Acquiring English through Children's Science Books

Eloise Gomez, Bassett High School

Author Profile


During a 10-week unit study of basic Earth Science concepts, students will read and translate children's books on related Earth Science topics.



6-12 grade beginning and beginning Intermediate level English Language Students.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

For the target population (newcomers) this unit is intended for, a mastered skill set is very hard to require with consistency or reliability as most Beginning and Beginning Intermediate students arrive to U.S. schools with a variety of general science preparation and skill levels which are representative of several factors of literacy and schooling in general. Their range can be anywhere from 3rd grade literacy levels to 11th grade literacy levels. Instructors need to be prepared to allow for lesson differentiation.

It is hoped that when delivering this lesson, instructors can also work with this group of students in another English development class to monitor and provide general English Language Development support curriculum. This intervention at its best. This unit has a heavy emphasis on acquiring and learning in the English language via Earth Science content and curriculum.

How the activity is situated in the course

Curriculum for English Language Learners (10-week unit)


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Using SDAIE methods, Experiential Learning, and Project Based Learning, to engage students to promote inquisitiveness and curiosity about the origins and limits of life on Earth using mandated standards to teach students. Later, have them develop projects based on their interests and questions of curiosity and wonderment. An example of a project would be to have students develop a Children's Book they could share and present to their classmates and eventually to their family members, especially their younger siblings to encourage their scientific thinking and literacy skills.

The following spells out the general learning goals and the sequence of those instructional objectives. These weeks' content are fluid and can be adjusted in their sequence depending on the textbook used and students' prior knowledge. Although there is five weeks of lessons shown below, these should be used as guides and some lessons may last more than one week, depending on progress of students.

Week 1: Describe Earth's four major sphere's, differentiate among the three parts of the geosphere and state the value of the Theory of plate tectonics to Earth sciences. Representing Earth's surface: Locate points on Earth surface by their latitude and longitude, Explain what makes topographical maps different from other maps

Week 2: The Rock Cycle: Define"rock" and Identify the major types of rock and explain how they differ. Explain the rock cycle. List the forces that power Earth's rock cycle. Describe igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock and the processes involved in their formations.

Week 3:Earth's Layered Structure: List and describe the layers of Earth based on composition and physical properties. Continental Drift: Describe the hypothesis of continental drift and evaluate the evidence in support of the theory. Plate tectonics: Explain the theory of plate tectonics. Describe the lithospheric plates and identify the three types of plate boundaries.

Week 4: Testing Plate Tectonics: Explain how seafloor spreading and continental rifting cause formation of new lithosphere, describe subduction zones, divergent and convergent boundaries. Describe magnetic reversals providing evidence in support of the plate tectonics theory. Evaluate how earthquakes, ocean drilling, and hot spots provide evidence to support plate tectonic theory.

Week 5: Discovering Earth's History: Explain how rocks allow geologists to interpret Earth's History. Explain how uniformitarianism helps explain Earth's features. List the key principles of relative dating and describe how geologists use relative dating in their work.

Project Based Learning: During week 5, students will be assigned the translation of three of the Children's books in the Joides Resolution Website. During week 10 they will be assigned to create an original children's book. In actuality, the author spent 10 weeks delivering the unit.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description and Teaching Materials

5-week Earth Science Introductory Unit for English Language Learners (Can be executed in live instruction or Distance Learning Formats)

Earth Four Sphere's (Week 1)

The Earth's History (Week 2)

The Rock Cycle Week 3

Plate Tectonics and Pangea (Week 4)

The Ocean Floor (Week 5)

Teaching Notes and Tips

Project Based Learning: During week 5, students will be assigned the translation of three of the Children's books in the Joides Resolution Website. During week 10 they will be assigned to create an original children's book. In actuality, the author spent 10 weeks delivering the unit.


There will be various types of assessment both formative and summative. Among the Formative Assessments that will be used after specific lessons will be:

After each of the weekly lessons, student will have to enter two learnings Outcome Statements.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 732kB Jun4 21) per 10 minutes of comprehensible input (content, by teacher, video or reading) in the chat (remote) or on paper when in classroom. These learning outcomes serve as summary and for checks for understanding of content presented. Here they will often be asked to ask a question using vocabulary/concept specific terms. These exit tickets are used as quick and useful formative assessment. More quick formative assessments can occur with Quiziz interactive activities that can be collected electronically and be placed straight into teacher's gradebook. Also, students to write a five-question quiz on content sections along with an answer key. Then students ask one another the questions.

More options include:

  • Give students the steps of the scientific method in random order and have them put the steps in the correct order.
  • Have students build models of different processes, trifolds and other or folded pamphlets of main points of concepts.
  • Have students draw diagrams of the three types of plate boundaries with a caption of the movements of the plates.
  • Have students form groups and collaborate on Jamboard discussing specific content or learning objectives.

References and Resources

  • A good diagnostic test to determine the literacy levels of their students. Teachers need to seek out a good mastery test in the same instrument or type to measure progress of students' literacy at the end of the unit.
  • ELD standards for their state. 
  • NGSS
  • 2050 Science Framework.