Sample Lesson—Bring Science Alive! 7th Grade Integrated

Step into one of the segment 3 units, Unit 7: Resources in Ecosystems, to see how
a lesson would unfold in Bring Science Alive!

Integrated Phenomenon

Each segment begins with an integrated phenomenon that ties together multiple disciplines. Students create a rough model to explain the phenomenon and continue to revise it after each lesson.

Segment 3 Integrated Phenomenon: At Yasuni National Park, forests can be so dense they are difficult to walk through. But as Big Bend National Park, there are vast open stretches of dry land.


Segment 3 includes the following units:  

  • Earth Science: Processes that Shape Earth
  • Life Science: Resources in Ecosystems
  • Physical Science: States of Matter
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Segment Progression

Bring Science Alive! approaches integration by providing distinct units with their own driving phenomenon, then driving students back to a segment phenomenon that integrates the concepts they’ve learned in each unit. See the segment progression for segment 3 as an example to see how TCI helps students learn and understand the integrated phenomenon.

Segment 3 Progression:

Students are introduced to the integrated phenomenon by comparing Yasuni National Park’s dense forests to Big Bend National Park’s vast open stretches of dry land. ced to the integrated phenomenon of how a person sweats while a dog pants when both are taking a long walk in the summer.
Students create a model of the phenomenon to explain it and revise their model as they gain more knowledge.
To understand the processes that distribute Earth’s resources, students first investigate the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates, including continental drift, mountain ranges, and creation of the supercontinent Pangaea. Students explore the rock cycle and the water cycle (Unit 6: Processes that Shape Earth). In the first Engineering Challenge, students build, test, and improve a solar distiller as they examine renewable and nonrenewable resources.
Next, students find out about resources in living systems and observe interactions among organisms in various ecosystems (Unit 7: Resources in Ecosystems). In the second Engineering Challenge, students build a sound shield to protect the acoustic interactions of frogs and bats from disruptive highway noise. Students discover how the many interactions within an ecosystem cause even small changes to lead to other large changes. 
Students predict states of matter and examine the motion of particles as they relate it to heat, temperature, and state changes (Unit 8: States of Matter). Last, students write a letter explaining the natural phenomena of states of matter. 
Using what they know, how will students explain why Earth’s resources are unevenly distributed as in the cases of Yasuni’s forests and Big Bend’s desert?

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Unit Anchoring Phenomenon

Each unit begins with a storyline that allows students to dive deep into a real-world phenomenon. The Anchoring Phenomenon encourages students to make connections with the world around them. Students then further explore the phenomenon during the Performance Assessment.

Using Unit 7: Resources in Ecosystems mentioned in step 4 of the Segment Progression as an example, we will examine how a TCI is unit and lesson unfold.

Storyline: The living things on our planet interact with each other and with the nonliving parts of the environment in dynamic ecosystems. Apply what you learn about resources, interactions, and changes in ecosystems to solve a problem in the fish exhibit at a zoo.   

Anchoring Phenomenon: When various species of cichlid fish are combined in aquariums, some stop eating to the point of dying. 

After student watches the anchoring phenomenon video, students begin a KWL chart in the Unit Checkpoints. They generate questions for inquiry and return to answer questions charts throughout the unit.

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Lesson Phenomenon

Each lesson begins with an investigative phenomenon that is used to pique students’ interest and drive instruction throughout the investigation.

Lesson 20 Phenomenon: Poison dart frogs kept in captivity lose their toxicity over time so that they are no longer poisonous.

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to explain the phenomenon.

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Three-Dimensional Lesson Investigations

Hands-on investigations allow students to take on the role of scientists and explore real-world problems. Students work in the Science and Engineering Practices by asking questions and defining problems, constructing explanations and designing solutions, and developing and using models. Students interact with the Crosscutting Concepts including Scale, Proportion, and Quantity, and Systems and System Models. Disciplinary Core Ideas are also embedded within the investigations.

In Lesson 20: Resources in Living Systems, students learn how resource availability impacts living things by analyzing data from case studies and playing a game of matching species with biomes and ecosystems to understand competition and species distributions. Finally, they construct a model ecosystem and track resources needed by the living things within it.

Investigation 3: Predicting How Resource Need Shape Ecosystems and Biomes
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Reference Text Features

The Reference Text features considerate and engaging text with engineering content built right in. On TCI’s learning online platform, the Reference Text offers Text-to-Audio, Main Idea Viewer, Spanish translation, Student Highlighter Tool, and more. In addition, resources beyond the text are embedded in TCI’s online learning platform. This includes Check for Understanding, digital simulations, and videos that will help students investigate phenomena more meaningfully.

Explore lesson 20’s print and online Reference Text where students learn about resources in living systems. 

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NGSS-Designed Assessments

Each lesson includes a TCI assessment that addresses all three dimensions, uses diverse stimuli, and allows students to express understanding in multiple formats. You can use it as a formative or summative assessment to evaluate students’ ability to explain real-world data and phenomena. Want more flexibility with assessments? You can also create your own, or use shared questions from other TCI teachers.

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Throughout the program, students participate in Engineering Challenges where they think like an engineer as they solve real-world problems related to unit anchoring phenomenon. They go through the engineering design process for each challenge.

In Unit 7: Resource in Ecosystems, students build a sound shield to protect acoustic interactions from highway noise. 

Reading Further

Reading Furthers are included in each lesson to enhance literacy and engage students with related topics. Students dive into a high-interest topic and investigate the intricacies of science.

In lesson 20’s Reading Further, students read about wildlife in the city. They learn about the urban ecosystem, how wildlife adapt to city life, and how citizens can involve in scientific projects by sharing their observation with scientists on online platforms.

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Performance Assessment

Students apply what they have learned in a hands-on Performance Assessment where they are evaluated across the three dimensions.

Unit 7 Performance Assessment: Changing Resources for Cichlid Fish 

Use your understanding of the resources and interactions in dynamic ecosystems to determine what needs changing in the cichlid fish exhibit where some species are unhealthy. Then, present your solution at a conference. 

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