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Invent an Insect:

A Sample Lesson Plan Utilizing the 12 Touchstones

Stage 1 Desired Results

Content Standard(s):

Colorado Life Science Standard: Life Science Students know and understand the characteristics and

structure of living things, the processes of life, and how living things interact with each other and their

environment (Colorado Academic Standards, 2009, p. 7).

Related (non evaluated) Literacy Standard(s): Speaking and Listening

Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation

(Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2012).

Unpacked Standard(s): According to Goodwin and Unit (overarching) Essential Question:

Hubbell, we must first unpack the standard(s) to How do environmental factors affect living organisms?

determine what declarative knowledge (e.g.

Lesson Essential (Driving) Question: (This question
concepts, vocabulary, facts, details) and procedural
builds off of prior learned information from
knowledge (e.g. skills, procedures, abilities) are
observations and research regarding insects.)
necessary to demonstrate proficiency (Goodwin &
Can you create an insect with unique characteristics,
Hubbell, 2013, p. 8).
a habitat, and unique life cycle, that work together to
Life Science Standard:

I can explain what insects need to survive allow it to successfully survive in its environment?

and where they live (interaction with their


I can describe insects by their characteristics

(i.e. identify the body parts/what makes it an

insect, what they look like).

I can describe the life cycle of an insect.

I can compare/contrast insects/their life cycle

describing how they are the same or different

between each other.

Literacy Standards: (not evaluated)


I can tell what an insect looks like using descriptive


I can describe how an insect grows and changes

based on its life cycle.


I can draw and label what an insect looks like and its

body parts.

I can draw and label an insects life cycle.


I can write a sentence to tell what my insect needs to

live, eats, and where it lives.

I can start my sentence with a capital letter.

I can end my sentence (thought) with a punctuation

mark (.!?).

Students will set their own personal goals by.

The authors of The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching acknowledge that setting clear expectations

helps students understand specifically what they must do to improve their performance (Goodwin & Hubbell,

2013, p. 40). For this reason, a rubric (figure 1), which outlines student expectations according to the standard

was used to measure current student understanding and to serve as a self-assessment and goal setting tool. The

rubric clearly outlines what students need to do to perform at proficiency, enabling them to access a detailed

performance breakdown that also serves as a visual support in which to establish and monitor their learning


Figure 1

Students completed a self-assessment using the rubric, and reflecting on their performance using the

rubric as a guide. Goals are highlighted on the rubric in blue, to serve as a visual reminder/motivator. Student

As performance and learning goals are shown in Figure 1. Her goals included:

I can create an original insect with appropriate body parts labeled.

I can correctly identify many characteristics that help an insect survive with mostly appropriate


These two personal learning goals were selected following a conference with Student A, in which she

first completed a self-assessment using the rubric as a guide. We read each element together, beginning with

what proficiency would look like until a score was selected. Her scores matched mine, with the exception of

drawing and labeling an insects life cycle. When I went over my scores for her, we discussed why I had given

her a 3 (her life cycle was unique to a particular insect, but she only labeled the pupa stage as cocoon), and

what she could do to move to a more advanced level. I found that having the rubric as a visual support was

extremely beneficial to students in a primary age-range. It helped focus them on specific goals to grow towards


Progress on students' personalized goals will be monitored by

In order to best support students in achieving mastery of the life science standard, roving

conversations and conferences will be used to monitor and support students towards achieving their

goals. These interactions are, as Goodwin and Hubbell (2013) stress, critical to student academic

success (p. 79). By including students in the monitoring/tracking process of their personal learning

goals, the article Individual Learning Goals and Targets (2017) states that students motivation to

improve and master a task increases and their self-esteem remains strong, even in the case of failure

(para 1).

Additionally, progress towards mastery of their personalized learning goals will be monitored

through an electronic copy of the project rubric, which both the teacher and students can access. Initial

goals have been highlighted in blue, and growth towards their goal(s) will be discussed during student

conferences, at which time the goal might remain the same. If the goal has been reached, it will be

marked in a different color (green) indicating it was met during the course of the project, and a new goal

can be selected. After the completion of the project, students will be reassessed (and will complete a

new self-assessment) using the rubric. Scores can then be compared and a new color will be used to

mark each goal that was completed (purple). This provides a visual timeline of student progress towards

goals, a visual model of growth, and will serve as the final evaluation tool.

Rules and Procedures

Rules: Goodwin and Hubbell (2013), state that to ensure students internalize expectations for their

behavior, you should involve students in establishing ground rules and agreeing upon how they wish to

interact with one another (p. 108). With this belief in mind, a set of five agreed upon rules will be

generated together prior to the first days lesson. The following rules are generalized rules that I will

guide students towards, in order to ensure that they do not get too complicated and remain positive

(Goodwin & Hubbell, 2013, p. 108).

1. Listen to the person talking

2. Be respectful
3. Trust your own thinking
4. Work hard (try your best & never give up)
5. Use inside voices

Procedures: The following procedures will be explicitly explained, taught, and practiced in order to

ensure that student learning remains focused and lessons are efficient (Goodwin & Hubbell, 2013, p. 134).

1. Come in and take your seat on the carpet (sitting with body basics: legs crossed, arms in lap, eyes on

teacher, voices off, ready to learn)

2. Transitions (e.g. movement from whole group to independent work) will be tight and announced

through a clean-up song. The song is approximately two minutes long, and students are expected to be

cleaned up and on task at the songs end (Goodwin & Hubbell, 2013, p. 112).

3. Students will have a specified learning buddy for think-pair-share, and structured so that one partner

asks the question, the other partner answers, partners clarify/comment as needed and then switch roles.

(This can be set up in a Partner A and B format as an additional scaffold.)

4. Attention-getters: Give me 5 and an agreed upon call-back (e.g. Teacher: Chicka, chicka;

Students: Boom, boom!

Stage 2 Assessment Evidence Directly Aligned to Content Standard

Pre-Assessment, including analysis of the pre-assessment results.

Once an appropriate rubric is created, a pre-assessment can be administered to determine students

current understandings and serve as a platform for setting personal learning goals. This particular formative

assessment enables educators to identify any gaps, trends, etc. in understandings, as well as craft instructional

activities that build off of student strengths and acknowledge and address their weaknesses (Carnegie Mellon

University, n.d., para. 1).

Link to pre-assessment:


A more traditional assessment was chosen due to the time frame in which this lesson will be taught

(summer) and not coinciding with the first grade unit of study.



2 Student A
Student B
Student C


Name & Needs Life Cycle Interaction with
Appearance Environment

After conducting the pre-assessment and student conferences, I determined that the areas in which all

students needed the most work were: labeling all seven body parts and describing an insects interaction with

its environment. While there were other areas with lower scores, I looked at overall trends in the data. Overall,

Student A has the most background knowledge regarding insects and their defining features. Student B shows a

need for growth in identifying the needs of living things as well as the life cycle of an insect. This particular

student appeared hesitant during the pre-assessment, and repeatedly looked around to try and gauge how her

peers were progressing. Student C showed the most needs, demonstrating only a basic understanding of insects.

This tells me that I will need to have some instructional supports in place for Student C to achieve proficiency.

Since she scored a one in all four categories, my initial goal will be to move her to a level two (or fair using the

rubric). Once we have reached that level, we will move on to the next, and so onthis represents the so-called

Goldilocks zone/zone of proximal development where students work at a level that is just right for them

(Goodwin & Hubbell, 2013, p. 36). I think these students are more likely to experience success, because of

having the expectations and levels of mastery made transparent for them.

Performance Task(s) or Assignment Description(s):

Assignment Directions: Students are going to be given the task of inventing an insect that includes all of its

defining features & attributes. (Ex. A dollar insect that lives in a wallet and eats coins.)


Rubrics provide a means for teachers to make performance expectations clear, as well as allow

students and teachers to monitor progress towards proficiency. Additionally, rubrics help students better assess

themselves, become more receptive to feedback, and feel more motivated to learn (Goodwin & Hubbell, 2013,

p. 34). The rubric in Figure 1 was framed around the student outcomes identified from the unpacked content

standard. To achieve proficiency in this standard, students need to be able to:

Explain what insects need to survive and where they live (interaction with their environment).

Describe insects by their characteristics (i.e. identify the body parts/what makes it an insect, what they

look like).

Describe the life cycle of an insect.

Compare/contrast insects and their life cycle, describing how they are the same or different from each


Self or Peer Assessments Formative Assessments, Summative Assessments,

Self-assessment and peer-assessment help teach
The following assessment methods were selected to
students valuable skills of internally assessing their
help ensure that students grades are measured on
own understanding and giving constructive, helpful
what students have actually learned and not of another
feedback to their peers (Goodwin & Hubbell, 2013,
combination of traits, and to encourage students to
p. 101). To support students in the development of
participate in the process (Goodwin & Hubbell, 2013, p.
these skills both forms of assessment will be utilized
throughout the course of this lesson.

The pre-assessment task asked students to

1. A self-assessment column is included
choose an insect and use their prior knowledge
in the rubric for use with the pre-
against the specific skills needed to master the
assessment, as well as following the
implementation of the lesson activity.

Interview/conferencing discussion following the

2. Peer-assessment will take the form of
two stars and a wish during the

share out or student-led teaching Self-assessment with personal goal setting

celebration at the end of the project

Ongoing observations with feedback
(Goodwin & Hubbell, 2013, p. 101).
Project or performance based activity that will
Sentence structures will be provided
serve as another form of assessment to see how
to support students in providing
their understandings translate in a new,
feedback to each other. (I really liked
innovative way.
_____ or Maybe you could ____.)

Stage 3 Learning Plan Directly Aligned to Content Standard AND Assessments

Learning Activities:

Lesson(s) Outline: Goodwin and Hubbell (2013) stress the importance of educators understanding why were

doing what were doing and having a purpose for everything we do in the classroom (p. 142). Based on several

studies, Goodwin and Hubbell identified six essentials for encouraging the development of deep knowledge.

These Six Essential Cs for Learning (curiosity, connection, coherence, concentration, coaching and context)

as described on pages 142-144 are identified in purple. Additionally, each portion of the lesson(s) has been

broken down into discrete chunks of time in order to promote and sustain student engagement by ensuring

that students are able to focus on the lesson and remain on task for the entire class period (National Center on

Time & Learning, as cited in Goodwin & Hubbell, 2013, p. 134).

PRE-ASSESSMENT: (approx. 20-30 minutes)

1. Pre assessment (15-20 minutes): Students will draw and label what current understandings they have
about insects using the pre assessment activity sheet.

2. Score the pre assessment as a student self-assessment followed by a teacher score (5 minutes).

3. Goal setting meeting/conversation using the rubric as a guide. Have students select 1-2 goals. (10-15

DAY/SESSION 1: (Total estimated time: 40 minutes)

1. Invent an insect project/lesson introduction: (approx. 10-15 minutes)

Activate student background knowledge: What are some of the grossest, coolest,

creepiest insects? What else do you know about insects? (curiosity & connection)

Connect to real-world relevancy: There are so many insects in the world. Probably even

species we have not discovered yet. Entomologists study insects. The next few days, you

get to pretend you are an entomologist, who has just discovered a new type of insect!

Just like scientists do, you will need to chart/record your findings, study all aspects of the

insect and document for others to learn about. Let me show you what I mean!

(curiosity, connection, coherence & context)

Introduce learning target/essential question (connection, coherence & context)

Demonstration: Model how to complete steps one and two (name and appearance with

correctly labeled body parts) using a pencil insect as example. Have students help out

with how to draw it and where to label each body part. (Include an embedded mini

lesson if needed using text or video and insect body part song.) (coaching)

Turn-and Talk: Have students turn and brainstorm ideas for their own discovered

insects (2-3 minutes). (concentration & coaching)

Regroup and chart student responses (guide with suggestions as needed if unreasonable

suggestions are made).

Have students head to their tables with their selected insect to complete the first two

parts of assignment (name and appearance). (concentration & context)

2. Rove and encourage discussions about insect selections and location of appropriate body parts

how do you know where the ______ goes? What is this (point) part called? How do you know

you have all of the body parts? (10-15 minutes) (concentration, context & coaching)

3. Regroup back on carpet.

4. Have students turn and talk to show their partner(s) their insect and use our science talk to

describe what it looks like (appropriate body parts and attributes such as color, texture, etc.)

(approx. 5 minutes). (concentration & context)

5. Call on several students to come up and share their insect discovery with the class (3-5 minutes)

DAY/SESSION 2- Insect Needs & Habitat (approx. 40 minutes):

1. Introduction (10-15 minutes):


Review yesterdays work and review learning target/essential question. (curiosity, context,

coherence, & connection)

Demonstrate how to complete the insect needs and habitat portions of the activity. Think

aloud to explain reasoning (Include a 3-5 minute mini lesson if needed by reading and

discussing text. Optional if additional support is needed: take students outside to observe

various insect habitats.) (coaching, context & coherence)

Turn and talk: What are the things that your insect will need in order to survive? Where will it

live? Why? (monitor and question to guide students as needed) (concentration & coaching)

2. Send students off to complete task and rove, questioning and providing feedback (15-20

minutes) (concentration, coaching, & context)

Why does your insect live ____?

How will ____ help it survive?

What if it did/didnt have/live ____?

3. Regroup and have students share first with a partner, then call on several students to share out

their discoveries of the day (5-10 minutes) (concentration & context)

DAY/SESSION 3- Life Cycle: (repeat with same lesson flow and pacing as previous days- 40


1. Supporting/guiding questions: (concentration, coherence, coaching, & context)

Tell me about your insects life cycle

Why did you _____?

What happens during the (egg, larva, pupa, adult) phase?

What if _____?

DAY/SESSION 4- Writing portion of activity: Why will your insect be able to thrive in its

environment? (repeat with same lesson flow and pacing as previous days- approx. 40 minutes)

1. During todays demo, emphasize the use of complete sentences that begin with a capital letter

and end with a period. Have students brainstorm classroom supports (using the writing wall,

word, wall, their writing offices, the science wall, etc.). Note: Since this lesson occurs outside of

a classroom setting, have a student-created chart/checklist visible to support students. (coaching,

connection, coherence, concentration, & context)

DAY/SESSION 5- Sharing Day! (approx. 30 minutes) (curiosity, coherence, connection, &


1. Introduce learning target and goal for the day: Its time to share our insect discoveries with

each other. You will teach your friends all about your new insect. Then your friends can share

something they really liked about your insect, as well as ask any questions they might have.

I really liked _____.

My favorite part is ___.

Im wondering ___?

Why _______?

2. Demonstrate how to present/teach, emphasizing how to use a speaking voice and hold the book

for everyone to see. (coaching)

3. Break students into preassigned groups of 2-3 students (this is a group of three students, so step

1 will be skipped).

4. Have students take turns presenting and teaching each other about the insect they discovered.

***Ongoing- meetings to discuss progress towards goal(s) and provide focused feedback to support

students in reaching mastery of the standard.*** (coherence, coaching, connection)


Final re-assessment of learning (approx. 20 minutes): Students will complete the self-assessment

portion of the rubric again (5 minutes), and have a conference with the teacher to see how their score

and the teacher score compare, as well as to discuss whether they were successful with meeting their

goals (10-15 minutes).

Stage 4 Feedback Strategies, including Timeliness

The following feedback strategies will be used to deliver feedback in a way that thats clear and

informative yet remains noncontrolling (Goodwin & Hubbell, 2013, p. 94).

Learning target/essential question displayed, read, and discussed

Conferencing daily (during independent work time) using rubric to provide focused feedback (after pre-

assessment and during each lesson)

Feedback following the lesson(s) completion

Student feedback in the form of two stars and a wish at the projects conclusion, supported with

sentence structures.


Carnegie Mellon University (n.d.). Assessing prior knowledge. Retrieved June 25, 2017, from

Colorado academic standards: First grade science [PDF]. (2009, December 10). Denver: CDE.
Retrieved from
Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2012). English language arts standards. Retrieved


Goodwin, B & Hubbell, E. (2013). The twelve touchstones of good teaching. Alexandria, VA:


Individual learning goals and targets. (2017). Retrieved July 09, 2017, from