Emily was teaching a fourth grade unit on crayfish adaptations. She wanted her students to observe the live crayfish in their class and make predictions about their anatomy before reading about the species.
She had students create a 3-column chart in their notebooks. The first column was for Structures students noticed on the crayfish. In that column, students sketched and described things like antennae, tail, claws, etc. The second column was for Function. In this column, students made predictions about how the various structures helped the crayfish survive. They filled out these first two columns while observing the crayfish for about 25 minutes.
Then, students read a short text on crayfish anatomy. They added a final column to their chart, labeled “After reading, I think…” In this last column, they described the function of each structure, according to the text.
Emily reported that her students were much more engaged in the reading because they had done so much observation and thinking beforehand. They were eager to find out if the text would confirm their predictions.