Discipline: Science

Grade Level: 7

Course: Life Science

©Literacy Design Collaborative. September 2011

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The Effect Algal Blooms Have on Marine Ecosystems
  • Skills Cluster 1: Preparing for the Task
    • Pacing Skill and Definition Mini-Task Instructional Strategies
      Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...)

      Skills Cluster 1: Preparing for the Task

      15 minutes

      1. Task Engagement:

      Ability to connect the task and new content to existing knowledge, skills, experiences, interests, and concerns.

      Short Constructed Response:

      In a quick-write, write your first reaction to the task prompt. Add some notes of things you know about this issue. Compare and contrast what you learned from previous concepts.


      • Link this task to earlier class content.
      • Discuss student responses.
      • Clarify timetable and support plans for the task.

      20 minutes

      2. Task Analysis:

      Ability to understand and explain the task's prompt and rubric.

      Short Constructed Response:

      In your own words, what are the important features of a good response to this prompt?


      • Discuss why this task is important to us and how it relates to our demographics (local and national).
      • Share examples from professional writers of types of text students will produce.
      • Discuss the importance of writing letters to public figures, ways to express ideas, and getting information out to the general public.
  • Skills Cluster 2: Reading Process
    • Pacing Skill and Definition Mini-Task Instructional Strategies
      Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...)

      Skills Cluster 2: Reading Process

      35 minutes

      1. Note Taking:

      Ability to read purposefully and select relevant information; to summarize and/or paraphrase.


      During presentation, list key essential concepts that define the Protist Kingdom and differentiate it from other kingdoms of organisms.

      Participates in discussion and provides credible responses to verbal questioning.

      • Present characteristics of the Protist Kingdom and how they are classified scientifically.
      • Compare and contrast these characteristics to the Prokaryotic Kingdoms.
      • Share the important roles of algae and relate their uses and niches.

      20 minutes

      2. Essential Vocabulary:

      Ability to apply strategies for developing an understanding of text by locating words and phrases that identify key concepts and facts, or information.


      In your notebook, list words and phrases essential to the texts. Add definitions and notes on connotation in this context.

      • Lists appropriate phrases.
      • Provides accurate definitions.
      • Discuss essential vocabulary such as; photosynthesis, chloroplast, algae, and algal blooms.

      30 minutes

      (same as above)


      Concept Map:

      Represent the relationship between photosynthesis and cellular respiration by designing a diagram of the chloroplast and the mitochondria and including products and reactants of each cellular process.

      • Designs an appropriate model that represents how the two processes work together to present a cycle within the eukaryotic plant cell.
      • Present the concepts of photosynthesis and cellular respiration and how these two organelles work together to provide energy for producers such as algae.
      • Discuss reactants and products of each process and how each depends on one another.
      • Relate these processes to what is occurring in pond water algae.

      60 minutes

      3. Making Inferences:

      Ability to make observations and relate these observations to key concepts and essential vocabulary learned.

      Short Constructed Response:

      How are protists classified?

      What characteristics define this kingdom of organisms?

      Draw and describe several of the organisms that you found in the pond water. Using the dichotomous key, try to identify the organisms you observed.

      Records appropriate observations using appropriate descriptive terms that relate to key concepts.

      • Pass out and explain “Life in a Drop of Water” pond water lab: using microscopes, students observe life in pond water.
      • Students identify key characteristics learned in previous lessons and record observations.
      • Using identification key or dichotomous key, students identify protists found in the water.

      35 minutes

      4. Active Reading:

      Ability to identify the central point and main supporting elements of a text.

      Short Constructed Response:

      Guided Reading:

      How does fertilizer get into the Mississippi River? What is the active ingredient in the fertilizer?

      How does fertilizer run-off promote a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico? How have algal blooms impacted marine life in the Gulf of Mexico?

      How do scientists plan to decrease the size of the “dead zone”?

      • Appropriately explains how algal blooms form and relates this process to the occurrence of such blooms in the Gulf of Mexico.
      • Answers questions with credible response.
      • Provide Kirsten Weir’s “Dead in the Water” article and discuss the value of the content as it relates to the demographics of the United States.
      • Discuss the causes of algal blooms and how they affect marine ecosystems.
      • On the board draw, out the process of algal bloom formations and the role bacteria play in the production of “hypoxic waters.”

      35 minutes

      (same as above)

      Short Constructed Response:

      Guided Reading:

      Nitrogen and phosphorous create favorable conditions for which organisms?

      What are the toxins produced by these algae?

      What specific health problems occur from these toxins?

      Explain how these toxins affect organisms found higher in the food chain?

      • Answers questions with credible responses.
      • Provide students with the excerpt from Elizabeth Carlisle’s “The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone and Red Tides.”
      • Discuss the cause of red tides and how this relates to typical algal blooms.
      • Discuss the effects red tides have on marine life, human health, tourism, fishing industries, and economic decline.

      40 minutes

      (same as above)

      Short Constructed Response:

      Guided Reading:

      What is being carried in dust clouds across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa, causing an increase in bacteria in surface water?

      What is the name of the bacteria causing algal blooms?

      How does this bacteria increase the amount of algae in the water?

      How are red tides devastating the region’s economy?

      How can red tides be predicted?

      • Answers questions with credible responses.
      • Provide Students with Kimbra Cutlip’s “Red Tide’s Weather Trail.”
      • Discuss favorable conditions for the formation of red tides.
      • Discuss the effects red tides have on marine life, human health, tourism, fishing industries, and economic decline.


      5. Scientific Inquiry

      Ability to use scientific concepts and apply them to develop or simulate experimental designs.

      Short Constructed Response

      Scientific Method:

      Design a controlled experiment that answers the question: How does fertilizer run-off impact pond water ecosystems?

      Come up with a hypothesis that addresses this scientific problem (Appendix: Dead in the Water Lab).

      Grade lab sheets, data analysis, observations, and data recording.

      • Provide students with the Dead in the Water Lab sheets and discuss procedures and pre-lab questions.
      • In the classroom, simulate the dead zone occurring in the Gulf of Mexico by setting up a controlled experiment consisting of three containers of pond water containing different fertilizer amounts. (Dead in the Water Lab)
      • Additional fertilizer will be added weekly to two groups as noted in lab instructions. (Dead in the Water Lab)
      • Make initial readings of turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and PH levels. Record this data on lab sheets weekly.
  • Skills Cluster 3: Transition to Writing
    • Pacing Skill and Definition Mini-Task Instructional Strategies
      Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...)

      Skills Cluster 3: Transition to Writing

      45 minutes

      1. Bridging

      Ability to begin linking reading results to writing task.


      Cause and Effect Concept Map:

      To organize the information you have read about, design a cause and effect map using the following main ideas:

      • Farm lands and fertilizer use
      • Mississippi River traveling into the Gulf of Mexico
      • Formation of algal blooms
      • Red tides
      • Disruptive ecosystem
      • Economic decline

      Check concept maps and provide appropriate feedback.

      • Using the article read in class, students should be prompted to organize their ideas on the cause and effect of several main ideas associated with algal blooms and red tides.
      • Explain how designing concept maps is an essential step in the pre-writing process.

      20 minutes

      2. Academic Integrity:

      Ability to use and credit sources appropriately.


      Citations and Uses:

      Practice ways to include citations in a paper to support ideas and properly provide credit to authors.

      Work meets expectations if it is correctly cited.

      • After students complete the cause and effect concept map, have them list quotes from the readings that support the ideas they listed.
      • Have students practice various ways to properly incorporate these quotes into their paper using correct methods of crediting the author.
  • Skills Cluster 4: Writing Process
    • Pacing Skill and Definition Mini-Task Instructional Strategies
      Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...)

      Skills Cluster 4: Writing Process

      25 minutes

      1. Controlling Idea:

      Ability to establish a controlling idea and consolidate information relevant to task.

      Short Constructed Response:

      Write an opening paragraph that includes a controlling idea and sequences the key points you plan to make in your composition.

      • Writes a concise summary statement or draft opening.
      • Provides direct answer to main prompt requirements.
      • Establishes a controlling idea.
      • Identifies key points that support development of argument.
      • Students should be prompted to write the opening paragraph of their letter.
      • What are they addressing in their letter?
      • Why is this an important issue?
      • What makes the information they will discuss credible?

      50 minutes

      2. Planning

      Ability to develop a line of thought and text structure appropriate to an information/explanation task.


      Create an outline based on your notes and reading in which you state your claim, sequence your points, and note your supporting evidence.

      • Creates an outline or organizer.
      • Supports controlling idea. Uses evidence from texts read earlier.
      • Have students come up with their own outline for their letter in a sequencing map that includes major concepts they plan to discuss in each paragraph such as:
      • - Define algae and explain their important ecological niche

        - How algal blooms develop

        - How fertilizer enhances growth of algae

        - The ecological effects of algal blooms

        - The economic effects of algal blooms

        - Evidence from their experiments that supports the effects algal blooms have on marine life. (Students will have completed all data collection from the Dead in the Water Lab and formed a conclusion from evidence.)

        - Brainstorm and discuss possible ways to decrease the effects of algal blooms.

      60 minutes

      3. Development

      Ability to construct an initial draft with an emerging line of thought and structure.

      Long Constructed Response:

      Write an initial draft complete with opening, development, and closing; insert and cite textual evidence.

      • Provides complete draft with all parts.
      • Supports the opening in the later sections with evidence and citations.
      • Encourage students to refer back to their opening paragraph as they work on developing their letter to make sure they are supporting the main ideas of the letter.
      • Have students use their sequencing maps as well as the cause and effect maps to organize the sequencing of their letters.
      • Remind students use appropriate transition words to link ideas.

      60 minutes

      4. Revision

      Ability to refine text, including line of thought, language usage, and tone as appropriate to audience and purpose.

      Long Constructed Response

      Refine composition’s analysis, logic, and organization of ideas and points. Use textual evidence carefully, with accurate citations. Decide what to include and what to exclude.

      • Provides complete draft with all parts.
      • Supports the opening in the later sections with evidence and citations.
      • Improves earlier edition.
      • Provide useful feedback that balances support for strengths and clarity about weaknesses.
      • Provide students with a checklist of ideas and skills that will strengthen their paper and have the students highlight these in their paper in order to prove they have incorporated them in their writings.

      50 minutes

      5. Editing

      Ability to proofread and format a piece to make it more effective.

      Long Constructed Response

      Revise draft to have sound spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. Adjust formatting as needed to provide clear, appealing text.

      • Provides draft that is free from distracting surface errors.
      • Uses format that supports purpose.
      • Teach a short list of proofreading marks.
      • Assign students to proofread each other’s letters and provide feedback.


      6. Completion

      Ability to submit final piece that meets expectations.

      Long Constructed Response:

      Turn in your complete set of drafts, plus the final version of your piece.

      Fits the “Meets Expectations” category in the rubric for the teaching task.

      • Teacher and peers provide meaningful feedback.
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