enCORE Science Lesson Plans

TeachTown’s enCORE curriculum provides equitable, inclusive access to the general education curriculum with a K-12 standards-aligned and evidence-based adapted core curriculum. Read on to learn more about each segment within enCORE’s Science Lessons.

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Special Education Science Curriculum

Teaching science offers students the opportunity to develop an understanding of the natural world and it promotes curiosity to learn how and why things work.

enCORE Science, which is aligned with state and national science standards, is grounded in both inquiry-based learning and systematic, explicit instruction to teach key concepts.

Inquiry-Based Learning: Hands-On and Multisensory Science Experiences

In enCORE, inquiry-based learning typically includes hands-on activities and experiments to provide students with the multisensory experiences of seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, or tasting the concepts in action. This multisensory learning supports students with different strengths and areas of need. Additionally, the text-based content (e.g., companion texts in middle school and high school, as well as some chapter books in elementary school) help students connect their reading to science-specific content and anchor their learning of science concepts in a meaningful way.

Systematic Instruction: Tailoring Science Education for Diverse Learners

Like all academic domains of enCORE, enCORE Science lessons are grounded in evidence-based instructional practices, including systematic, explicit instruction. Introducing new skills in small, bite-sized pieces supports complex learners by ensuring students receive multiple exposures to the new skill, prompting and regular feedback to avoid practicing incorrectly, and plenty of practice to reinforce new learning.

Science Lesson Plans

enCORE Middle School Science Lesson Plan

All enCORE Science lessons were intentionally designed to incorporate high-priority vocabulary instruction at the beginning of the lesson and then build upon it throughout the lesson to provide students with repeated exposures to key words. For example, in Unit 62 of enCORE Middle School, the objective is to recognize examples of pure substances and mixtures. On the first page of the lesson plan, the following high-priority vocabulary words are identified:

  • Atom
  • Molecule
  • Pure
  • Substance
  • Particle
  • Mixture

If students use AAC devices, teachers are provided guidance to program the devices with these high-priority vocabulary words. 

Then, teachers are guided to practice constant time delay, which is an instructional practice that has been identified in formal research studies to support teaching science vocabulary. See lesson plan snapshot below for a peek into how constant time delay can be used to support teaching vocabulary.

All enCORE Science lessons are structured to flow through the gradual release of responsibility. This progression is noted within the print lesson plans as ‘Model, Lead, Test’ for Elementary and ‘Model, Guided Practice, Independent Practice’ for Middle and High School. This framework will likely be familiar to educators as the I Do, We Do, You Do model.

enCORE Elementary School Science Lesson Plans

Elementary science lesson plans are divided into three segments:

  • Segment 1: Understanding Big Ideas
  • Segment 2: Applying What We Know
  • Segment 3: Making Connections

Core Vocabulary Development in Science: Building Conceptual Foundations

The Understanding Big Ideas segment begins by teaching core science vocabulary specific to the unit’s theme. For example, in Unit 17, the literature book is The Tortoise and the Hair. The science vocabulary concepts that relate to the themes of the book include the concept of speed. Target vocabulary words are slow and fast. To expand on the target vocabulary, teachers are provided with an explicit script on how to build science concepts with strategies like example and non-example instruction.

Hands-On Learning: Applying Science Concepts in Practice

In the Applying What We Know segment, students apply their knowledge of the science concepts and skills presented in the first segment. Through a hands-on activity, experiment, or project, students gain practical experience with the key concepts while working collaboratively and demonstrating their knowledge with their peers.

Enhancing Comprehension: Connecting Science Learning Through Newsletters

To help students Make Connections in segment three, teachers are provided a Science Newsletter to guide instruction and promote language and reading comprehension skills.

enCORE Middle School Science Lesson Plans

Middle school science lessons are comprised of 4 segments:

  • Segment 1: Understanding the Big Idea
  • Segment 2: Connecting to the Big Idea
  • Segment 3: Investigate and Extend
  • Segment 4: Applying What We Know

Anchored Instruction: Integrating Core Vocabulary with Companion Texts in Science Lessons

The lesson plans begin with anchored instruction that references the core science vocabulary specific to the unit’s companion texts. For example, in Unit 62, the companion text is States of Matter: From Solid to Smoke. The high-priority vocabulary words include atom, molecule, pure, substance, particle, and mixture. The science lesson plan instruction and activities match the high-priority vocabulary words of the companion text.

enCORE Science Companion Texts

To expand on the target vocabulary, teachers are provided with an explicit script on how to build deeper understanding of key concepts through evidence-based instructional strategies and a variety of materials. The remaining segments of enCORE Middle School science lead students into deeper understanding of key concepts through hands-on activities, research, and experiments to help them organize, share, apply, and generalize what they have learned.

enCORE High School Science Lesson Plans

High school science lessons follow comprised of 5 segments:

  • Segment 1: Introducing the Vocabulary
  • Segment 2: Understanding the Big Ideas
  • Segment 3: Connecting the Big Ideas
  • Segment 4: Investigate and Extend
  • Segment 5: Applying What We Know

Similar to middle school science, high school science lesson plans begin with anchored instruction to connect to the core science vocabulary specific to the unit’s companion texts and to put new learning in context of students’ everyday lives. Lessons then progress to introduce core vocabulary and concepts and connect the target vocabulary to the unit’s companion texts. For example, in Unit 93, teachers are guided to anchor instruction this way:

Anchor Instruction for All Students

Before starting the lesson, begin with anchored instruction by referring to the Companion Text for Unit 93, Lesson 1 in Science.

This week, we will be reading Unit 93 Lesson 1 Science Companion Text. The subtitle of this companion text is Photosynthesis, and we will be learning more about how plants take in water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight to make food. The cells in a plant’s leaves contain organelles called chloroplasts, which is where photosynthesis takes place. Is the green pigment inside of the chloroplast called the nucleus or the chlorophyll? Give students time to respond. Write “chlorophyll” on the Magnetic Whiteboard. That’s right! Chlorophyll is the green substance in plants that absorbs light energy during photosynthesis. Let’s learn more about photosynthesis!

Guiding High School Science Learning with Flexibility and Depth

Vocabulary words are introduced through Constant Time Delay or System of Least Prompts. Throughout all instruction, teachers are provided with detailed scripts for delivery instructions. Scripts are designed to be a helpful tool to keep instruction grounded in evidence-based practices while allowing for flexibility to meet and respond to the needs of students. The remaining segments of enCORE High School Science lessons lead students into deeper understanding of key concepts through hands-on activities, research, and experiments to help them organize, share, apply, and generalize what they have learned.

enCORE Lesson Plans:

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