This unit will begin with a brainstorming session on what students know about air pollution, what questions they want to ask about air pollution, in other words a KWL chart. Students throughout the unit will add to this chart of what they have learned about air pollution. Students will have hands-on learning experiences in testing air quality. This chart will be kept in their interactive notebooks.
An interactive notebook is a notebook that contains all the information that is given in each lesson. Hand outs are glued into the notebook and pages are based on the Cornell note-taking strategy which is a two-column page where questions are on the left side and notes are on the right side. An objective for the day is written at the top of the page and each page has a date. This is always on the right side of the notebook, which is the input. Students summarize what they have learned each day at the bottom of this page. A demonstration of the content knowledge is displayed on the left side page of the notebook. This demonstration is homework and laboratory data sheets. All pages are numbered and a Table of Contents is updated daily with new entries added every day. The purpose for this method is to help students retain what they have learned. This is vitally important since the units I teach will be on the eighth grade Connecticut Mastery Test and these units will not be revisited again until such time.
Students will be introduced to new vocabulary through a method called "matchbook foldable" which is a 3 x 6 inch piece of construction paper folded to resemble a matchbook. Students will draw a picture of the new word or concept on the front cover, the phonetic spelling will be on the inner top flap, the definition will be written on the inner bottom flap and the word, or concept will be written on the small flap in the front. What that helps students to do is to visualize new concepts in their minds in order for retention to take place. There are many other foldables that will enhance comprehension and retention of key concepts.