Curriculum Component


 Standard Format     Sample Lesson   What are Instructional Objectives   The Poster Project

Goal: For participating teachers to integrate concepts and innovative pedagogies learned and experienced in the workshops into their curriculum.  Each teacher will develop three lesson plans to be taught in the first semester of the ’07 school year.  A “lesson plan” as we define it, means a typical high school or middle school “class” of about forty five minutes.  The plans do not have to be consecutive in terms of subject or concept.

 Plan: During the first week of the workshop, teachers will learn Earth Science concepts, become aware of and knowledgeable about the use of NASA imagery for teaching, develop abilities to use scientific equipment to monitor specified phenomena, and review pedagogical issues related to teaching and learning.

During the second week of the workshop, teachers will transform their learning into practical ideas for teaching students science. They will consider how to integrate Earth Science concepts and NASA data and images into their own curriculum. Teachers will develop 3 lesson plan ideas (new lessons or modifications of lessons already taught) - see Lesson Plan Requisites below for details. 

Teachers may work collaboratively on any part of these requirements. They are expected to leave the workshop with lesson plan ideas that can be integrated into their own curriculum and reflect their state’s standards.

Curriculum Component Requisites:  Three Lesson Plans

Meet with fellow participants (shared grade level or discipline) to develop lesson plan ideas that reflect what you have learned in STEM Earth Central and meet your curriculum requirements and goals.

The lesson plan ideas should reflect components of the workshop that have meaning to your everyday practice, utilize NASA resources, and incorporate some elements of inquiry-based instruction. Inquiry-based instruction is a pedagogical approach that accesses students’ prior knowledge, engages students in a topic, allows students to explore the topic and develop questions to investigate, promotes students’ investigation of their questions through data collection, promotes students’ explanations based on investigation evidence, challenges students to elaborate on a topic by applying their learning to new problems or situations, and affords time for evaluation (formative assessment) to benefit the teacher and students.

You will be sharing your ideas for your lessons by creating an informal poster to be put on display at the end of the second week of the Earth Central course.  Materials for the poster will be provided.  More details are provided below.

The fine print:  When citing materials and resources, please make sure that you cite them specifically so that others can easily access the materials. This includes specific URL's and complete bibliographic information. Please check your lessons for errors.  For example, in one lesson last year, a group of 8th graders were asked to write an open response (short essay) answer to a yes-no question.  Another bit of advice for your three lessons:  keep them simple.  You need not write out an entire unit, a month-long plan, a quarter outline -  or any of that.  Just three lessons.


Please Note:   For participants seeking THREE CREDITS  and a GRADE for this course:

Earth Central Participants who opt to take Earth Central ’07 for three credits ( instead of PDP’s or other forms of continuing ed units) are required to write three formal lessons and submit them online by October 1st, 2007. )Using a standardize format, (online at with a hard copy attached) please post your lessons on the UMassK12 forum page as attachments by October 1st. As a follow up, please send us an informal evaluation/reflection of the three lessons by December 15th

Standard Lesson Plan Format

(See the Earth Central Website for a Word template)


Subject taught:

Grade level:

TOPIC of lesson:


State Curriculum Standards:

Rationale: (Why have you developed this lesson?  Where does it fit in your curriculum? What student/curricular need are you meeting?)

Instructional Strategies: (direct instruction, inquiry-based, discussion)

Materials: (necessary hands-on items for use by teacher and students)

Resources: (books, articles, website URL’s)

Activities: (What will the teacher/students do?)

Extensions: (Possible additional activities, follow-up lesson ideas, websites)

Special Education Accommodations & Modifications: (not known, of course, until you are teaching your classes)

Assessment: (How will you determine if students have met your objectives? How will you know what the students have learned?  Incorporate formative as well as summative assessments.)

What is an Instructional Objective? Borrowed from:

Indicates what is to be learned - this must be a complete objective. Write this objective in terms of what an individual student will do, not what a group will do.  Limit your objective to one behavioral verb.

APPLY A RULE: To state a rule as it applies to a situation, object or event that is being analyzed. The statement must convey analysis of a problem situation and/or its solution, together with the name or statement of the rule that was applied.
ASSESS:  To stipulate the conditions by which the behavior specified in an objective may be ascertained. Such stipulations are usually in the form of  written descriptions. For obvious reasons, assess is rarely used as a verb in behavioral objectives at the elementary school level.
CLASSIFY: To place objects, words, or situations into categories according to defined criteria for each category. The criteria must be made known to the student.
COMPOSE: To formulate a composition in written, spoken, musical or artistic form.
CONSTRUCT: To make a drawing, structure, or model that identifies a designated object or set of conditions.
DEFINE: To stipulate the requirements for inclusion of an object, word, or situation in a category or class. Elements of one or both of the following must be included: (1) The characteristics of the words, objects, or situations that are included in the class or category. (2) The characteristics of the words, objects, or situations that are excluded in the class or category. To define is to set up criteria for classification.
DEMONSTRATE: The student performs the operations necessary for the application of an instrument, model, device, or implement. NOTE: There is a temptation to use demonstrate in objectives such as, "the student will demonstrate his knowledge of vowel sounds." As the verb is defined, this is improper use of it.
DESCRIBE: To name all of the necessary categories of objects, object properties, or event properties that are relevant to the description of a designated situation. The objective is of the form, "The student will describe this order, object, or event," and does not limit the categories that may be used in mentioning them. Specific or categorical limitations, if any, are to be given in the performance standards of each objective. When using this verb in an objective, it is helpful to include a statement to the effect of what the description, as a minimum, must reference.
DIAGRAM: To construct a drawing with labels and with a specified organization or structure to demonstrate knowledge of that organization or structure. Graphic charting and mapping are types of diagramming, and these terms may be used where more exact communication of the structure of the situation and response is desired.
DISTINGUISH: To identify under conditions when only two contrasting identifications are involved for each response.
ESTIMATE: To assess the dimension of an object, series of objects, event or condition without applying a standard scale or measuring device. Logical techniques of estimation, such as are involved in mathematical interpolation, may be used. See MEASURE.
EVALUATE: To classify objects, situations, people, conditions, etc., according to defined criteria of quality. Indication of quality must be given in the defined criteria of each class category. Evaluation differs from general classification only in this respect.
IDENTIFY: To indicate the selection of an object of a class in response to its class name, by pointing, picking up, underlining, marking, or other responses.
INTERPRET: To translate information from observation, charts, tables, graphs, and written material in a verifiable manner.
LABEL: To stipulate a verbal (oral or written) response to a given object, drawing, or composition that contains information relative to the known, but unspecified structure of these objects, drawings, or compositions. Labeling is a complex behavior that contains elements of naming and identifying.
LOCATE: To stipulate the position of an object, place, or event in relation to other specified objects, places, or events. Ideational guides to location such as grids, order arrangements and time may be used to describe location. Note: Locate is not to be confused with IDENTIFY.
MEASURE: To apply a standard scale or measuring device to an object, series of objects, events, or conditions, according to practices accepted by those who are skilled in the use of the device or scale.
NAME: To supply the correct name, in oral or written form for an object, class of objects, persons, places, conditions, or events which are pointed out or described.
ORDER: To arrange two or more objects or events in accordance with stated criteria.
PREDICT: To use a rule or principle to predict an outcome or to infer some consequence. It is not necessary that the rule or principle be stated.
REPRODUCE: To imitate or copy an action, construction, or object that is presented.
SOLVE: To effect a solution to a given problem, in writing or orally. The problem solution must contain all the elements required for the requested solution, and may contain extraneous elements that are not required for solution. The problem must be posed in such a way that the student that the student is able to determine the type of response that is acceptable.
STATE A RULE: To make a statement that conveys the meaning of the rule, theory or principle.
TRANSLATE: To transcribe one symbolic form to another of the same or similar meaning.

Sample Lesson Plan (taught by Janice Wing, Earth Central ‘05)

Subject taught: Environmental Science

Grade level: 11th / 12th grade

Unit: Quality of Our Atmosphere

Topic: Ozone (Day 2 of 3)

(this table is here to save room on the page for printing purposes)


·         Students will identify conditions that increase or decrease ozone formation. 

·         Students will conduct experiments to test for ground level ozone, and develop an understanding of micro-environments. 

·         Students will be able to describe the formation of ozone, in the stratosphere and in the troposphere.

State Curriculum Standards:

Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks Science and Technology/Engineering

Earth and Space Science High School Learning Standards

1.3                 Explain how the layers of  the atmosphere  affect the dispersal of  incoming radiation  through reflection, absorption, and re-radiation.

1.10          Use a combination of ground-based observations, satellite data, and computer models to demonstrate Earth        systems and their interconnections. Explain why it is necessary to use all of these tools together.


This lesson is designed to encourage students to explore their local environment and develop a better awareness of ground-level ozone.  Students will be involved in analysis of their local and regional environments, and discover micro-environments.  This topic of ozone fits into a larger unit of “Quality of Our Atmosphere”, a portion of the Environmental Science course curriculum and will prepare students for analysis of satellite images of ground-level ozone.

Instructional Strategies:

·         Direct instruction

·         Inquiry-based ozone activity

·         Student directed exploration and investigation.

·         Student presentation of own data

Materials: (necessary hands-on items for use by teacher and students)

·         Ozone test paper

·         Computers with internet access

·         Handouts

(this table is here to save room on the page for printing purposes)


Arms, Karen. Environmental Science. Orlando: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1996.

Earth Observatory Total Ozone Data and Images (Animation)  

EPA AirNow

EPA Sunwise Program

Activities: Teacher will explain the ozone test paper and challenge students to find regions of mild and severe ground-level ozone in and around the school. 

·         Students will test for ground-level ozone indoors and outdoors.  Students will collect and analyze their data, generate a list of possible conditions that increase or decrease ground-level ozone formation, and present their finding and ideas to the class. 

·         Students will complete online discovery learning and answer directed website questions regarding ozone formation and ozone hazards for homework.


·         Students could analyze atmospheric levels of ozone using satellite images.

·         Students could participate in the Forest Watch program and analyze plant material that shows the effects ground-level ozone exposure.

Extension Resources:  Forest Watch.

Special Education Accommodations & Modifications:

·         Copies of notes provided to students.


·         Class participation in activities and discussions

·         Oral presentation of results of ozone tests

·         Completion of Online Discovery Learning questions accompanying websites

The Poster Project

A required assignment for all participants in the Earth Central '07 institute is to complete a Curriculum Component (AKA three lesson plans) which involves writing three lesson plans using a specified format.   During the last three days of the Institute, time will be provided to develop ideas for these lessons.  The lessons do not have to be completed by the end of the institute, but it is expected that participants have a defined plan for the lessons.  This plan will be illustrated on a poster which will be displayed on Friday  - and carefully reviewed by the entire class.

The poster materials will be provided - newsprint, markers, etc. and should include the following content:

Your Name
Grade Level
State Standard (cite specifically, please)
Rationale for lessons
Objective (this may be modified later)
NASA Resources/Websites
Possible activities for lesson (examples)

Please note:  The posters are expected to be informative, but not necessarily formal.