Natural Disaster Unit of Inquiry Provocation
Online Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9iz8FOO37I
SAMR Model Rating: Augmentation
Grade Level: 6th
Subject Area: Science/Social Studies
Description of Lesson Taught: Generally, I am a fairly easy-going person, but sometimes I find that it is good to provoke someone! In this lesson, I wanted to provoke my students a little to nudge them into really thinking about what a natural disaster is and what effects a disaster can have on human life. I used a video of natural disasters from youtube that shows a montage from the year 2011 as a provocation to open a unit of inquiry titled “How the World Works.” However, this lesson could be done with any video that is aligned to your grade-level content. The clincher is that I had them view it with the sound off so that they would be able to record their thoughts without responding emotionally to what they were viewing. As students viewed the video, I would stop it every minute to let them record their thoughts and observations. To guide students in recording their observations, I used the “THINK-PUZZLE-EXPLORE” strategy from the book Making Thinking Visible by Ritchart, Church, and Morrison.
You can read the above link to get a clearer understanding of the strategy, but here are the basic steps:
- Set up the provocation by explaining that the students will be watching a video and responding in writing (you can use post-its, paper, notecards, or whatever works best with your class – I used 5×7 notecards)
- Ask, “What do you think you know about…natural disasters?”
- Ask, “What questions or puzzles do you have?”
- Ask, “How can we explore these puzzles?”
- Share the thinking in small groups or whole group. I prefer whole group.
- Assessment: By listening to the responses and reading the documentation of the students, the teacher can start to become aware of any misconceptions that the class may have about this topic. Additionally, the “explore” responses can be used later in the unit to guide further inquiry of the topic.
Two different levels of student work:
Enhancements: In this lesson, technology enhances the student learning by letting them view real-world examples instead of responding to a reading from their science text. Many of my students are ESL and benefit greatly from viewing what a natural disaster looks like, rather than struggling to read about one independently or listening to the teacher read. Paired with a visible thinking strategy, technology can greatly help to guide students through the inquiry process.