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Natural Inquirer Lesson Plans


Lesson Plans

Use these lesson plans with any Natural Inquirer article.

Host a Podcast: Students use graphic organizers to create podcasts or radio broadcasts.

Paragraph by Paragraph: Focus student understanding of the main idea of a paragraph in each section of a Natural Inquirer article through a reading and note-taking process.

Scientific Abstracts: Introduce students to the purpose of scientific abstracts and how to write them.

Questions Only: Use Bloom's Taxonomy and an adaptation of the "questions only" reading strategy to help students read and understand a Natural Inquirer article.

Sticky Note Summary: Students use sticky notes to summarize main ideas in each section of the scientific article to improve student comprehension of the text they are reading.

Letter to the Scientist: Help students with reading comprehension by asking students to read a Natural Inquirer or Investi-gator article and write a letter to the scientist to ask for clarification on at least 4 questions.

Summarizer, Predictor, Questioner, Clarifier: Divide students into groups and assign each student a role of either summarizer, predictor, questioner, or clarifier. The students read articles and perform their role to help students understand what they have read.

Venn Diagram: Ask students to compare and contrast two articles using a Venn diagram.

Join the Natural Inquirer Twitter Team: Students become members of the Natural Inquirer Twitter team, assisting Natural Inquirer with teaching others about an article.

THIEVES: Help students dissect and understand each section of scientific articles by becoming THIEVES. As THIEVES, students will think carefully about what they have read, and then they will identify their thinking as "Facts, Questions, or Responses."

The 6 W's: This lesson plan helps students think about what they have read by asking the "6 W's":  Who, What, Where, When, hoW, and Why.

Statements and Observations: Students increase their reading comprehension, summarization, and explanation skills by working in groups to share information about a Natural Inquirer article and assisting with educating others about the article.

Block Graphic: Help students think critically about each section by using a Block Graphic to help organize ideas.

Venn Diagram: A Venn diagram can be used with any Natural Inquirer or Investi-gator article to compare and contrast.

S.C.A.N and R.U.N: A graphic organizer to help kids read and think about a text.

K-W-L Lesson Plan: Students create a chart to write what they know before reading, what they think they will learn from the article, and then what they learned from the article. This lesson plan helps with making inferences and learning misconceptions.

Article Summary: One-page worksheet helps students determine the main idea of the article they read and write a summary of the article.

Summarize and Present: Students work in groups to analyze the Natural Inquirer article research study and give a brief presentation on their findings to their classmates.

Visual Thinking Strategy and Photo Description Strategy: Elicit prior knowledge from students using the Visual Thinking Strategy, then have students reflect on the Natural Inquirer article using the Photo Description Strategy.

Thick and Thin: Student create thin questions (close-ended) to help clarify outstanding questions, as well as thick questions (open-ended) to debate in a persuasive essay.

Storyboard: Students use two graphic organizers to record important points from their article and important points from the group discussion.

Double Entry: Students determine important parts of the text and share questions and comments about selected parts of the text.

Issue & Article Specific Lesson Plans

In addition to the universal lesson plans on this page, many of our editions have specific lesson plans that go along with that publication.

Olympic Winter Games edition - "Goldifinch and the Three Scales": Help students examine the concept of an invasive species.

World's Forest 2 edition: Scaffold the concept of analyzing and interpreting charts and tables for science using the topic of forests.

Facts to the Future edition - "Do What You Water": Students think about freshwater use on Earth.

Urban Forest edition: Plan and conduct a schoolyard tree inventory and biodiversity project with students.

Wilderness Benefits edition: Use the articles "Speak-o-logical" and "It's Elemental, My Dear" to think about the concept of naturalness and what it means. Students create Haiku poems and forest poems.

Invasive Species edition: Lesson plans to help students learn about different types of invasive species and why they are problematic.

Bioenergy edition: Stage a role play and debate to discuss the pros and cons of bioenergy in your community.

World's Forests 1 edition: A lesson plan for each section of the World's Forest 1 edition to engage students regarding the status of forestland across Earth.

  • Inquiry 1 Lesson Plan- Use this lesson plan with Inquiry 1, which focuses on latitude and the world's forests.
  • Inquiry 2 Lesson Plan- Use this lesson plan with Inquiry 2. Look at renewable and nonrenewable resources, as well as how much forest land is used per person and the ways in which forested land is being used.
  • Inquiry 3 Lesson Plan- Use this lesson plan with Inquiry 3, which focuses on the carbon cycle and the forests which hold carbon.
  • Inquiry 4 Lesson Plan- Use this lesson plan with Inquiry 4, which focuses on the concept of sustainability, criteria, and indicators.

Ecosystem Services edition: Students use graphic organizers to help them read and understand the articles in the Ecosystem Services edition. Included is an optional internet lesson plan that helps students think critically about land cover and ecosystem services.

Climate Change Series: This lesson plan helps students break down sections of articles into main ideas as gets them thinking about how they can reduce their carbon footprint. 

Animals and Ecosystems of the Southwest United States Investi-gator: Everybody makes mistakes. Use this lesson plan to help discuss mistakes with students, as well as the best way to fix a mistake.

"The Scientific Process" - Lesson Plans for a Year

Table of Contents for Scientific Process Table of contents for Natural Inquirer "Scientific Process" year-long lesson plan.

Welcome to Natural Inquirer Brief overview of all the lessons and a rationale for using them in the classroom.

Natural Inquirer Staff Contact Information Natural Inquirer staff is happy to answer any questions you have regarding the products and these year-long lesson plan.

National Science Education Standards Natural Inquirer "Scientific Process" year-long lesson plans help support some of the National Science Education Standards.

What is the Scientific Process? An introduction to the scientific process and how the scientific process relates to Natural Inquirer.

Unit One: Lesson 1 - Who Is A Scientist?  This lesson provides students with an opportunity to identify and discuss their perceptions of scientists and describe what different scientists do in the Forest Service.

Unit One: Lesson 2 - What it Means To Be A Scientist? What Is The Scientific Process?  After completing this lesson, students will be able to describe the scientific process and what it means to be a scientist. Use this Student Sheet as a resource for this lesson.

Unit One: Lesson 3- The BIG Idea - Thinking About Science and the Environment This lesson introduces students to the "Thinking about Science" and "Thinking about Environment" sections in Natural Inquirer journals. Use this Student Sheet as a resource for this lesson.

Unit Two: Lesson 1- Searching the Literature and Defining the Problem, Part 1 Students will be able to identify a problem and explain how research helps to identify a problem. Use this Student Sheet as a resource for this lesson.

Unit Two: Lesson 2- Searching the Literature and Defining the Problem, Part 2 In this lesson, students will learn to identify and research a science problem.

Unit Two: Lesson 3- Designing the Experiment and Answering the Question In this lesson, students will learn how to read and explain information from a scientific article, and will design ways to solve scientific problems. Use this Student Sheet as a resource for this lesson.

Unit Two: Lesson 4- Discussing the Findings and Implications In this lesson, students will learn to read, analyze, and communicate the important findings in a scientific article. Use this Student Sheet as a resource for this lesson.

Unit Two: Lesson 5- Tables, Charts, and Graphs In this lesson, students will learn how to read and create graphs for a scientific article.

Unit Three: Lesson 1- Reviewing the Scientific Process This lesson provides a review of all the previous lessons on the scientific process.

Unit Three: Lesson 2- Culminating Project This lesson is the culminating project for the scientific process unit. In this lesson, students research a science problem and then create their own Natural Inquirer article describing their research.

Natural Inquirer Student Notes Page. A page for students to take notes.