Author:
Melody Casey
Subject:
English Language Arts, Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
Lower Primary
Grade:
2
Tags:
  • IRPELA
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Language:
    English

    Education Standards

    Synectics: Making Connections about Solar Energy Using Metaphorical Thinking and Analogies (AIG IRP)

    Synectics: Making Connections about Solar Energy Using Metaphorical Thinking and Analogies (AIG IRP)

    Overview

    This task will extend classroom integrated instruction within a science unit on weather, focusing on the sun's energy. AIG students will use synectics, write an opinion piece and create a collaborative digital product. After whole-class instruction on how the sun's energy heats the air, land and water, AIG students will engage in close reading of nonfiction texts about solar energy. They will then work in collaborative pairs to brainstorm and write similes using synectics to compare solar energy with seemingly unrelated items. The pairs will then create a digital product to publish and illustrate their extended similes. This lesson was developed by NCDPI as part of the Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project. This lesson plan has been vetted at the state level for standards alignment, AIG focus, and content accuracy.

    Lesson Overview

    Brief Description of Lesson/Task/Activity: This task will extend classroom integrated instruction within a science unit on weather, focusing on the sun's energy. AIG students will use synectics, write an opinion piece and create a collaborative digital product. After whole-class instruction on how the sun's energy heats the air, land and water, AIG students will engage in close reading of nonfiction texts about solar energy. They will then work in collaborative pairs to brainstorm and write similes using synectics to compare solar energy with seemingly unrelated items. The pairs will then create a digital product to publish and illustrate their extended similes.

    Time Frame: Two 45-minute lesson periods

    Type of Differentiation for AIGs:

    • Enrichment
    • Extension
    • Acceleration

    Adaptations for AIGs:

    • Content
    • Process
    • Product

    Explanation of How Resource is Appropriate for AIGs: This enrichment task is appropriate for AIG students because it develops conceptual knowledge beyond the regular curriculum with open-ended creative thinking and focuses on a real-world need for education about solar energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. The task is also collaborative and requires higher order thinking as students create analogies between dissimilar things.

    Needed Resources/Materials:

    Sources:

    Teacher Notes: AIG students may complete the brainstorming, writing, and publishing of this task during literacy task block or science period as a compacted curriculum task.

    • You will need to prepare a Synectics bag or container. On the outside of the bag, write "A _________________is a lot like _________________, because…." and place strips of paper inside on which you have written the random items the students will compare to the main concept: Examples- a birthday party, a video game, a banana, a scary movie, a book bag, etc. One item on each slip of paper.
    • Write items with which the students can relate well. 
    • It will be helpful to do a whole group example before pairing the students. 

    Stage 1: Engage

    At the conclusion of the whole class instruction on the sun as a source of light that warms the land, air and water during a weather earth science unit, meet with the AIG students to introduce the extended concept of solar energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. 

    Use the science probe listed in the resources to access their prior knowledge about solar energy. They may know about solar lights, batteries, and panels on buildings.

    Guide AIG students as they closely read informational texts on solar energy.

    Discuss the future use of solar power in our world as a needed alternative to fossil fuels.

    Focus on the following text dependent questions:

    • According to the text, what are renewable resources?
    • What examples of non-renewable resources did you find in the reading?
    • What does the author suggest are the benefits of solar energy?
    • As you reflect on the information in the text, what can you infer about the challenges of using solar energy?
    • What predictions can you make about the use of solar energy in the future?

    Stage 2: Elaborate

    Day One:

    • Model and explain Synectics as a creative thinking technique to help explore a topic or concept. Explain that they will compare solar energy with an unrelated item and stretch their thinking to force ways to make connections between the two. 
    • Present the Synectics bag and engage the students in an example. Write "Solar Energy is a lot like _________________because …____________” on the board or chart paper.
    • Draw a slip of paper from the bag. Fill in the blank with the item drawn from the bag. 
    • Give students time to think and then solicit and encourage ideas.  You may have to provide some ideas because this type of original thinking will be difficult at first. 
    • Example: Solar Energy is a lot like a birthday party because you get good results from both (presents and energy), because they both help people, because they both have light (from candles and the sun).
    • Pair the AIG students. Explain that they will work with a partner to brainstorm at least five similes. Have each pair draw a strip of paper from the Synectics bag. Give them time to collaborate. One person records the ideas generated. All ideas are accepted.

    Day Two:

    • The AIG partners rank and evaluate their list of similes generated in the previous session. They will collaborate to determine the best idea from the list.
    • They will expand their number one simile for how solar energy is related to the random item through writing an opinion piece to make the claim for their choice of simile as the best, provide reasons that support their opinion, and provide a concluding statement.
    • The partners will then publish their chosen simile and opinion paragraph and add illustrations using Canvastic or a similar program.

    Stage 3: Evaluate

    Partners will share their published opinion products with the group. 

    The brainstormed lists will be evaluated for fluency, original thinking, collaboration and understanding of concepts about solar energy.

    The published opinion pieces will be evaluated using a rubric to assess:

    • Introduction of  the topic they are writing about, 
    • statement of an opinion, 
    • reasons supplied that support the opinion, including explanation of their chosen simile
    • use of linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, 
    • concluding statement or section
    • use of Canvastic to digitally illustrate and publish the product