Motivation for Literacy, Knowledge Building
Gather materials for investigation
Post a piece of chart paper on the board for recording hypotheses and results
Select different brands of cereal
Each group will need 1 brand
Gather paper plates
Each group will need 2 paper plates for sorting raisins
Prepare display board
Gather 1 large display or poster board
For example: Bristol board
Glue 5 pieces of construction paper on the board
On each piece of construction paper write the following headings:
i. Problem Statement
Introduce the investigation by explaining to the students that they will be conducting an experiment to find out which cereal brand contains the greatest amount of raisins
Have the students make hypotheses
Show each brand of cereal and have students vote on which cereal they believe has the greatest amount of raisins
Invite students to explain their thinking using evidence from the picture on each box
Discuss the target audience and have students explain their thinking
Ask: For whom is the cereal intended? What makes you say that?
Record their hypotheses on a piece of chart paper
Have students conduct the investigation by counting the raisins from each brand of cereal
Pass out a different brand of cereal to each group
Have the students separate the raisins using paper plates
Once the raisins have been separated have one member of the group count the number of raisins
Have each group orally share the number of raisins in their cereal
Record the brand names and number of raisins on a piece of chart paper
Discuss the results and compare the results with the hypotheses
Encourage students to explain why one brand of cereal may have more raisins than another brand
Invite the students to help you complete a display board by writing about the investigation
Under each heading brainstorm and record information
English Language Learners/ESL:
- Prior to the investigation pre-teach the terms you will use - Display a visual cue, picture or symbol, beside each term or heading
LD/Reading & Writing Difficulties:
- Color code each heading on the display board - Repeat instructions to each group as they begin the investigation - Post a small picture of each cereal brand beside the name when recording the number of raisins
Cultural Appropriateness & Diversity:
- Include cereals with which students are familiar
- Use heterogeneous and mixed ability groupings
Wolk, S. (2003). Teaching for critical literacy in social studies. Social Studies, 94(3), 101-106.
The goal of Investigating Cereal: Integrating Literacy and Science Instruction is to motivate students to participate in the scientific process by having them experimentally explore the amount of raisins in different brands of cereal.
2, 30 minute sessions Session 1: - Teacher introduces and explains activity - Students brainstorm hypotheses - Students conduct experiment Session 2: - Teacher and students complete a shared writing activity to describe the investigation
Teacher: - Chart paper - Markers - Display board - Construction paper Students: - Cereal (1 box per group) - Paper plates
What You Do
Direct instruction: - while teacher introduces and explains activity Facilitator: - while students brainstorm hypotheses and conduct experiment Consultant: - while teacher and students complete shared writing activity
Whole class: - when teacher introduces and explains activity, during brainstorming session and shared writing activity Small groups: - during investigation
- Use a checklist to track participation during the discussion and investigation a. Check for students' understanding of branding and target audiences
- Record anecdotal comments as students conduct the investigation
- Have students write up their own report about the results of the experiment
- Have students read other simple "studies" and discuss the important features of a scientific report
- Link this activity to media literacy by having a deeper discussion of the advertising strategies used by each brand a. For example, what do the target audiences appear to be? How is the container designed? What does each company want you to believe about the raisin content in their cereal?
- Use 1 cereal box as a model and discuss and record the features that it includes
- Have the students design and create their own brand of cereal a. Have the students promote their cereal by writing a commercial
- Have the students choose 1 brand of cereal and create a skit promoting that cereal
- Examine various kinds of food brands and print ads and their target audiences
- This activity will be best implemented after students already have some exposure to the scientific process and scientific vocabulary such as "hypothesis."
- Before counting the raisins examine each guess and discuss the most, least, and equal amounts.
- Encouraging students to discuss the brand and target audience in detail fosters critical thinking and promotes the idea of being an informed consumer.
- Provide a quiet work area for students disturbed by sound