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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 2

Expected time frame: 2-3 lessons

These learning activities are designed to help students read science information texts to access key ideas about the classification of organisms according to what they eat and what a food chain is. They provide multiple opportunities for students to interact with the texts to familiarise them with these ideas, as well as key vocabulary and the use of classification and description in structuring science information texts. Teachers could choose from these activities to suit different learner needs.

Ensuring learners know the content and language learning outcomes

  • Share the learning outcomes, including language learning outcomes, with your students, for example:
    • I know how plants and animals get their food.
    • I know what a food chain is.
    • I know key vocabulary to classify organisms.
    • I can identify the main ideas in a scientific description.

Giving learners many opportunities to first notice then use new language

1. Classifying organisms

  • Identifying main ideas in paragraphs

    Ask students to read the text How Organisms Get Their Food (Word 49KB) . They write the heading that is the best main idea of each paragraph at the top of the correct paragraph. Note that there is one extra heading. Students could then compare and discuss their answers with a partner. Ask students to paste the text with the paragraph headings into their science books.

  • Dictogloss

    Use with the Dictogloss Summary (Word 34KB) text to help the students understand how organisms get their food. This activity involves listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. See dictogloss for instructions on how to use this strategy and why it is useful.

  • This text could also be used as a content cloze exercise to reinforce key vocabulary (nouns and noun phrases). See cloze (Word 25KB). The text could also be used as a sequencing activity with sentences cut up for students to re-order. See Sequencing Activity (Word 28KB).

Include opportunities for monitoring and self-evaluation

2. Metacognitive monitoring

Ask students to complete this self-checking activity:

When you have finished, ask yourself:

  • What can I remember from the last lesson?
  • Do I understand all the information in the text ‘How organisms get their food?’
  • Are there any other words I know in English about this topic?
  • If I close my book, how much can I write down about organisms in 5 minutes as a mind map?

Elicit as much information as you can from the students about the use of verbs in the dictogloss or cloze text. Build on this information using notes on The Language of Scientific Description (Word 33KB) as a display to the class.

Published on: 09 Jan 2018