You are on page 1of 5

Teacher: Kelli Howell

Inquiry Lesson Plan Template

Content & Title:
Kenya Water CrisisWater Commons lab

Grade Level:
4th grade

Writing: 4.W.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
Math: 4.MP.4. Model with mathematics. Students experiment with representing problem situations in multiple ways

including numbers, words (mathematical language), drawing pictures, using objects, making a chart, list, or graph, creating
equations, etc. Students need opportunities to connect the different representations and explain the connections. They
should be able to use all of these representations as needed. Fourth graders should evaluate their results in the context of the
situation and reflect on whether the results make sense.
Science: SC04-S1C2-05 Record data in an organized and appropriate format (e.g., t-chart, table, list, written log).

Formulate conclusions based upon identified trends in data.

Social Studies: SS04-S4C5-02 Describe the impact of extreme natural events (e.g., fires, volcanoes, floods, droughts) on
human and physical environments.

Objectives (Explicit & Measurable):

The students will be able to formulate a line graph showing the projected amount of water pollution
over time through using the data collected through an activity.
Evidence of Mastery (Measurable Assessment: formative and summative):
The Students will formulate a line graph to display their findings from the activity. (formative)
The students will write an opinion paragraph stating what they would do to alleviate the issues of
water scarcity and pollution in Kenya. (formative)
The teacher will ask discussion questions to check for understanding. (summative)
Sub-objectives, SWBAT (steps that lead to completion of objective; sequence from simple to more complex):
Students will be able to explain characteristics of a line graph.
Students will be able to write a topic sentence.
Students will be able to state supporting details in written form.
Lesson Summary and Justification: (summary gives detailed information about what students are doing. Justification why is
this lesson being taught)

In this lesson, the students will be introduced to the water crisis in Kenya. The students will be working in
groups of three and conducting an activity called the Water Commons Lab. In this activity, the students will
use regular and peanut M&Ms to generate the projection of water pollution over time. The students will
start with 100 regular M&Ms in a pan and closing their eyes they will use a spoon to scoop up as many M&Ms
as they can in thirty seconds. After thirty seconds is up the students will count the remaining M&Ms and
subtract this number from 100. The students will then add that many peanut M&Ms to their pan. This process
will continue until all of the regular M&Ms are gone and there are only peanut M&Ms remaining. The peanut
M&Ms represent polluted water. The students will then take their data from the activity and create their own
line graph individually depicting the trend in increasing water pollution.
Background Knowledge: (What do students need to know prior to completing this lesson)
Students need to know what a line graph is and how to work responsibly in groups.

Misconception: (what possible misleading thoughts might students have?)

Students may think that the amount of water pollution only decreases.

Process Skills: (what skills are you introducing or reinforcing)

I am introducing the students to the skill of collecting data and using that data to generate a line graph.
I am also introducing to the students the skill of interpreting their graph and predicting future results.

Four Ways of Thinking connection: (Provide a complete explanation of how your lesson plan connects to futures, system,

strategic, or values thinking. Define the way of thinking you selected and used in this lesson plan. Remember, this should be included
meaningfully in the lesson plan.)
This lesson applies to futures thinking because the students will be creating a line graph showing the increasing amount of water
pollution in Kenya and the predict what will happen if we do not come up with a solution to aid Kenya in their water crisis.

Safety: (what safety rules and items need to be addressed?)

The safety rules that need to be addressed go as follows:
Use your spoons appropriately (no poking your classmates).
Make sure that if you eat your M&Ms after the activity that you chew them well so as to not choke.
The teacher needs to be aware of any food allergies/ health concerns affecting the students ability to work with M&Ms.

Inquiry Questions: (testable in the here and now.)


What is water scarcity?

How can we help aid the water crisis in Kenya?

Key vocabulary: (list and define)

1. Water pollution: Water pollution is the contamination of water

bodies (e.g. lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers and groundwater), very
often by human activities.
2. Kenya: Kenya is a country in East Africa.
3. Line Graph: A graph that uses points connected by lines to show
how something changes in value (as time goes by, or as something
else happens).

Materials: (list item and possible quantity)

1. One aluminum pie pan per group
2. Regular M&Ms
3. Peanut M&Ms
4. One plastic spoon for each student
5. One plastic/paper cup for each student
6. One piece of graph paper for each student
7. One data table for each student

Engage - In this
section you should
activate prior knowledge, hook student attention, pose a question (IQ#1)
based on your lesson objective that students will seek to answer in Explore.
Teacher Will: ( hook)
Students Will:
Have you ever went camping or on a trip and you were told not to
drink the water because it will make you sick?

The students will listen to the question and respond by raising

their hands if they have had an experience with contaminated

Today we are going to build upon the knowledge that we learn

yesterday about where our water comes from and explore how the
people of Kenya get their water.

Best Teaching Practice Strategy/Differentiation/ELL and Teacher Notes

Some students may not have had an experience with going to a place with contaminated water. Include these
students by asking them if they have ever see muddy or dirty water or saw on TV contaminated water.
Explore - In this section students should take
the lead and actively use materials to discover information that
will help them answer the question posed in Engage. Teachers may choose to give steps to follow, especially for
younger students, but the goal is for students to discover some or all of the sub-objectives of the lesson.
Teacher Will: (pose IQ #1)
Students Will: ( list all steps)
Today we are going to do an activity called the Water Commons
You will work in groups of three to complete this activity.
You will need one aluminum pie pan filled with regular M&Ms for
your group. Each member in your group will use their own spoon
and have their own paper cup.
I will give each group a ziplock bag full of Peanut M&Ms. In order
for this activity to work, do not each ANY M&Ms until after the
activity is over.
Once your group has been distributed all of your materials, with
your eyes closed each group member will use their spoon to do
two scoops of M&Ms into their paper cup.
After everyone in the group has done their two scoops the group
will count the number of M&Ms that are left in the pan and
subtract that number from 100.
When you have come up with the total number of remaining
M&Ms, add that number of peanut M&Ms to your pan.

The students will listen to the teacher give instructions.

You will then turn to your data table and record the total number
of peanut M&Ms in your pan for round 1. You will record the total
number of peanut M&Ms in the pan after each round.
You will then do the same thing, with closed eyes scoop M&Ms
into your cup then count the remaining M&Ms, subtract that
number from 100 and add that number of peanut M&Ms to the
Make sure to record the results in your data table.
You will continue this process until all of the M&Ms left in your
pan are peanut M&Ms.
When I say go, you can get into your groups of three and I will
come around and give you your materials.
Before we start, can I have someone raise their hand and retell us
what your directions for the activity are?
Are there any questions before we begin?
Ready Go!

One student will raise their hand and retell the instructions for
the activity to the class.
If any students have questions regarding the activity they will
ask them now.
The students will get into groups of three and wait for the
teacher to pass out their materials.

The teacher will go around to each group and pass out their
You will have ten minutes to complete this activity and record all
of your data.
The students will begin scooping their M&Ms into their cups.
You may begin working now.
The students will record their data and complete the activity.
The teacher will walk around and make sure each group is
following the instructions correctly and is on task.
The teacher will answer any questions the students have regarding
the activity.
The teacher will give the students a five and then three minute

Best Teaching Practice Strategy/Differentiation/ELL and Teacher Notes

If their are low students, make sure that they are paired in a group with a higher student so that they can get
help. If there are students who struggle with counting for example ELLs have the students paired with another
student to help them count and record accurately. If there are any students with food allergies or due to
health issues cannot participate by using the M&Ms, plan ahead to use two colored beads or two types of
Explain In this section students share what they discovered, teacher connects student discoveries to correct
content terms/explanations, students articulate/demonstrate a clear and correct understanding of the lesson
sub-objectives by answering the question from Engage before moving on.

Teacher Will:
The teacher will do waterfall to gather their attention. (waterfall
is a strategy used to refocus the students. How it works is the
teacher will call waterfall and then the students will respond
with making a waterfall with their fingers and making shhhing
water sounds with their mouths.)

Students Will:
The students will respond with waterfall fingers.

Now we are going to discuss what you were able to discover

through the water commons lab.
What did you notice happened as you took out the M&Ms and
added the peanut M&Ms?
The teacher will use appropriate wait time and then call on several
students to state their observations.
Talk with your shoulder partner about the question How do you
think that the increasing amount of water pollution in areas would
affect the people living there?

Several students will respond to the question of what they

observed through the water commons activity.

The students will discuss with their shoulder partner the

question of How do you think that the increasing amount of
water pollution in areas would affect the people living there?

Now we are going to look into a country that is facing this very
situation with water pollution and scarcity.
The teacher will share facts about Kenya

Best Teaching Practice Strategy/Differentiation/ELL and Teacher Notes

By having the students discuss the question with their shoulder partner, the students with learning disabilities
or ELLs will receive assistance if they need it. Also there is a low affective filter because the stakes are low
Elaborate In this section students take the basic learning gained from Explore and clarified in Explain and apply
it to a new circumstance or explore a particular aspect of this learning at a deeper level. Students should be using
higher order thinking in this stage. A common practice in this section is to ask a What If? question. IQ #2
Teacher Will: (pose IQ #2)
Now that you have a little bit of background on the water
situation in Kenya we are going to pretend that we are all scientists
and engineers.
Your job is to first individually create a line graph based on the
data that you collected from the water commons activity.
Remember that a line graph looks like this (teacher draws basic
line graph on the board).
Line graphs are what scientists and engineers use to see trends in
their data and make predictions for what will happen in the
We already talked about how the water pollution in Kenya is
increasing and there is less clean water for the people to drink.
Now it is your turn to first graph the data you collected and then
write paragraph explaining what you would do, as a scientist or
engineer to help design a plan to bring enough safe, useable water
to Kenya.
Does anyone have any questions before you start?

Students Will:

If any of the students have questions, they will ask them at this

You may now begin making your line graph and then when you
are done with that you may start your paragraph.

The students will begin working on their line graphs and


Best Teaching Practice Strategy/Differentiation/ELL and Teacher Notes

Have the students work in pairs to help students with learning disabilities or ELLs.
Evaluate In this section every student demonstrates mastery of the lesson objective (though perhaps not
mastery of the elaborate content). Because this also serves as a closing, students should also have a chance to
summarize the big concepts they learned outside of the assessment.
Teacher Will:
Students Will:
Have the students share the overall trend that they The students will share their graphs with the class and
noticed through plotting their data on a line graph. discuss the overall trend they saw through their graph.
Have some students share their ideas from what
they wrote in their paragraph.

The students will share their ideas of how the would

bring clean water to the people of Kenya.

Closure: (revisit objective, IQs and make real world connections)

Today we were able to use our science skills to conduct an experiment and predict future trends in the data. You were also able to
come up with your own ideas about what you would do to help fix the water crisis in Kenya through your written paragraphs. Through
through this lesson I hope you students were able to have a new perspective on how the water situation is different in other countries.
Real world connections: Learning about how we can make a difference, help students to be more culturally aware and more well

**Best Practices List the Best Teaching Practices you will use to enhance the learning outcomes. In each
section where prompted, list the best practice, how the practices will be used and the purpose.