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Decimals, Epidemics & Fly Vomit – It’s science!

📖Standards

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.NBT.B.7 Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.MD.A.1 Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.6 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.

Lesson

1. Play a game

Play AzTech: Empiric Empire to learn basic conversions from fractions to decimals. Empiric Empire is available free for iPad or iPhone and for Android phones. As an added bonus, students will also learn about epidemics. It’s worth mentioning that the smallpox epidemic was spread by viruses but a lot of other diseases are spread by flies.

Note: For summer learning, you may want to just copy the paragraph above into your Google classroom for students to download the games to their phones.

2. Watch a video

I pasted in a link starting after the first minute because that is mostly telling you to like/ subscribe and comment. Ah, YouTube!

Bell Ringer – What if flies went extinct ?  This 7:33  minute video discusses flies as agricultural pests and disease vectors, but also their benefits as scavengers eating up decaying carcasses, pollinators and animal feed.

Here is the link if you’d like to post in your Google classroom or other CMS for students to watch at home. https://youtu.be/80Iqp6bqc-0?t=76

3. Read about flies

Recommended reading: Eat like a house fly. Houseflies and barf

What really happens when a house fly lands on your food? Print out this page from Science World – Canada , include the link in your Google classroom or other CMS for students to read, or just read the page to students during class. The experiment requires vinegar, jello and a turkey baster – things many people have around the house or can pick up easily at a local store. It also includes a list of vocabulary words and definitions, which fits perfectly with our philosophy of direct teaching of academic language.

4. Complete word journal

This lesson provides the opportunity for students to learn many words, in the reading, in the videos and possibly in the Empiric Empire game as well. Students add words or terms with which they are unfamiliar to their word journal. Some teachers call it a personal dictionary, to others it’s a word journal. Regardless, the goal is the same, for students to record new words, give a dictionary definition and “make the word their own”. This can be done by rewriting the definition in their own words, using the word in a sentence or including an illustration of the word.

Two dictionary sites to recommend for definitions are below. An added bonus to mention to students is that they can hear words pronounced.

Since students often ask for an example, here is an example you can link in your lesson

The personal dictionary assignment, with all links, can be found here. Feel free to copy and paste into your Google classroom or other site, or print out for your class.

5. Presentation on Decimals in Science (Fly Experiment)

Give this presentation on using decimals to weigh flies, their containers and the food they eat to answer the question, “Do flies really eat 10 times their weight each day?”

Watch a second video

I recommend watching the first 5 1/2 minutes of the Facts About Flies – Secret Nature video  to give the students some idea about both flies as vectors of disease but also important scavengers consuming decaying material. The full documentary is 49 minutes, which I personally found to be more about flies than I wanted to know.

Assessment

Three types of assessment are included in this lesson.

  1. The Word Journal assignment is completed individually and submitted.
  2. Math questions answered within the Empiric Empire game are scored automatically with immediate feedback and student results can be viewed in the teacher reports.
  3. Math questions posed within the presentation can be answered as a whole class, having students hold up a card with their answer or with individual students responding and asking the rest of the class to agree or disagree.


Differentiated instruction

Review of Decimal Addition

One-minute step-by-step video from TeacherTube on Adding Decimals may be helpful for students who need a review of decimal addition.

Watch the whole video

For students who are extremely interested in insects, watching the entire 49 minute video of Facts about Flies will satisfy their curiosity

Experiments with fly larva

For teachers who want to do a deep dive into the role flies in consuming food waste, the experiment above uses 100 black soldier fly larvae. I am extremely impressed with this lesson because not only does it include a link to where to buy maggots (on Amazon, of course) but also answers the obvious question of what do you do with 100 fly larvae after your experiment is over. The answer is that you feed these to your class reptile. Would I bring 100 maggots into my classroom? Not in a million years, but that is why I am not an entomologist.

You DO have a class snake, don’t you?

Science, language arts and math with wildflowers

📖 STANDARDS

English/ Language Arts

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.7 Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.

Next Generation Science Standard

MS-LS2-1 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

Mathematics Standard

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.3 Recognize that a measure of center for a numerical data set summarizes all of its values with a single number.

📲 Technology required

Optionally, the teacher will have access to a printer to print pages 2-3 of the book and selected pages to color. Since choke cherry and Simpson’s Ball Cactus are mentioned in the problems, it is recommended that, at a minimum, these pages should be printed. Alternatively, the link can be shared to students who are learning from home to read material on their computer.

📃 Summary

This is a true STREAM lesson. Combining science, reading, art and mathematics. Students read a description of the pine forest ecosystem and life zones. They define any new words in their personal dictionary. Students then use information on plant life to identify life zones and locate these zones in terms of altitude. Students who complete the activity before the allotted class time play a game that teaches fractions and basic statistics.

Time Required

50 minutes

📚 Lesson Plan

Read pages two and three of Wildflowers of Ponderosa Pine Forests Coloring Book – These pages explain the pine forest ecosystem, including an illustration of Life Zones.

Complete word journal

Some teachers call it a personal dictionary, to others it’s a word journal. Regardless, the goal is the same, for students to record new words, give a dictionary definition and “make the word their own”. This can be done by rewriting the definition in their own words, using the word in a sentence or including an illustration of the word.

Two dictionary sites to recommend for definitions are below. An added bonus to mention to students is that they can hear words pronounced.

Since students often ask for an example, here is an example you can link in your lesson.

The personal dictionary assignment, with all links, can be found here. Feel free to copy and paste into your Google classroom or other site, or print out for your class.

Use Life Zones to Solve Problems

Angie and Sam are on their way to Michigan but they have gotten so, so lost! They are somewhere in Colorado. Sam has sent Angie this text:

Hey, Angie! I can’t see you anywhere. All I can see are trees, a whole lot of trees, and if I look up the mountain, I see even more trees, closer together. I recognize this plant with red berries. Grandma called it choke cherry. Where are you? How can I meet you? Should I go up or down?

Angie texts him back,

There aren’t that many trees around me, but there are some of these round cactus plants. We are definitely not in Michigan!

Use the information on life zones to answer these questions. (Hint: You may have to look on the plant pages as well.)

  1. In which of the five life zones is Sam right now? How do you know?
  2. In which of the five life zones is Angie right now? How do you know?
  3. Should Sam go up the mountain or down the mountain to meet up with Angie? Why?

Click here for the life zone assignment as a Google doc.

BONUS 1: Game Play

You might recognize Sam and Angie from the game, Forgotten Trail, where they try to retrace their ancestors’ journey across the U.S. and Canada. If you finish this assignment and your personal dictionary before class time is over, play Forgotten Trail here.

BONUS 2: Art

As an alternate bonus activity, students may color the pictures in the book according to the legend included. This would require that the teacher print pages for students. Since choke cherry and Simpson’s Ball Cactus are mentioned in the problems, it is recommended that, at a minimum, these pages should be printed.

Assessment

Recommended rubric for the Personal Dictionary is as follows:

This assignment is worth 100 points. A minimum of ten words is required. You can include up to two extra  words for an additional 20 points.

Each word is worth 10 points.

  • Dictionary definition – 3 points
  • Definition in your own words – 5 points
  • Use in a sentence or draw a picture – 2 points

Recommended rubric for Life Zone Questions

Each question is worth 25 points.

Sam is in the Montane zone (5 points). We know this because he sees a lot of trees and the Montane zone is a forested area. He said that there are even more trees up ahead so we know he is not in the subalpine area because above that are no trees (10 points). He also saw choke cherry plants and these are at elevation from 7,000 – 9,000 feet. The Montane zone starts at 8,000 feet. (10 points)

Angie is in the Foothills (5 points). We know this because she says there are not many trees (10 points) and she sees the Simpson’s Ball Cactus which is common in the Foothills (10 points).

Sam should go down the mountain to meet Angie (5 points) because Sam is in the Montane zone, which is at 8,000 to 10,000 feet (10 points) and she is in the Foothills which is at (6,000 to 8,000 feet) so he needs to go down in altitude to meet her (10 points).

Assessment for Forgotten Trail math problems

Problems are scored automatically within the game. Teachers who are part of the Growing Math project or with 7 Generation Games site license can access student data from the Reports page.