Scenario ~ How did Ms. Martin do it?




Ms. Mary Martin, 2nd Grade

Name of Unit:

Weather, Map Reading, and Graphing

Grade Levels:


Subject Areas:

Science and Language Arts

Assignment 1...Analysis of Instructional Need
Data from classroom assessments, personal observations, the 2004 North Dakota State Assessment, and the district’s School Improvement Plan were the rationale for developing this unit.

In completing an analysis of need for this instructional unit, I identified several gaps between "what is and what needs to be" in my classroom. In a variety of student assessments there is significant data indicating that the students are performing below proficiency (below the 50 percentile) in meeting all of the science standards. Reviewing student assessments that were taken from the classroom for the past three years, I noticed that a significant deficiency was related to Standard #2: Science Inquiry: Students use the process of science inquiry.

In the past two year’s classroom performance-based assessments documented that there is a wide gap between the ability of students to demonstrate procedures and their ability to explain the procedures. For example, a science unit that explored the students' senses as they got to see "real live bats," hear the echolocation sounds of bats via the internet, and feel sound waves generated by self-made sound conductors engaged the students in inquiry. Student journals reflected a high degree of interest, motivation and connectedness to the student learning objectives. But, the assessment rubric used indicated that they had difficulty explaining the scientific connections, pointing to a deficiency in Science Standard #2, Benchmark: 2.2.2. Communicate observations with others. Advanced Proficient: students communicate observations with ease. The students were unable to explain real-world application, e.g. “how conductors aided bats to use sound vibrations for navigation and finding food.”

In addition, reading assessments convey that the percentage of students below proficient has increased over the past three years, from 50% to 63%, directly connecting to Standard #2: Students engage in the reading process and 2.2.15. Use reading to be informed, persuaded, and entertained. That data also relates to the lower achievement in comprehension in meeting Science Standard #2, Benchmark: 2.2.2. Communicate observations with others. Advanced Proficient: students communicate observations with ease.

One of the priority goals of our district’s School Improvement focuses on improving the writing and reading skills of our students. This unit integrates both the reading and writing processes and Standard #2: Students engage in the reading process and Standard #3: Students engage in the writing process.

Assignment 2 ... Identify Desired Results

Identify the ND Content Standards for your Unit of Instruction


Content Area

Standard # and Name

Benchmark and Description



Standard #2: Science Inquiry: Students use the process of science inquiry.

2.2.1. Ask questions about the world. Advanced Proficient: students ask insightful questions about the world.



Standard #2: Science Inquiry: Students use the process of science inquiry.

2.2.2. Communicate observations with others. Advanced Proficient: students communicate observations with ease.



Standard #6: Students understand relations between science and technology.

2.6.1. Know that tools are used to investigate, observe, measure, design, and build things. Advanced Proficient: Students have substantive knowledge that tools are used to investigate, observe, measure, design, and build things.

S4  Language Arts

Standard #3: Students engage in the writing process.


2.3.2 Gather and organize ideas drawn from a variety of sources; e.g., prior knowledge, classroom/library references.
S5  Language Arts Standard #2: Students engage in the reading process. 2.2.15. Use reading to be informed, persuaded, and entertained.

What do I want the students to understand long after they leave my classroom?

Students will understand the different types of severe weather and the safety strategies to use when faced with a severe weather situation.

What essential questions will guide and focus teaching and learning on this unit?

 What are some signs that severe weather may be headed your way?
 How can we feel safe during severe weather?

What  is the Unit Learning Goal(s)?

1. Students will understand the types and characteristics of severe weather.

2. Students will differentiate between the strategies to use in a variety of severe weather conditions.

What are the Unit Learning Objectives?

1. Given multiple resources, the students will gather information and describe the outcomes of bad weather with 80% accuracy.
2. After listening to auditory sounds of weather conditions, the students will design a pictorial weather scene and describe it with 100% accuracy.
3. After investigating multiple weather conditions, the students will be able to identify the weather most common in North Dakota scoring in the A & B area on a rubric.
4. Based on a weather forecast map, students will be able to interpret weather conditions selecting at least 8 out of 10 characteristics in a checklist.
5. Students will be able to identify the seasons in which different severe weather conditions are most common through accurate oral recall 8 out of 10 times.
6. Through role playing the students will be able to demonstrate appropriate safety strategies for a variety of severe weather conditions with 100 % accuracy.
7. After compiling information from multiple resources, the students will perform a video broadcast which will include current weather conditions, forecasts, and safety measures for inclement weather.


Assignment 3... Determine Acceptable Evidence (Assessment)

Think about the array of assessment tools that you will incorporate to determine acceptable evidence that will show that students understand this unit. Use the following questions to guide your assessment selections:

What quiz and test items (e.g. simple content-focused questions that require a single, best answer) will provide evidence of understanding?

Matching activities and simple recall worksheets to reinforce foundational knowledge.

What academic prompts (e.g. open-ended questions or problems that require students to think critically and then to prepare a response / product / performance) will provide evidence of understanding?

Probing questions at the beginning of each unit section.

What performance tasks and projects (e.g. complex challenges that are authentic, mirror the real world and require a performance or product) will you include that will provide evidence of student understanding?

Role playing the use of severe weather strategies.

What other evidence (e.g. observations, work samples, dialogues, student self-assessment) of understanding will you collect?

Brochures summarizing weather and strategies for community distribution. Checklist and rubrics are used to assess the students’ knowledge on weather forecasts and conditions.


Assignment 4... Teaching and Learning Strategies and Planning for Improved Student Products

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Identify how one or more of the strategies discussed (inquiry-based, problem-based, and project-based) will help promote higher-order thinking and self-directedness with regard to your student learning objectives. Be Specific!

Students will use a combination of inquiry-based and problem-based to answer the questions "What are some signs that severe weather may be headed your way? How can we feel safe during severe weather?" Through the problem investigation process, students gather, record and discuss weather conditions common in North Dakota. Students use project-based learning by creating a brochure to inform their community of appropriate safety strategies for a variety of severe weather conditions that could occur during specific seasons. Both strategies encourage higher order thinking which is particularly critical when focusing on science inquiry standards/benchmarks. The students are also engaged in cooperative learning activities. The students are also placed in collaborative teams to complete the culminating activities.

Planning for Improved Student Products

Student-learning activities and the resulting end products play a vital role toward increasing student achievement. An end product is generally the driving force and often dictates how the project is organized in an engaged learning activity. The production of the product requires specific content skills and the entire process is authentic, mirroring the real world. The process and the end product are both of critical importance. One cannot happen successfully without the other. You now have the ability to examine your student products and identify the types of instructional practices, learning uses, and student performances that are in greatest need of improvement in order to meet your Phase III building level goals.


Assignment 5... Developing Student Learning Activities

Standard Identifier

Student Learning Activities

Technology Integration Tools

ND Library / Technology Literacy Standards


Learning Activity 1 



S1 and S4

Anticipatory Set:

The students will listen to the story of "The Three Little Pigs" on a CD ROM. They will continue with a discussion using guiding questions such as: “Which house was the sturdiest?” “Which was the least sturdy?” What type of construction material would you recommend pigs to use if they lived in an area inhabited by big bad wolves?”

Moving from the “big bad wolves” the students discuss other factors that might affect whether a building remains in good or not-so-good condition after a natural event like a big storm. Ask the students what those factors might be. Record all responses using Kidspiration or another graphic organizing software.






Kidspiration or other webbing software

#4 Collaborative Skills (4.4.1)


Learning Activity 2


S1 and S2

Using the National Geographic “Forces of Nature” website and the Smart Board, the students will collaboratively explore and discuss the outcomes of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanoes with the teacher. In a “pair-share” cooperative learning activity, they will “create” their own virtual hurricanes and tornadoes.

Internet and Smart Board, laptops

#1 Research (4.1.6)


Learning Activity 3


S1 and S2

Using Kid Pix, the students listen to nature sounds and design a weather scene portraying what they hear. The individual slides are made into a class slideshow. Each student will describe his/her individual slide and personal experiences as the slideshow is viewed by the class.


#2 Developing products using technology/media (4.2.2)


Learning Activity 4


S1, S2, and S5

By using internet websites, the students will collect data relating to weather conditions and forecasts.

They will obtain the temperatures from 3 cities for the next 7 days. They will enter this data on a spreadsheet and manipulate it by making graphs.


Spreadsheet Software

#1 Research (4.1.5) and #3 Technology Systems (4.3.2)


Learning Activity 5


S1, S2, S3, and S4

To continue with their investigations the students will watch a video where Oscar the mole explains some of the fascinating facts about air. The students will record useful and interesting information in their journals. Then, the students will collaborate and develop a “10 Things You Should Know about Air” fact sheet.
(Video: "Ask Oscar: Air")


Word processing software.

#1 Research (4.1.1; 4.1.2; 4.1.4; 4.1.5; 4.1.6; 4.1.7)


Learning Activity 6


S3 and S4

Using their journals, students write weather-related questions. They use web sites to communicate with meteorologists to ask questions.

Word processing software


#1 Research (4.1.5) and #3 Technology Systems (4.3.2)

  Learning Activity 7    
S2, S3, S4, and S5

Students investigate the warning signs and conditions associated with severe weather. In cooperative teams they write scripts describing the steps that they can take to protect themselves. From the script, the students role play their solutions.


CDs and Internet

#1 Research (4.1.1)
#4 Collaborative Skills (4.4.4)

  Learning Activity 8    
S2 and S4 Students conduct studies of their peers' views on various weather issues. The data is compiled into a weather safety pamphlet and distributed to their families and friends. Word processing #1 Research (4.1.5), #2 Developing Products Media/Technology (4.2.2)

Learning Activity 9


S2, S4, and S5

After viewing local weather programs on television, students collect and compile all their investigated data to perform a weather broadcast. Presentation software is used to aid them in their broadcast. A video presentation is shared with parents and guardians at a community open house.

Presentation software

Video camera

#2 Media/Technology (4.2.2; 4.2.3)


Assignment 6... Interim Review, Implementation, and Reflection

Congratulations, you have now completed your unit of instruction template and are ready to contact TWT for an Interim Review . Remember, your interim review request must be submitted by October 31st, 2004 to receive full credit on this piece. The TWT instructors will use the Course Assessment Rubric to provide feedback on your unit. You should have been using this rubric as a guide during your development.

Once you request your interim review you are ready to begin implementation. At the completion of your implementation period, be sure to return to this template and document any high points, tips, or lessons learned. Providing this extra insight into your unit is often a very useful piece for other teachers.

High Points, Tips, and Lessons Learned during implementation:

The students were truly engaged in this unit. Several of them have been involved in critical weather events with their families which elicited some stress and fears. The next time I do this unit I will involve their parents/guardians and build a student learning activity to include their input. This will be a positive way to strengthen my relationship with parents, too. In addition to inviting parents to the final weather broadcast, I will send a special invitation to the PTA.

I also plan to include an additional learning activity to strengthen Learning Objective 6: Through role playing the students will be able to demonstrate appropriate safety strategies for a variety of severe weather conditions with 100 % accuracy. I will incorporate “soundscape compositions” where student groups will describe in their own words a severe weather condition using a presentation software sound recording device (within KidPix, PowerPoint, Hyperstudio, etc.). Students will then use the drawing feature to illustrate what they hear in the “soundscapes” and what strategies they would make to protect themselves. Recording the whole presentation will provide evidence of learning (assessment) as well.

Inviting a local weather meteorologist to the classroom would strengthen the value of the relationship that the media has with community during severe weather conditions.

Now that I have a digital camera, I am going to have students capture the cloud formations and print/place the picture on their spreadsheets documenting temperatures over the 7 day period.




You may also view Ms. Martin's unit of instruction in the TWT Unit of Instruction database. 

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Grade 2


Click on the "Weather, Map Reading, and Graphing" link to view Ms. Martin's Unit of Instruction Proposal.


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