IT'S SHOCKING, IT'S FRIGHTENING,
SUBJECT MATTER: Earth Science: meteorology; physics
TIME ALLOTMENT: 4 or 5 one hour lessons
Using Newton’s Apple show #1513 called “Lightning”, this lesson will uncover the causes of lightning and will unravel many more interesting facts about it. Students will learn new vocabulary associated with lightning and electricity. We don’t have the sophisticated equipment that scientists’ have to study lightning, but we can study it on a safer and smaller scale through demonstrations of static electricity. After watching and discussing the show, students will rotate through several stations as they experiment with static electricity, view photos of lightning, movies of lightning from space, solve a lightning math problem, create and edit a question to ask an expert, learn about safety measures to use during a thunderstorm, and check for current weather warnings for thunderstorms. They will read 2 books about Benjamin Franklin. A guest speaker will visit the class. As a culminating activity, the class will make a 6 to 10 minute video using Newton’s Apple as a model. They will research, write, incorporate visuals, edit, practice, and tape their spots.
From the National Science Education Standards, Content Standards: K-4
PREP FOR TEACHER
Preview the video. Know where your pause points are located. Copy and
hole punch the worksheets. Arrange for the guest speaker. Assemble the
rest of the materials from the materials section and set up the stations.
Preview and bookmark the websites. Load any plug-ins necessary. Read the
“Lightning Facts for Teachers to Share”
and use these tidbits as you see fit throughout the lessons. Get copies
of the books, Ben and Me and What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
Step 1. Begin the lesson with a demonstration about static electricity. Rub a balloon on your hair a few times. Darken the room. Bring a charged balloon near one end of a fluorescent tube and you should see some light flashes. Ask for ideas about what the students observed. Ask for ideas about the subject of this lesson. The subject of the show is lightning. Ask if lightning is related to anything else they know about, does it remind them of anything else? Lightning is one way we can see electricity.
Write the steps of the lesson on the board: video, stations, research, TV spot . Start by filling in the “I Wonder” worksheet. Have students write their “I Wonder” questions on their paper. (What things about lightning and electricity do I wonder about?”) After they have all written something, transfer their questions to the large class “I Wonder” butcher paper chart. Read the other 2 questions on the “I Wonder” worksheet. (How do I go about finding the answers to the questions I wonder about? and, What skills might I need to further study some of these questions?) Brainstorm ideas to answer these questions. They can add to these 3 questions throughout the lesson. Pass out the worksheets and put them in the students’ Science Journals.
A look at the incredible life of Benjamin Franklin: inventor, ambassador, printer, almanac maker, politician, and so much more. What’s the Big Idea Ben Franklin? By Jean Fritz.
A glossary of electrical
This site gives immediate
access to all current weather warnings in the U.S.
Photos of lightning.
Facts and fiction,
things to know, what did I learn http://www.fema.gov/kids/
Movies of lightning
from space http://wwwghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/
Ask an Expert,
Step 2. Viewing the video. The video is 7 minutes long. Preview the FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION worksheet. Explain that you’ll pause during the video so the students can answer the questions. you will pause to give
START and watch the introduction until the question is asked,” Why is the golfer’s hair is standing on end?” PAUSE and listen to student predictions.
START and then PAUSE after the words, “Creating thunder”. Give the students time to describe and write how thunder is made. Define supersonic. PLAY until after the sock scene when you see the finger with the electrons and the nose with the positive charges. PAUSE. Answer the worksheet questions. Check for understanding.
PLAY through the explanation of how the charges line up in the cloud and on the earth. PAUSE Draw the representation on the worksheet. PLAY through the explanation of how air changes from an insulator to a conductor. PAUSE, discuss and define these words on the worksheet. PLAY until the end.
STOP and complete the worksheet. Vocabulary and key concepts:
Step 3. Explain
the procedure and worksheets for rotating through the 5 stations. (rules,
group size, time limit, clean up etc). Students will need their science
journals and a pencil. The static electricity demonstrations will work
better on a dry day. You decide when the students will read the books
about Benjamin Franklin.
Step 4. Invite a guest speaker to the class. A meteorologist, a physicist, or an emergency disaster expert are some examples. Have the students write their questions for the speaker ahead of time a storm?
POST VIEWING ACTIVITIES
For additional lesson plans and ideas relating to this topic and many others try TeacherSource at PBS Online! You will find activities, lesson plans, teacher guides and links to other great educational web sites! Search the database by keyword, grade level or subject area! Mathline and Scienceline are also great resources for teachers seeking teaching tips, lesson plans, assessment methods, professional development, and much more!
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