Grade 6Science

Focus: In this unit, students investigate the phenomenon of natural hazards. Using the phenomenon of a tsunami, this unit examines the causes and effects of tsunamis, ways science can help us understand their origins and paths, and what we can do to protect our communities from damage. The subtitle of this unit is Where do natural hazards happen, and what can we do to prepare for them? Phenomena such as floods, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and lightning are all hazards that students have some knowledge of or experience with. By developing knowledge of tsunamis, students can apply their scientific knowledge to protecting their homes and towns against all forms of destructive natural phenomena. This unit allows students to observe the phenomenon of tsunamis in detail and then spend time working with classmates to analyze the shared experience, formulate new questions, and developing new strategies for answering them. Students explore concepts that include the following:

  • What happens to a community when a tsunami occurs?
  • What causes a tsunami to form and move?
  • How are tsunamis detected and warning signals sent?
  • How can we reduce damage from a tsunami wave?
  • How can we effectively prepare our communities for a natural hazard?

As students move through their day-to-day activities, they will also read Core Knowledge literacy selections. These include factual articles, history of the sciences, art and literature, spotting bad science in the media and advertisements, graphics comprehension, research-type articles, reliability of sources, and other areas of science literacy.

Lesson Numbers:

  • Teacher Guide: 10 Lessons
  • Student Reader: 4 Collections

Lesson time:

  • Lesson can be competed in one or more class periods.
  • A Pacing Guide, found in Online Resources, offers the suggestion that the entire unit should take about 19 days to complete if class is held each day.
  • A complete list of materials needed to complete the unit is also provided in the Online Resources.
  • The Core Knowledge Student Reader includes one reading collection per week for every week of the unit. A week’s reading collection relates to the lessons completed in the previous week.
    • The reading is assigned at the beginning of the week with the accompanying writing exercise due at the end of the week.
    • The reading and writing exercises are designed to be completed by students independently, with brief, supporting, teacher-facilitated discussions at the beginning, midpoint, and end of the week.

Additional Search Terms for the Student Reader:

• science literacy • hazard • natural hazard • tsunami • magnitude • wildfire • waterspout • pandemic • earthquake • tsunameter • pandemic • landslide • nonfiction • informational text

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