Building Scientific Ideas with Interactive Read-Alouds
Lesson Objective: Use nonfiction texts to learn about scientific models
Grades K-2 / Science / Modeling

Thought starters

  1. What parts of the books did the teachers choose to focus on?
  2. Why?
  3. How can informational texts support scientific sense-making?
  4. How do the teachers help students critique science ideas and representations in books?
Its taking one concept and focusing on it to allow a deeper look at a specific object. Its very interactive. The students were very engaged.
Recommended (1)
Excellent reminder to limit content, but go deeper into a single concept.
Recommended (1)
Like the way you break up the scientific model into a small manageable part for kids. Also good getting pupil feedback as you can check how they are thinking. They also have the opportunity to add knowledge that is already in their heads!
Recommended (1)
I like how this method is able to focus on one part of a science book and explore it further. Often the Science Books are full of too much information for one sitting with students.
Recommended (1)
Where are you getting the materials (blacklines, perhaps lesson plans) for these activities? Thanks
Recommended (3)


  • Building Scientific Ideas with Interactive Read-Alouds Transcript


    +++ 00:00:03 +++
    Michelle Salgado: The green color in the

    Building Scientific Ideas with Interactive Read-Alouds Transcript


    +++ 00:00:03 +++
    Michelle Salgado: The green color in the leaves help them to absorb or hold sunlight.

    +++ 00:00:09 +++
    Fallon King: An interactive read-aloud is when you, as the teacher, have preplanned exactly what piece of the text you're going to use and you have a specific teaching point that you're looking for. So you model for the students how you are taking information and then you give them an opportunity to try that on.

    Scientific Modeling:
    Building Scientific Ideas with Interactive

    +++ 00:00:32 +++
    Kaia Tomokiyo: Today when we read this book, we're going to be thinking, how are these ideas the same, different, or maybe a new idea from what we had before?

    +++ 00:00:39 +++
    Michelle Salgado: When we ask students to model something, this is something that we see represented in books. It's part of our everyday life, modeling.

    Lower Third:
    Michelle Salgado
    Instructional Coach/PhD Student
    University of Washington

    +++ 00:00:46 +++
    Michelle Salgado: We didn't focus on the entire book because a lot of science texts are information rich. There's a lot to go through. So we pulled out just one page that included a model.

    +++ 00:00:57 +++
    Michelle Salgado: We're going to read about something you kind of already know about, but we're going to look deep inside of a leaf.

    Inquiry Question #1
    How can we use informational texts
    To support scientific sense-making?
    Fallon King: Today we started with an interactive read-aloud.

    Fallon King's 1st/2nd Grade Class
    Cedarhurst Elementary, Burien WA
    Michelle Salgado: Chlorophyll gives the leaves their green coloring.
    Lower Third:
    Fallon King
    1st/2nd Grade Teacher
    Cedarhurst Elementary, Burien WA
    Fallon King: We shared just a piece of a book to talk to the kids about the importance of leaves and how they are structured to give the tree energy and make food.

    +++ 00:01:21 +++
    Michelle Salgado: This is what the inside of a leaf looks like.
    Tip: Select specific content to reason about.
    Michelle Salgado: Every single leaf on the apple tree has this inside of it. Is that amazing?
    Students: Mm-hmm.
    Michelle Salgado: So we have the veins. What do you guys think the veins are for? Go ahead and turn to your neighbor, and if you want to hold onto a leaf to take a look.
    Michelle Salgado: What do you think those veins in the leaf are for? Alyssa?

    +++ 00:01:46 +++
    Student: Maybe it catches water.
    Michelle Salgado: I see some me toos. I heard that answer a couple times. Anastasia?
    Student: To catch sun.
    Michelle Salgado: It's not a lockstep drill kind of instruction. There's a lot more freedom and we really do care about responsive teaching. We want students to share ideas and questions that they have.
    Michelle Salgado: Leaves are very important to the tree. You guys know why? They make a kind of sugar that is the tree's food. Leaves need sunlight, water and air to make this food. Alyssa, do you have something to add on?

    +++ 00:02:21 +++
    Student: No, I had a question.
    Fallon King: A question.
    Student: How come their food is sugar, not like healthy food, like we eat healthy food to keep us alive, not like go crazy when we eat sugar?

    +++ 00:02:36 +++
    Fallon King: Excellent question. You know how when you bite into an apple, it tastes sweet?
    Students: Yeah.
    Fallon King: Well, an apple has a type of sugar in it, and so some foods have sugar in it that's good for your body, just like the tree needs some sugar that's good for its roots and its trunk and its branches and its leaves. Those are really good questions.

    +++ 00:02:57 +++
    Michelle Salgado: Yeah, it's always good, when you read a book, to ask questions about it, because maybe you don't always agree with what you read. So just like Alyssa did, that was excellent.
    Michelle Salgado: Just that questioning of getting students to think critically, I think is really important, because it allows us to not just step back and accept everything, which is really a life skill.
    Tip: Highlight particular modeling
    Michelle Salgado: We're going to add to our models. Let's see. I'm going to draw a big box and I'm pretending like it's a microscope.

    +++ 00:03:24 +++
    Michelle Salgado: What we did focus on today was the zoom out box and really thinking about looking in closely at a leaf. So that was something they saw in the literature. We drew on the board. Students came up, multiple students contributed their ideas to it. And so let's see if we can incorporate this in some way in our models.
    Michelle Salgado: So you want to have orange be the color of the food?
    Student: It's an M, see?
    Michelle Salgado: And then label that, so that we know what it is.

    +++ 00:03:47 +++
    Fallon King: We looked for students that incorporated that zoom out box that we did in the beginning of the lesson, so there were some kids that used it in the literal way, of the way that we did in the lesson, and they zoomed out on the leaf and they put the things in there that the leaf needed for energy. But then they took it a step further, so there was a student who did a zoom out of an apple, and she showed that there were seeds inside. There were the inner workings of the apple going through an animal and coming out the other side.
    Inquiry Question #2
    How do we help students critique science
    Ideas and representations in books?
    Kaia Tomokiyo's Kindergarten Class
    Southern Heights Elementary, Seattle WA

    +++ 00:04:22 +++
    Kaia Tomokiyo: How did Arnold show hotness on his model?
    Student: He used red paint.
    Kaia Tomokiyo: He used red. Is that right, Arnold?
    Lower Third:
    Kaia Tomokiyo
    Kindergarten Teacher
    Southern Heights Elementary, Seattle WA

    +++ 00:04:27 +++
    Kaia Tomokiyo: After we looked at other students' models and they gave comments and questions about the students' models, we looked at a model in a book.
    Kaia Tomokiyo: So we're looking at the model in the book and we're trying to think, did that model remember everything?
    Michelle Salgado: This picture came from this book.

    +++ 00:04:42 +++
    Kaia Tomokiyo: That was also important, because we showed them that an author can write a book, but they might not include everything that you might include on your model. And so it showed them that we could also critique published work and show them the difference between published work and the work that we're doing, and tell them, "Hey, it's the same thing. You're also making a model. What can we add on this model that might be different?"

    +++ 00:05:03 +++
    Student: Then it goes into the other cloud and then it drops the water and then it makes another cloud. And then it goes into the new one and then it goes down.
    Michelle Salgado: Excellent. I think you guys are ready to share out. Yeah.

School Details

Cedarhurst Elementary School
611 South 132nd St
Burien WA 98168
Population: 615

Data Provided By:



Fallon King
Michelle Salgado
Kaia Tomokiyo


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