Saturday, April 7, 2012

science lessons

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The following is an activity that teachers can use with their students during a unit of study on natural disasters. It has been adapted from an activity that I found in the idea bank on the Sofweb website. The reason I chose this activity is because it successfully integrates the science and technology KLA’s. I also chose it because it can be modified and utilised in a variety of ways to suit a range of purposes. For example

ɨ Activity could be performed individually, in pairs or in small groups.

ɨ It could be performed in class time or set as a homework activity assuming all children have Internet and computer access.

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ɨ It could be used as an assessment task for the science and technology KLA’s.

ɨ It could be simplified or extended depending on time available.

ɨ The basic idea and format could be used for other topics.

ɨ It could be modified to suit various levels.

ɨ The assessment rubric could be modified to suit other KLA’s.


Natural Disasters


4 (years 5 & 6)


Approximately 5 students

Students work individually


ɨ To increase students knowledge about natural disasters and their causes.

ɨ To develop new skills in technology using PowerPoint and Paint.

ɨ To explore a new way of presenting information.


Science � Earth and space sciences 4.1

Relate the occurrence of natural events to atmospheric changes and movements of the Earth’s crust and mantle. (Science CSFII, 000)

Technology � Information 4.

Develop preferred solutions to information problems experienced by various audiences, using a range of information technology skills, processes and equipment. (Technology CSFII, 000)


Following the introduction of a unit of work on natural disasters, students will be required to research a disaster on their own choice then document the sequence of the disaster using computer programs such a Microsoft PowerPoint and Paint.


Access to and familiarity with Microsoft PowerPoint and a graphics program such as Microsoft Paint.

Internet Access.


1. Students research a natural disaster of their own choice. The following are some suggested websites however students are encouraged to find some of their own.




. Students select a scene and save the picture as scene one.

. With the picture still on the screen, students use drawing tools to make slight changes to depict the next moment in time of a natural disaster. i.e. earthquake, cyclone etc.

4. This second picture is saved as scene two.

5. Continue the above process making small changes to the scene renaming the changed pictures in consecutive number order.

6. Use each consecutive picture on a new PowerPoint slide.

7. Sound may be added to enhance each scene.

8. Create a self-running PowerPoint slide show.

. Include one or two slides summarising an explanation of the cause of the natural disaster in terms of movements in the earth’s crust or changes in the atmosphere.

10. Restrict students to a series of 6-8 pictures in their sequence

11. Students should plan their sequence on paper before using the computer.


The following is an assessment Rubric that I found on the Internet http//

I have modified the Rubric so that it meets the requirements of this particular activity. Teachers may wish to hand it out to students before they commence the activity so they are aware of the marking schedule. If teachers are setting this activity as a learning activity that will not be used for assessment then the Rubric can be ignored.


RESEARCH 10 Notes indicate accurate research from at least four sources 8 Notes indicate relevant info from at least two sources 6 Notes indicate recorded info from one source

PLANNING 8 Storyboard illustrates slide presentation with sketches of each slide including text, colour, audio etc. Slides are numbered and there is logical sequence. 6 Sketches include titles and text and are in sequential order. 4 Very few sketches that do not provide an overview of the presentation.

INTRO 6 Presents overall topic and catches audience’s interest. 4 Shows some structure but does not create a strong sense of what is to follow. Does not orient the audience to what will follow

CONTENT 10 Clear and concise with logical progression of ideas and supporting info. Info is accurate and current. 7 Includes some persuasive info with few facts. 5 Includes little persuasive info and only a few facts. Info is incorrect or out of date.

TEXT 5 Fonts are easy to read. Headings are appropriate. Good use of background colours. Occasionally, font and other effects detract rather than enhance readability. 1 Text difficult to read. Poor use of headings, formatting etc.

LAYOUT 7 Aesthetically pleasing. Appropriate use of headings and space. 5 Uses horizontal and vertical white space appropriately. Layout appears cluttered or uses a distracting background.

GRAPHICS SOUND & ANIMATION 4 Enhance overall presentation. Closely related to topic. Some graphics and sounds may seem unrelated. 1 Graphics do not enhance understanding of concepts.



Because I have not had the opportunity to teach science during my school placements this year I have no examples of student work for this activity. As with student performance across all KLA’s however, I would expect a huge range in the standard that this activity is performed. Factors affecting this range will be

ɨ Prior knowledge of PowerPoint and Paint

ɨ Student effort

ɨ General Literacy skills

ɨ Ability to research and work independently


ɨ Will students work best individually, in pairs or in small groups?

ɨ Do you have the necessary training/knowledge to successfully run this activity?

ɨ Does the school have sufficient computer access?

ɨ How will you provide support for students who are struggling?

ɨ How much time will you allocate for this activity? (see suggested outline)


Lesson 1

Introduce activity

Hand out assessment sheet if necessary

Students research websites that may be useful


Students who lacking PowerPoint/Paint skills complete online tutorial

Others continue researching Internet and library for information on chosen disaster


Final day for research and tutorials


Students begin work on planning their storyboards

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