfortable and who are interested in helping the novice LEP student.
- The teacher will need to divide the water cycle word study vocabulary flashcards carefully into four piles prior to the lesson, making sure that all the words for one category that the students will be asked to sort the words by (ex., “bodies of water”) are not all included in one pile of cards (ex., for the category of “bodies of water,” one group of students does not receive all of the following words from the Water Cycle Word Study vocabulary sheet, such as “pond,” “ocean,” “river,” “lake”).
- Teacher divides the students into four groups and gives each group a one pile of the water cycle word study vocabulary flashcards (approximately ten cards of the forty-two words on the water cycle word study vocabulary flashcard list).
- Next, the teacher will refer to the labeled water cycle chart, stating to students that this is a representation of the water cycle and asking students to describe what they see on the labeled chart. Examples:
- The teacher directs students’ attention to the arrows included on the chart, asking students to make observations and describe the movement indicated by the arrows (specifically, movement up and movement down).
- The teacher draws four columns on the board and labels them each with a category by which the students will sort the flashcards that they have been given, connecting the categories to what students were asked to observe about the labeled water cycle chart. The four categories are:
- Bodies of Water
- Words for Moving Up
- Words for Moving Down
- Unknown Words
- One student from each group is appointed as the group’s scribe. The teacher may consider asking novice LEP students to perform this function based on their abilities to appropriately space letters and words, copy accurately, and produce neat, legible work. The scribe recreates these four categories on a blank sheet of paper divided into four columns.
- Students will be given five minutes to sort the words into each of the four categories with no resource materials and only their prior knowledge available. The scribe will record which words the group decides to place in each category. The teacher moves around the room and monitors each group, noting what words students have correctly placed in each of the categories. The teacher should pay particular attention to words that students place in the “Unknown Words” category.
- After five minutes have passed, the teacher directs the students to the resource materials stations that have been set up to assist them in grouping their words by meaning in each category. Only one group of students may visit each station at a time. Each group will spend approximately five minutes in each station.
- After each group has visited all of the four stations of resource materials, the class returns to their seats. All students who did not serve as scribes take out a sheet of paper and divide it into four columns, labeling each column with one of the four categories.
- The teacher asks students to report which words they chose to include in each of the four categories, writing these words on the board as the students give their responses. All students will copy on their own papers what the teacher writes on the board. If a student gives an incorrect response (putting a vocabulary word in the wrong category), the teacher will write the word in the correct category and use the labeled water cycle chart to show students why he or she placed the vocabulary word in the chosen category. At this point, as a result of class discussion of student responses and teacher input, there should be no words included in the “Unknown Word” column. The teacher, based on student input, may choose to create a new category, perhaps “Words for Land,” which could include water cycle word study vocabulary words such as “earth,” “soil,” “dirt,” and “ground.”
- Students who served as scribes may check their work and add new words that the class gives as a whole which may not have been included in the pile of cards which their group received. Scribes will move words that they have placed in the “Unknown Words” category to one of the other categories on their papers.
- For homework, students will use their completed four column word sort category sheet to label a blank water cycle chart. Students will choose seven words from each of three categories, “Bodies of Water,” “Words that Mean Up,” and “Words that Mean Down” for a total of twenty-one words, and label the blank water cycle chart with these words. If other categories are created during group discussion, the teacher may change the number of words required per category to label the water cycle chart.
The following pieces of student work can be used as authentic assessments of student understanding of the 5th grade Science objective 2-2 and of the 5th grade English Language Arts objective 1-1:
- Participation during brainstorming exercises and group work (“Collaborative Work Skills LEP Student Communication Assessment” for LEP students and “Collaborative Work Skills Group Work Communication Skills” for non-LEP students are rubrics attached at the end of this document)
- Completed four column word sort category sheet.
- Completed and labeled water cycle sheet for homework.
The “Collaborative Work Skills LEP Student Communication Assessment” rubric can be used to assess the listening, speaking, reading, and writing objectives from the ELD SCS specifically for LEP students included in this lesson plan.
All items in this list which do not indicate a check sheet or rubric attached are to be assessed independently by the teacher using his or her own professional discretion.
- Water Cycle Word Study Vocabulary
- Water Cycle Vocabulary flashcard labels
- Word Detective Investigation Sheet
- Word Detective Investigation Sheet--Sample
- LEP rubric
The teacher uses visual support for each of the categories by which the students will sort the words, sketching representations of each category beside the word for each category. For example, beside the category “Bodies of Water,” the teacher will sketch a small river or draw waves; beside the category “Words that Mean Down,” the teacher will draw a downward pointing arrow; beside the category “Words that Mean Up,” the teacher will draw an upward pointing arrow; and beside the category “Unknown Words,” the teacher will draw question marks.
If a novice LEP student is capable of appropriate letter and word spacing, accurate copying, and neat, legible work, then the teacher may consider asking him or her to function as the scribe for the group. If the student does not have skills mastered yet, then the teacher may consider asking the novice LEP student to function as the scribe for teacher, copying the work of another group member and handing it in to the teacher as an alternate assessment once this portion of the lesson is completed.
If the student does not have the skills of appropriate letter and word spacing, accurate copying, and neat, legible work mastered yet, then the teacher may consider asking the novice LEP student to function as the scribe for teacher, copying the work of another group member and handing it in to the teacher as an alternate assessment once this portion of the lesson is completed.
The “Collaborative Work Skills LEP Student Communication Assessment” rubric can be used to assess the listening, speaking, reading, and writing objectives from the ELD SCS specifically for LEP students included in this plan.
ELD SCS Listening objectives will be assessed for LEP students using the following lesson activities:
- class brainstorming activity
- water cycle vocabulary station work with assigned group
The listening component of these activities may be assessed for LEP students using the attached “Collaborative Work Skills LEP Student Communication Assessment” rubric.
ELD SCS Speaking objectives will be assessed with the following lesson activities:
- class brainstorming activity
- water cycle vocabulary station work with assigned group.
The speaking component of this lesson may be assessed for LEP students using the “Collaborative Work Skills LEP Student Communication Assessment” rubric.
ELD SCS Reading objectives will be assessed with the “Collaborative Work Skills LEP Student Communication Assessment” rubric.
ELD SCS Writing objectives will be assessed with the “Collaborative Work Skills LEP Student Communication Assessment” rubric and as an authentic assessment by the student’s classroom teacher.
- root word
- base word
This lesson can be taught either before or after the corresponding lesson, “More Than Just a Rainy Day--the Water Cycle.” If taught first, it will give students a chance to build background knowledge through word study and become comfortable with the vocabulary used in the “More than just a rainy day—the water cycle” lesson.
If taught as the second lesson, it will allow students to gain a more in-depth understanding of the new vocabulary introduced and integrate an English language arts component into a science lesson, giving students explicit knowledge of how to decode other scientific terminology with similar prefixes and suffixes.
Depending on the previous knowledge of prefixes and suffixes that the teacher’s class has, he or she may choose to teach the “Pre-activities” portion of this lesson as a stand-alone lesson in itself, omitting the “Activities” portion of the lesson in the same class period.
The four resource materials stations that are set up for this lesson can also be used with the “More Than Just a Rainy Day—the Water Cycle” lesson which is written in correspondence with this lesson plan.
This lesson plan was developed during the English Language Development Standard Course of Study lesson planning institutes hosted by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and LEARN NC, June and July, 2004. It includes specific strategies, instructional modifications, and alternative assessments which make this lesson accessible to limited English proficient students. Please note that this lesson has been aligned with the goals and objectives of the N.C. English Language Development standards.
- Common Core State Standards
- English Language Arts (2010)
- Grade 5
- 5.L.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies. 5.L.4.1 Use context (e.g., cause/effect relationships and comparisons in text) as a...
- 5.L.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition, and other logical relationships (e.g., however, although, nevertheless, similarly, moreover, in addition).
- Grade 5
- English Language Arts (2010)
- North Carolina Essential Standards
- Science (2010)
- 5.P.2 Understand the interactions of matter and energy and the changes that occur. 5.P.2.1 Explain how the sun’s energy impacts the processes of the water cycle (including, evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation and runoff). 5.P.2.2 Compare...
- Science (2010)
North Carolina curriculum alignment
English Language Arts (2004)
- Goal 1: The learner will apply enabling strategies and skills to read and write.
- Objective 1.01: Expand and refine vocabulary through knowledge of prefixes, suffixes, roots, derivatives, and etymologies (word origins) to assist comprehension.
English Language Development (2005)
- Goal 0:
- Objective 0.01: Copy letters of the English alphabet and space letters appropriately.
- Objective 0.02: Follow simple, one-step directions with modeling and prompting.
- Objective 0.02: Demonstrate phonemic awareness and knowledge of alphabetic principle.
- Objective 0.02: Print first and last name with assistance.
- Objective 0.04: Use previously modeled strategies to connect prior knowledge and experiences to the text and make predictions.
- Objective 0.06: Check copying for accuracy.
- Goal 2: The learner will make observations and conduct investigations to build an understanding of landforms.
- Objective 2.02: Investigate and discuss the role of the water cycle and how movement of water over and through the landscape helps shape land forms.