The Power of the Earth's Air, Water,and Energy By: Maggie Resillez

Summary of Unit

Students learn about how earth’s air, water, and energy has an effect on people and plants. They will learn how important it is to recycle and the impact that pollution has on earth. Also how human activities can induce harmful gases and particles into the atmosphere.

Grade Level:

  • 6th, 7th, and 8th grade


  • Earth's Air, Water, and Energy

Curricular series/publisher:

  • McGraw-Hill Science by National Geographic Society

Overall Goal:

  • Students will be able to identify air and water as Earth's most vital natural resource.

Overall Outcomes:

  • Students will be able to analyze the earth’s air, water, and energy and problems caused due to pollution.

State Standards:

  • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.* Clarification Statement: Examples of the design process include examining human environmental impacts, assessing the kinds of solutions that are feasible, and designing and evaluating solutions that could reduce that impact. Examples of human impacts can include water usage (such as the withdrawal of water from streams and aquifers or the construction of dams and levees), land usage (such as urban development, agriculture, or the removal of wetlands), and pollution (such as of the air, water, or land).


  • Precursor Level: Recognize ways in which humans impact the environment (e.g., agriculture, pollution, recycling, city growth).

Explanations of Lessons

Lesson 1: Earth's Atmosphere

Students are exploring evidence of how air pollution is created. Some of the vocabulary word in the lessons are renewable resource, ozone layer, smog and acid rain. The students will be doing an experiment within the lesson where they will investigate what makes the air dirty. This is the introduction lesson to the unit where it talks about different air pollution in cities, suburbs and rural areas and how the air pollution is different in all areas.

Lesson 2: Recycle, reuse, reduce as a means of controlling pollution

In this lesson students will explain why San Antonio needs more waters. How recycling will improve the water flow within San Antonio and other city's with the same problem. Students will organize the steps of water recycling and present it the to classroom. They will also talk about how garage affects the water pollution.

Lesson 3: Energy Resources

Students will explore ways that they use energy each day. They will discuss ways they use energy and analyze their energy used. The students will estimate the number of hours a day they use energy and how they might use less. The exploring activity in this lesson is investigating how people use energy. They will make a list of all the energy used throughout the day and analyze how much they think it might cost their families or schools. This will help students communicate, collect and analyze data.

Materials Enhance or Harm Students

General Education Unit Materials:

  • 2 x 12cm cardboard
  • ¼ cup petroleum jelly
  • Plastic knife
  • Clear tape
  • 120 cm string
  • Hand lens
  • Ruler
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • 100mL vinegar
  • Four 3.5 oz plastic cups
  • 5 mm cubes of limestone
  • 2 rock samples
  • Safety goggles
  • Sheet of paper
  • Sheet of plastic wrap
  • 4 rubber bands
  • Plastic knife
  • Three 5 mm cubes of calk
  • Tea bag
  • Aluminum pan
  • Plastic cup
  • Petri dish
  • Large bowl
  • Cup water
  • Food coloring
  • 2 cups soil
  • ¼ cup tiny foil
  • 1L of water
  • 2 books
  • 2 aluminum pans

Adapted Materials for Each Lesson:

Lesson 1:


  • Pre-made 6 squares
  • Petroleum jelly on tape
  • Teacher book
  • Vocabulary words with definitions
  • K,W,L charts (modified for each students needs)
  • White board
  • Exit slips (modified for each students needs)
  • Markers, pencil or pen
  • Graphic organizer (modified for each students needs)


  • K,W,L chart
  • Students text book
  • Exit slip
  • Pencil or pen
  • Talking device that is preset with the vocabulary
  • Graphic organizer

Lesson 2:


  • Ted-ed video:
  • Youtube video:
  • Assessment
  • Recycling and garbage items
  • T-chart with pictures on the iPads
  • Text book
  • Glass of pond water and tap water
  • Bigger bins for the recycling in classroom
  • List of general education teachers that need recycling picked up
  • Pencil/pen


  • Adapted textbook
  • Pencil/pen
  • Ipads
  • Scissors and glue
  • T-chart
  • Assessment

Lesson 3:


  • Projector
  • Read, Write, Gold
  • Homework worksheet
  • Pictures of different energy used
  • News-2-you article
  • Switches set
  • pencil/ pen
  • iPads already set up
  • White board and marker
  • You-tube video:
  • Exit slip


  • iPads
  • Pencil/pen
  • Switches
  • New-2-You article
  • Exit slip with picture support
Breaking down the Current Barriers to Help Our Students Succeed!

Barriers that Prevent My Students

  • Text is too small
  • Text vocabulary and language is too complex
  • Labs and activities are too abstract
  • Unit is too specific
  • Students do not have the correct background knowledge for the topic
  • Covers way too many topics in one unit
  • Not many hands on activities
  • Assessments are only paper and pencil
  • Materials are hard for some students to use
  • Not safe for some students to use the materials
  • Reading level to difficult
"Every Student Can Learn, Just not on the Same Day or the Same Way." -George Evans

About My Classroom

All students work well with iPads and technology and LOVE Kahoot! First classroom I have seen moderate to serve students complete Kahoot independently.

One Student Who has Severe Autism:

  • Non-verbal
  • Uses a communication device
  • Cognitively at a 2nd grade level
  • Can express their needs and wants very well
  • Uses iPad communication device very well
  • Has many self-stimming behaviors
  • Loves to dance and listen to music

4 students who have intellectual disabilities

One nonverbal and is learning level 1 of pecs

  • Has a very difficult time communicating needs and wants
  • Student has down syndrome
  • Can have difficulty doing work she doesn’t want to do
  • Uses two option switch with assistance
  • Does well with error less choices
  • 8th grade (getting her ready to move onto high school)
  • Cognitively at beginning kindergarten level

2 students are completely verbal

  • Both cognitively at a 4th grade level
  • Very independent
  • Both do great communicating needs and wants
  • At times held back because of other students' needs
  • They do not need a one-on-one paraprofessional
  • Both students do struggle emotionally with peer interaction

Student has little verbal language

  • First year using an iPad to communicate
  • Can be very stubborn
  • Student has down syndrome
  • Cognitively at 1st grade level
  • On a behavior management plan
  • Has difficulties with transitions
  • Hearing (hearing aid in one ear) and visual (wears glasses) impairment
  • Loves having peer interactions with general education students
  • Will work for a reward
  • Loves to dance and listen to music

Student who has multiple disabilities

  • Has very little communication
  • Has a seizure disorder that causes him to act out in class
  • Self-injurious behaviors (biting and hitting himself)
  • Will often hit other staff or peers
  • Screams in class when bored
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Needs help walking and using the bathroom
  • Cognitively at a 1st grade level
  • Does great with a choice of two options
  • Can communicate most of his needs and wants
  • On a strict behavior plan
  • Works for a reward
  • Behaviors can distract whole class
  • Will refuse to do work half of the day
Every Student Learns Differently, it is our Job to Teach to All Students!

Why the Unit Needs be to Adapted

Along with the barriers of the materials there are many different reasons why this unit needs to be adapted for the classroom. Many of the units in the science book has no UDL lessons, it is all the same framework of lesson. Students who have more server disabilities need the lessons to had different UDL components. This is supported by Browder (pg.211), "Universally designed lessons may be created that are applicable for all students. Planning may focus on how to represent the material so the student can access it more fully, ways to engage the student in the lesson and alternatives for students to demonstrate learning. This is important for our students and can also benefit general education students. Another reason this unit needed to be adapted is it is too specific. Stated by Browder (pg. 213), "Concepts require broader generalizations than simple fact statements. One way to define a priority in a science lesson is to write a concept statement that is the "big idea" of the lesson." Our students understand the lessons better when the teacher is teaching the big idea and not all the little facts. It is really important that the big idea is also connected to real life experiences for these students, so they are able to connect the lesson to prior knowledge.

With the Right Teaching Students will be Successful in the World

Vocational Skills

Lesson 1:

  • Choosing where to live and how the air pollution might affect where you live.
  • Being aware how they are contributing to air pollution where they live or at school.

Lesson 2:

  • Having a job and the responsibilities of having this job (picking up recycling from rooms).
  • Helping out the community by recycling.

Lesson 3:

  • Being aware when living on their own how much energy they are going to use and how to improve that.
  • Using energy at their future job and how that can effect their work.

Social Skills

Lesson 1:

  • Working in groups to decide where to put their pollution catcher

Lesson 2:

  • Working with peers to collect recycling from all classrooms
  • Deciding as a group which items are recycling or not

Lesson 3:

  • Working together to figure out different energy used within the classroom
  • Ask peers their idea of energy used within the classroom

Behavioral Skills

All lessons:

  • Reinforce behavioral expectations before starting lesson
  • “Peacock Pride”
  • I am respectful, I am responsible, I am proud

High Tech UDL

Lesson 1:

  • Kahoot assessment

Lesson 2:

  • Ted-ed video
  • iPads for independent practice

Lesson 3:

  • You tube introduction video about energy
  • iPads for independent practice
I do it because I can, I can because I want to, I Want to because You said... I couldn't

Self-Determination Skill

Lesson 1:

Choice making

  • Where to put the pollution catcher
  • Choosing the right definition for each vocabulary words

Rationale: Students will need to work with their peers to figure where the best place the pollution catcher will go and make the choice of where it will go. "One of the most basic building blocks leading to enhanced self-determination is the ability to make informed choice for opportunities within one's daily life" ( Wolf,J & Joannou, K. 2006).


  • Speaking up during the group to make sure your option is being heard.

Rationale: Students will need to advocacy for themselves on why hanging their pollution catcher in the place they want to is the best place. Being able to stand up and backing up what they believe in.

Goal setting

  • Being aware of how each student might be polluting the air and setting self goals to change.

Rationale: Being able to recognized how they pollute the air now and setting personal goals to change this.

Lesson 2:

Goal setting

  • Setting a goal at home to recycle more and help out the community.

Rationale: Setting goals in their personal life to start recycling and recycle more if they already do it at home and in their community. "Emphasize the link between goals that students set and the daily decisions and choices they make, and teach them to break long-term goals into short-term objectives" (Wehmeyer, 2002).

Decision Making

  • Deciding if the items are recycling or not.

Rationale: Being able to pick from garbage and recycling and deciding that the item is recycling and why it is recycling.


  • Being able to collect the recycling from each room and bring it back and put it in the right bin with the correct instruction.

Rationale: Being able to listen to the instructions of what classrooms they need to go to and then following the directions when in the classrooms.

Lesson 3:


  • Being able to observe the amount energy they are using within their day

Rationale: Being able to know how much energy they are using in the day and why it is too much usage. "Encourage them to evaluate task performance and reflect on ways to improve and enhance performance" (Wehmeyer, 2002).

Problem Solving

  • Being able to figure out different ways they are going to cut down on energy in their daily life.

Rationale: Knowing that they use too much energy everyday and how to solve the issue with what they are going to cut back on. Using the problem solving skills they used in class and connecting it to their daily lives. (Browder, D.M., & Spooner, F. (2011)

Goal setting

  • Setting a goal to reduce the energy used throughout their day and within the classroom.

Rationale: Setting goals of how they and their family are going to cut back on energy usage at home and then how they will cut back within the classroom. Setting goals for home also is important for both the student and the parents. "A focus on self-determination is not a license to exclude parents and family from decision-making and educational planning. While much can be done at school to promote self-determination, unless parallel activities occur at home, these efforts will not be sufficient" (Wehmeyer, 2002).

The Future of the World is in My Classroom

Teacher/Student Resources

Brain Pop

Gives students videos and lesson that a real life and situational based.

Symbol Supporter

This application allows any word that a student or teacher talks into or writes and will transfer it into a photo. This could help with all subject related ares!

Touch Physics

Draw shapes with a crayon that come to life on your iPhone / iPod touch. These shapes interact with the wheel, causing it to move according to physical laws. When it reaches the star, the level is complete.


Amazing for teachers! Gives many different adapted science materials for all different ages and science lessons!

Audio Sky Tours

An application that allows students and teachers to see the world but also hear many different facts about space and earth. This app has voice to text for all information.

Bibliography Resources

Browder, D.M., & Spooner, F. (2011). Teaching students with moderate and severe disabilities. New York: The Guilford Press.

Wehmeyer, M. (2002, September ). Self-Determination and the Education of Students with Disabilities . Retrieved April 19, 2017, from Hoagie's Gifted Education Page:



Created with images by stokpic - "hands world map" • PublicDomainPictures - "books old worn" • hermaion - "barrier metal protection" • elounge - "display road stops" • WikiImages - "earth map winter" • Mediamodifier - "success road to success direction" • Alexas_Fotos - "do not give up motivation live" • newsong - "teacher back to school learning"

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