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Betsy VerHage

Unit Plan Part 1

Dec. 1, 2017

Be Seen, Be Heard, Be safe!

Grade level: 1

Subject area: Science

Topic: This unit covers the concept of waves as they relate to both sound and light. Through their study
sound and light waves, students will discover the way they make our lives easier by helping us to solve
everyday problems.

Professional Content Standards:

Science GLCE’s:

1-PS4-1. Plan and conduct investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and
that sound can make materials vibrate.

1-PS4-2. Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that objects can be seen only when

1-PS4-3. Plan and conduct an investigation to determine the effect of placing objects made with different
materials in the path of a beam of light.

1-PS4-4. Use tools and materials to design and build a device that uses light or sound to solve the
problem of communicating over a distance.

Common Core (Integrated):

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.4 Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest

feelings or appeal to the senses.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.1.7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic,

supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.5 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when

appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners

about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English
grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Unit Objectives:

1) Students will be able to describe the key differences between sound waves and light waves.

2) Students will be able to draw pictures of sound waves when given information about their pitch and

3) Students will be able to explain how sound waves work using vibrations.

4) Students will be able to list several different light sources and explain whether they are natural or
artificial sources.

5) Students will be able to explain why shadows and reflections occur.

6) Students will demonstrate their understanding of how to communicate using light and sound by
creating their own device that uses sound or light to communicate.

Concepts to be taught:

1) Before discussing different types of waves such as sound and light, students will need to have a basic
understanding of what a wave is; a wave is a movement, specifically “a swaying or undulating motion
that spreads and causes other objects or particles to move” (throughout our discussion of waves, we will
discuss how this relates to us talk about various waves we have seen).

2) In order to understand the effect of waves, students must know what a vibration is. Vibration is the
back and forth movement of an object caused by a wave.

3) In order to reach the the objectives in this unit, students must understand how sound waves are created.
Sound waves are created by the vibration or movement of an object, causing the air particles surrounding
it to move and bump into one another.

4) To deepen their understanding of sound waves, students will learn about the relationship between wave
height and volume; the taller a wave becomes, the louder the sound will be.

5) To deepen their understanding of sound waves, students will learn about the relationship between
wavelength and pitch; as wavelength becomes shorter, sound pitch becomes higher.

6) In order to reach the the objectives in this unit, students must understand how light waves are created.
Light waves travel much faster than sound because they do not need to vibrate in order to move. A light
wave passes through (or refracts) whatever is in its path, until it hits an object that it cannot pass through.
Then the light is reflected off the object, allowing us to see it.

7) Reflection is a major concept when teaching about light. Reflection happens when light is “pushed
back” from an object that it hits. Instead of taking and absorbing the light, the object sends this light in a
different direction and it is reflected.
8) In order to understand the concept reflection, students will need to understand what a shadow is and
how shadows are created. A shadow is produced by an object coming between rays of light and a surface.

9) Students will be learning the difference between natural and artificial light. Natural sources of light
such as the sun, stars, and fire, are found in nature. Artificial light sources are made by people such as
fluorescent lamps and LEDs.

10) Although students will discuss electricity in further depth as they get older, it will be beneficial for
them to have a basic understanding of how electricity creates light. When a light bulb is connected to an
electrical power supply, and electrical “current” or “wave” is created, causing light to be released.

9) Through this unit, students will learn what it means to communicate. To communicate means to share
information, ideas, or emotions with other people.

11) Ultimately, students will learn how to communicate using light and sound. To communicate using
sound means to share information by creating sound waves either from your voice or another movement.
To communicate using light means to share information by allowing someone to see something.

12) Students will need to understand how they are able to receive the messages communicated by sound
waves. Vibrations created by sound waves travel through the air particles to the eardrum and cause it to
vibrate. These vibrations are then interpreted in the brain as sound.

13) Students will need to understand how they are able to receive the messages communicated by light
waves. Light is reflected off of an object and into our eyes through the cornea, allowing us to see the

Big Idea:

The concept of using sound and light to communicate will be the overarching theme of this unit.
All lessons and activities will be tied to the big question of “How could you use sound and light to stay
safe on a long walk in the dark?” Before we even begin the unit, I will read a book to the students to
remind them of the five senses. After reading, we will discuss how the five senses help us to understand
the world and communicate with those around us. After reading and discussing, I will begin the unit with
some sort of interactive experience using sound and light. If it were nice weather outside, I would have
my class take a nature walk and pay attention the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings around them.
However, if going outside were not an option, I may try to create a simulation in my classroom room
using a nature recording and a projected photo with an outdoor scene. I would turn off the lights and ask
students to imagine they are walking home with their family on a dark Halloween night. There are no
streetlights and not very many people or cars are out. I will ask, “What might you do to communicate to
passing cars/people that you are there?”
After introducing this idea, I will incorporate it into several lessons throughout the unit. For
example, when I teach a lesson on how wave height/amplitude affects sound, I will ask students to think
about how loud or soft they may have to be when walking home in the dark. Similarly, when teaching
about how length/frequency affects pitch, we will discuss which levels of pitch are most effective and/or
can be heard most easily by humans (i.e. what pitch would be most helpful for getting someone’s
attention to communicate that you are there?) Then, as we transition into talking about light, I will
incorporate the concept of walking in the dark through my lesson on natural versus artificial light sources.
For example, I might ask students questions such as “What would be the natural sources of light that
could help you see at night?” and “If you still can’t see where you’re going, what are some artificial light
sources that could guide your way?” I will also tie in the big idea to my lesson on shadows and reflection
by asking students how they could create a shadow on the sidewalk using light waves. At the end of the
unit, I will tie all of the lesson’s major concepts together by asking students to design and create some
sort of device that uses light and sound to help them communicate with those around them and stay safe
on their walk home. Through this “final project”students will demonstrate their learning by applying
several of the unit’s main concepts about light and sound waves to answer the question of “How could
you use sound and light to stay safe on a long walk in the dark?”