Sample Lesson—Bring Science Alive! Physical Science


Step into Waves Unit 1: Mechanical Waves to see how
a lesson would unfold in Bring Science Alive!

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.

Storyline: Las Olas Hermosas restaurant sits atop a steep cliff which is being eroded by massive winter waves. Learn about the properties of waves, wave energy, and how waves travel through different media to help write a proposal to solve Las Olas’s erosion problem.

Anchoring Phenomenon: Waves are eroding the coastline near the Las Olas Hermosas Restaurant more than the surrounding beaches. 

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 4 Phenomenon: The sound of your finger tapping on a desktop seems much louder and lower pitched when you press your ear to the desk. 

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 4: Waves in Different Media, students use a variety of models to investigate the way that waves behave when they reach the boundary between two different media. Then they observe refraction of waves and line up and model the wave motion by marching forward. 

Investigation 2: Modeling Refraction by Marching
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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 4’s print and online Reference Text where students learn about waves in different media. 

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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 1: Mechanical Waves, students help the residents of Beach Town by researching, designing, testing, and optimizing a structure to prevent erosion of the coast and save the local highway from suffering major damage.

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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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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 4’s Reading Further, students read about why the Tacoma Narrows Bridge fell apart shortly after opening day and how engineers investigated the failure, improved and tested the new design. 

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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 1 Performance Assessment: Saving the Las Olas Hermosas Restaurant 

Write a proposal for an engineering solution to prevent the erosion of the cliffs near Las Olas Hermosas restaurant. Use your understanding of wave properties to explain why your proposed design will be effective.

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