Evaluating Information

"Big 6" Lesson Ideas for Evaluating Information

These three lessons all refer to Table 7-1 regarding content-area applications of the Big 6 (Mills, 2006).

1. My first lesson (which will take several days to complete) using the Big 6 model is in the content area of science at the kindergarten level.  Each year, we use our solids and liquids hands on-science kit to explore sinking and floating. Since this process requires scientific exploration and problem-solving, the Big 6 model lends itself to this lesson. The students will be guided as needed through the Big 6 process since they are kindergarteners and are learning English. First, we will define our problem--what things sink and what things float?  Students will complete a double bubble thinking map with what they already know about this topic. Then we will design our problem solving strategy, which is to test various objects from our kit in water.  We will decide which group will test which objects and how they will record their findings (I will let the class have some say in this and will give them several choices such as flip cameras or a pictorial checklist.) Then we will implement the problem-solving strategy by conducting our experiments. One of the most important aspects of this lesson for information evaluation purposes will be the interpretation of our findings. We will discuss why we might need to conduct the experiments again to have reliable results. The students will also be expected to communicate their findings as a group (via flip cameras, Kidspiration, a drawing, etc. This is their student product.) Lastly, we will evaluate the results to see if any patterns appear and to see if we can determine why the objects sink or float.  We will also explore the Digger and the Gang sink or float game to see if our conclusions concur with the information presented in the game and to further explore the concept of sinking and floating (BBC, n.d.).  Students will be encouraged to discuss experiences from real-life when objects have sunk or floated, and to use the information to understand why.  

2. Our kindergarteners are soon to begin a unit on The Frog Prince which will include a marionette show performed by the Nashville Public Library players. Within this unit, we will explore several versions of the frog prince story, some of which are very different from the traditional tale.  We will use the Big 6 model for reading to explore and compare these versions.  First, we will read each story and examine our question, which is "how are these stories different?"  We will then begin a tree map which will be used to compare the stories for various story elements (our key terms and concepts as listed in the Big 6 reading model,) including characters, setting, plot, and ending (these elements are included in kindergarten standards.)  Thirdly, we will go back into the texts to choose the words, sentences, and paragraphs that will help us to understand how the texts are different.  Then we will complete the map with our information. We will then discuss the map again to ensure understanding and the students will create a drawing showing different elements of two of the stories of their choosing (for example, one story shows the princess throwing the frog as the catalyst for him becoming the prince while another story has the princess kissing him in order for this to happen.) Students will explain their picture orally as appropriate to their language proficiency level, and this will be recorded on the flip camera to create a presentation for the other classes who are exploring the frog prince books.

3. My final big 6 lesson for kindergarten is in the content area of science for use with our "animals two by two" science kit. Each year, we receive goldfish and guppies.  I would like to make the learning more inquiry-based, and believe that the Big 6 model for science would help me to do this. First, I would ask the children what we need to discover about these animals to help them live and grow (to lead them into a discussion of living things' need for food and shelter.)  Once we have determined our questions regarding what the fish need (and if the two kinds of fish need different things,) we will think about where we can find this information (our problem-solving strategy.) Then we will explore the sources we determine (which will include searching Book River, a very age-appropriate picture-based library catalog, age-appropriate, topical internet sites, our texts that go with the science kit, and any other sources the children suggest.) We will research together using our ELMO and digital projector. When we find the answers, children will record them in their science journals (drawing what the fish eat, where they need to live, what they need to thrive and grow, etc.) Then we will use this information to inform our care of the fish. We will check our responses by seeing that the fish grow and thrive when cared for in the appropriate manner. Then we will create a class book with each child drawing a picture and dictating or writing (as appropriate) about what they learned about the needs of the fish. We could also do the same task using a Kidspiration slideshow.


BBC. (n.d.) Digger and the Gang--Float and Sink [game]. Retrieved November 
       13, 2010, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/digger/5_7entry/8.shtml

Mills, S. (2006). Using the Internet for Active Teaching and Learning. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.