Peter K. Jones

http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Jones_Peter_K_ca_1834-1895

Jones, Brittany

Publication date: May 21, 2015
Publisher: Dictionary of Virginia Biography

Flesch–Kincaid

14.9

Description

This text is a concise, but highly informative, encyclopedia entry published by the Dictionary of Virginia Biography.(see link above) This text describes the life of Peter K. Jones, an African-American man, who served most notably on the Virginia State Legislature from 1867-1876. This entry follow Jones’s entire career, as the text is  split into various categories beginning with his early years, honing in on his political career, with sprinkles of his personal life inserted, and ending with his death in 1895.  Most importantly to this text set, this encyclopedia entry explicitly documents Jones’s political career during the years of Reconstruction.  This is imperative because it highlights an African-American man serving in the State Legislature just a few of years after slavery was abolished in the United States- a juxtaposition indicative of this peculiar time in American history.

Readability

The Flesh Kincaid analysis places this entry at a 14.9 equivalent to a sophomore or junior in college, which is grossly exaggerated.  The vocabulary is easy to understand, and students should recognize the content, if there is an event students do not recognize, there are hyperlinks present, which they could click on to further explain the ideas.  The concepts within the entry are presented logically, as they are formatted chronologically starting with Jones’s early years extending to his death in 1895. The entry is also separated by sub headings improving the organization, and allowing students to better understand the content. The major ideas are highlighted and students are able to click on them for further explanation.

The writing is presented in a way that this entry would be useful for a multitude of students. The ideas are presented clearly and directly, with no mechanical mishaps, or grammatical errors.  This entry is also appealing as it provides pictures in the side margins allowing students to put real faces to the people being discussed. There is also a timeline present for students to see all the events in a clear, chronological format. Overall, the information presented in the biography is helpful and ranges in age use.  Most importantly, the information is factual, and has been impressively fact checked.

Use in Class

This particular entry is extremely useful for students trying to understand the Reconstruction Era. Moving away from the textbook, students will be able to use Peter K. Jones’s life as an example to understand how both amazing and peculiar Reconstruction was. By analyzing the encyclopedia entry, students will be able to comprehend the ways in which Blacks participated, politically, just years after the Civil War.  Jones is an excellent example to use because he not only participated in political events, but as the entry notes, he used his platform to advance the rights of African-Americans; thus, Reconstruction was not only an era in political progress for Blacks but social progress as well.  Students will understand that this was a triumphant time in American history, while becoming aware that in just a couple of years the jubilant time will quickly come to an end with the rise of Jim Crow. This entry provides a great compare and contrast strategy, weighing Peter K. Jones’s life against the drastic and unfortunate change southern African-Americans will have to face with the onset of the 20th century and Jim Crow.

Unit Focus

History

Submitted by Brittany Jones

Cartoon History of The Universe

Gonick, Larry
Publication date:  1990
Publisher: Doubleday

Flesch–Kincaid

11.6

Description

This is a graphic novel that tells the story of the universe in a humorous way. It starts with the big bang (ES 13), but there are only about 10 pages at the beginning devoted to the origin of the universe. It’s a great read, and it might be useful for some natural history units as well (Standard ES 9).

Readability

Despite the high Flesch-Kincaid score, I think this would be good for struggling readers. It’s basically a comic book. There are more pictures than words.

Use in Class

This would be good to introduce the material to individual students who are having trouble getting excited about the astronomy portions of the curriculum. I would probably choose to have the students read this one independently.

Unit Focus

Earth Science

Submitted by Brendan Trache

Populations Changing Through Time

Populations Changing Through Time

Overview

The purpose of this text set is scientific literacy in regard to how populations change over time. Generally speaking, students delving into this subject are high-school age. Due to the nature of the material – and possibly preconceived notions of the subject matter some student may hold – it is wise to have a multitude of sources to pick from so that all students may adequately be served. Scientific literacy is “the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity.” This text set blends books and media in order to cater to different intellectual needs.

 

According to the Virginia Standards of Learning, five key components of the science standards that are critical to implementation and necessary for student success in achieving science literacy are 1) Goals; 2) K-12 Safety; 3) Instructional Technology; 4) Investigate and Understand; and 5) Application. It is considered imperative to science education that the local curriculum consider and address how these components are incorporated in the design of the kindergarten through high school science program.

SECTION ONE

My Text set consists of various media types: video, semi-textbook, and scientific literature. It is my hope that through varied types of instruction, I can meet the standards required by the VA SOL, and more importantly, meet the needs of my students. For example, I picked The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins as a piece of literature. A well-known evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins voice and style can be clearly ascertained through his book – something much different than a textbook. It is my belief that books like these provide a necessary break in routine.

The Specific SOL that I will undertake for the purpose of this text set is BIO.7 :

BIO.7 The student will investigate and understand how populations change through time. Key concepts include

1. evidence found in fossil records;
2. how genetic variation, reproductive strategies, and environmental pressures impact the survival of populations;
3. how natural selection leads to adaptations;
4. emergence of new species; and
5. scientific evidence and explanations for biological evolution.

SECTION TWO

The diversity of reading comprehension in a biology classroom can be vast for multiple reasons. One prominent reason is that any given biology class could be a wide range of scholars – be it general biology, honors biology, AP biology, and so on. A second layer to add to the equation is my school district as a whole; it is an urban area that has historically dealt with the unfortunate effects of segregation and poverty, so many students may have had upbringings that did not bring them up to their full potential yet. All of these students, however, have the ability to learn the subject manner as long as their instructor is thoughtful and chooses his/her teaching style and reading materials carefully. That’s why I believe that a multimedia approach can be very effective in getting information across to all kinds of individuals. Some individuals are visual learners, others auditory, and others kinesthetic. Furthermore, different class activities, such as mapping a text or group reading, may work for some while not for others. Regardless of the individual’s reading level or possible learning disabilities, it is imperative that they be exposed to this material through one kind of resource or another.

Description of Students

The students these sources are intended for are those studying biology, specifically how populations change through time. These students are likely high-school aged (9th-12th grade).

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Acids and bases; what are they and why are they in your cupboard, laundry room and garage

Hayes, Robert

Hayes, R. (2013, October 7) Acids and bases; what are they and why are they in your cupboard, laundry room and garage. Science and Technology. http://newsok.com/acids-and-bases-what-are-they-and-why-are-they-in-your-cupboard-laundry-room-and-garage/article/3890675

Flesch–Kincaid

Description

This article introduces acids and bases. It first defines acid from a visual standpoint and a base from a traditional definition. It then redefines each with a more descriptive view of how they breakdown water. The article then defines each a third time with a more sophisticated definition about how electrons move when undergoing a reaction. It concludes with examples of acids and bases and a simple acid- base reaction.

This article does a great job at catching the reader with the title. It defines acid and bases 3 times with each definition building upon the previous one and growing in detail. This allows the student to build on their knowledge as they read. In just four short paragraphs they advance from a very simple definition of the terms to highly complex but understandable definition of them.

Readability

Readability level is based on the Flesch-Kincaid model found in Microsoft Word. The article is on the 12th grade level. Vocabulary though not highly technical, some prior knowledge of the terms are needed as they are not defined in the text. The major ideas are formed well and expressed clearly. Alternate definitions of the same terms are given. There are no images and no use of headings or subheadings. However the article is short and does not overwhelm the students with text.

Use in Class

This text would be well suited for those students who have a firm grasp on the concepts of ions and dissociation chemistry. Perhaps an honors level class would enjoy this resources.
This text would be used as a KWL preparation activity to introduce the article and to compare what the students already know to what they learned from the reading.

Unit Focus

Chemistry

Submitted by Stevara Clinton

pHun with Acids and Bases!

Acid/Base

Overview

The science text book used in the classrooms are so focused on facts and terminology that they fail to engage the students in allowing them to view and value the science of the everyday working world. I have gathered some science resources that provide real world connections of acids and bases in every day life. This text set, which includes six articles, two books, and two videos, is aimed to spark engagement and questions from the students on the fundamentals of SOL 4 featuring acids and bases. The text set includes a range of reading levels from 6th to 12th grade allowing all students in the classroom to find interest and purpose in the concept.

Description of Students

The target audience is 10th grade chemistry with readability ranging below, at, or above grade level. The students are from diverse backgrounds and this text set will allow them all to grasp the concept of acids and bases while building upon and connecting concepts that they have already learned. This will improve comprehension of science terms and help to find value in what they are learning.  This text set is designed to engage the diverse set of students found in every classroom.  Entries such as “Lactic Acid is Not Muscles’ Foe, It’s Fuel” will appeal to the athletes, while entries “Acids and Bases” and “The Stomach: Acid-Base Chemistry” are more appropriate for struggling readers.

SOL

These resources cover section 4 concept D of the Virginia chemistry SOLs

CH. 4 The student will investigate and understand that chemical quantities are based on molar relationships. Key concepts include

a) Avogadro’s principle and molar volume;

b) stoichiometric relationships

c) solution concentrations; and

d) acid/base theory; strong electrolytes, weak electrolytes, and nonelectrolytes; dissociation and ionization; pH and pOH; and the titration process.

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[VIDEO] The Chances of You Being Famous

Publication date: February 2014

Publisher: BuzzFeed

Description

In this short video (approximately two minutes), social news organization BuzzFeed questions 10-12 year olds about their future goals. The number one response from the children was to become famous. The video includes the statistics that an individual will become famous followed by statistics for other goals such as the likelihood of winning an Olympic medal or an Academy Award. Students are able to investigate ratios and relate them to goals they might share with their peers.

Accessibility

The text used in this video is generally appropriate for middle school level readers. The words are decodable and generally has images to help support their meaning (example, the statistic describing winning an Olympic medal shows a skier with a medal). Some concepts may be deemed inappropriate to some parents such as the statistic about the chances of going to jail so parental permission should be granted before the video is shown to students. This video assumes the viewer has some knowledge about ratios and probability. The video transitions well from one idea to the next, but may move too quickly for some students. The large font size, graphics and background music may be appealing for some students.

Use in Class

This short video can be used to prepare students to talk about the topic of ratios. Have students discuss their future goals before watching the video. The students may find they have similar goals to their peers interviewed this video. The video may be played more than once for clarity, or the text may need to be read aloud by the teacher. After watching the video, students can discuss what they feel the ratios mean. This can serve a great segue to a lesson about ratios since it will engage students thinking about the topic.

Unit Focus

Math

Submitted by Ashley Jackson

Ratio Rumble

Ratio Rumble

Overview

Many students report a lack of interest in mathematics. Students often wonder how the topics they have learned in class will be useful in the world around them. However, ratios are present in everyday, real world situations. Making connections to the real world through topics that the students are already familiar with such as sports, recipes, and weather forecasts will hopefully engage the students in learning.

Literature that spans the topic of ratios is included in the text set including two below grade level books intended to be used for interactive read-along assignments. Two video clips are incorporated into the set to further aid visual and auditory learners. There is also an article included that focuses on probability. The hope is to see the connection between the related ideas of ratios and probability. These items are intended to target SOLs 6.1 and 6.2 which cover the relationships among fractions, decimals, and percents. SOLs 6.1 and 6.2 are as follows:

6.1 The student will describe and compare data, using ratios, and will use appropriate notations, such as a/b , a to b, and a:b.

6.2 The student will:
a) investigate and describe fractions, decimals, and percents as ratios;
b) identify a given fraction, decimal, or percent from a representation;
c) demonstrate equivalent relationships among fractions, decimals, and percents; and
d) compare and order fractions, decimals, and percents.

Analysis of each component was done using Bader’s Textbook Analysis and the Mathematics Textbook Evaluation Checklist, when appropriate. The Flesch-Kincaid formula was used to calculate the readability of non-media items. The accessibility of the two videos included in the text sets was also analyzed. The texts span students’ interests and difficulty levels and can be incorporated as outside assignments. Utilizing these texts will help students to see math in the world around them while strengthening reading comprehension.

Description of Students

Students in a diverse sixth grade math classroom would benefit from this text set although it may be beneficial in other middle school classrooms. Students who range in reading abilities and interest in math would find this text set suitable. Each item in the set text set will  not be used for every student and may be tailored according to the students’ reading strengths and interests. I have purposely chosen some ideas students do not typically think of as math to engage students who might otherwise be uninterested. A range of topics are explored in order for students to find their niche in the material.

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The Human Body System

The Human Body System

Overview

The study of the human body system is the topic in biology that students are most excited to learn about. Students can most relate themselves to this particular subject because of the interest they have in their own bodies.

The body is composed of eleven different organ systems. Each system carries out its own specific job, yet all of them work together to enable humans to perform normal daily activities or specific activities. Even now, the body is very busy working.

This text set is made up of 6 books, 2 online articles, 1 audio clip, and 1 documentary.  This set can be used as a supplement to encourage students to branch out from the basic textbook learning experience.  Each item is selected to engage high school students who are taking biology in their 9th and/or 10th grade year. This set includes books that are filled with visual aids of organs and their corresponding organ systems and real-life applications pertaining to our bodies, articles based on a true story related to organs, an audio clip to help students remember parts of different organ systems, and a documentary that graphically portrays the changes in the body from conception to death. This text set is an excellent resource for covering SOL BIO 4(b) and 4(d) because it encompasses all the topics for the standard.

The Science Standards of Learning Curriculum Framework states that the students are expected to:

1) understand that normal body functioning assists in understanding situations when functioning is impaired

2) understand that human beings are composed of groups of cells (tissues, organs, and organ systems) that are specialized to provide the human organism with the basic requirements for life: obtaining food and deriving energy from it, maintaining homeostasis, coordinating body functions, and reproducing.

3) understand the functions and roles of organ systems.

4) understand that in order for the body to use food for energy, the food must first be digested into molecules that are absorbed and transported to cells, where the food is used for energy and for repair and growth. To burn food for the release of energy, oxygen must be supplied to cells and carbon dioxide removed. The respiratory system responds to changing demands by increasing or decreasing breathing rate in order to maintain homeostasis.

5) understand that the circulatory system, which moves all of these substances to or from cells, responds to changing demands by increasing or decreasing heart rate and blood flow in order to maintain homeostasis.

6) understand that the urinary system disposes of dissolved waste molecules; the intestinal tract removes solid wastes; and the skin and lungs rid the body of thermal energy.

7) understand that the specialized cells of the immune system and the molecules they produce are designed to protect against organisms and substances that enter from outside the body and against some cancer cells that arise from within.

8) understand that communication between cells is required for coordination of body functions. The nerves communicate with electrochemical signals, hormones circulate through the blood, and some cells secrete substances that spread only to nearby cells.

 

Description of Students

The targeted students are 9th and/or 10th grade high school students studying biology. This text set is intended for students who have reading levels between 6th grade to 12th grade. Students with various learning styles–visual, auditory and kinesthetic–will be addressed through the text set as well.

 

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Wonders Beyond The Solar System

Feravolo, Rocco
,
,

Publication date:1968
Publisher: Dodd Mead

Available in the VCU library

Flesch–Kincaid

9.4

Description

This is an older, basic astronomy text that covers the origins of the universe, celestial bodies, stellar distances, some history of astronomy and the basics of studying the stars from Earth. The book is full of illustrations and activities. Each chapter begins with a short text before jumping in to a related activity.

Readability

The 9.4 Flesch-Kincaid score is somewhat deceptive in this case. I feel the book is more basic. I think some of the larger words in astronomy are learned by kids at a relatively early age. For example, commonly used three-syllable words like universe, asteroid, and galaxy appear repeatedly in the text, and are probably influencing the score upward. In addition, the chapters are quite short (~3-5 pgs), with numerous images.

Use in Class

For the purposes of this text set, we would be focusing on Chapter 2, The Beginnings of the Universe in order to cover ES. 13. However, the text would be useful in supplementing the textbook for other astronomy-related SOLs, including the solar system (ES. 3) and Earth-Sun energy transfer (ES. 12).

I envision having the students break into groups to cover the short chapters in read-alongs. The students could take turns with paragraphs, and the groups would break into activities when they reach that part of the text. For example, the activity related to the big bang theory here illustrates the expanding universe using a simple activity involving a balloon and a marker.

Unit Focus

Earth Science

Submitted by Brendan Trache

The Big Bang

The Big Bang

Overview

Cosmology is the study of the origins of the universe. Currently, most cosmologists support the Big Bang theory, although nobody was around at the time to witness it. The theory states that when the universe began around 15 billion years ago, it was the size of a grapefruit. Inside this super-dense cluster was all of the matter in the universe. This includes the earth, the sun, all of the planets, asteroids, comets stars and galaxies. All this matter was smooshed down to a super-dense, super-hot cluster. The temperature was close to a million, trillion, trillion degrees (Kelvin). This is incredibly hot. Then it exploded with great force. When the big bang happened, the universe began expanding rapidly. Atomic particles began cooling and joining to form the basic elements (H, He). As the universe expanded, these clouds of hydrogen and helium eventually cooled and collapsed to form stars. After about 5-10 billion years, the matter in the universe had cooled enough to form planets such as Earth. Evidence for the big bang is still with us today. The universe is still expanding.

The text set is to be incorporated into lessons about astronomy, including the origin of the universe, with a particular focus on the big bang theory. The readings are designed to supplement the students’ text book concerning the VA SOL, ES. 13.

ES.13
The student will investigate and understand scientific concepts related to the origin and evolution of the universe. Key concepts include
a) Cosmology including the Big Bang theory; and
b) The origin and evolution of stars, star systems, and galaxies.

In addition to the basics covered by the VA SOL, my students will be learning about the evidence for the big bang theory, including current experiments occurring using large particle accelerators. The text set will include scientific books, activity books for kids, graphic novels, and a video.

Description of Students

The following text set is designed for an 8th grade earth science class with diverse reading levels. The text set will span reading levels from 6th grade to 10th grade. At this point, envision the students have already covered some basic astronomy, including our solar system and the relative sizes of celestial bodies (a sense of scale is really important when you are learning about something so large as the universe as a whole). I think this segment of the year will particularly interest curious students who enjoy thinking about abstract concepts in science, and perhaps even students who enjoy science fiction.

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