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Summarizing: Part Two

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Thursday, 25 October 2007 11:33

2 Comments

By Mimi Rothschild

Here’s part two!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and also about how your homeschooling experience is going this year!

How Can You Stretch Students’ Thinking?

Here are some general questions for students to consider when summarizing either fiction or nonfiction:

  • What happened?

  • Who was involved?

  • What was the outcome?

  • Is the essential piece of information included?

  • Are interesting but nonessential facts or details eliminated?

  • Would someone who read my summary really understand the main points of the text?

Some students may get paraphrasing and summarizing confused. Explain that summarizing is similar to paraphrasing because both strategies require students to put the main ideas of a story or article into their own words. However, the major difference between the two is that a summary usually recounts an entire article or story whereas a paraphrase recounts specific information within an article or story. For example, you might ask students to paraphrase a passage in a chapter of their textbook and to summarize the entire chapter.

When Can You Use It?

Reading/English

Have students summarize stories, a chapter from a novel, an act from a play, a poem, or an entire short story. Ask students to summarize the life of an author or a piece of science fiction or historical fiction.

Writing

Have students use a story map to summarize a work of fiction or nonfiction in a paragraph. Have them write a paragraph that summarizes a style of writing that their favorite author uses.

Math

Have students summarize an important theorem in geometry such as the Pythagorean theorem, the quadratic formula, or how to do long division. Have them summarize the life of an important mathematician such as Pythagoras.

Social Studies

Summarize the events leading up to an historical event such as the Civil War. Have students summarize an interesting case such as the Dred Scott case or the life of an important historical figure such as Martin Luther King, or Abigail Adams.

Science

Have students summarize the process of photosynthesis, a recent science experiment, or the life of an important scientist such as Marie Curie or Thomas Edison.

Lesson Plans
  • These lesson plans are for primary students:

Summarizing, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
This lesson is designed to expand primary students’ summarizing skills using the book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

Summarizing, Nate the Great
This lesson is designed to establish primary students’ skills in summarizing a story using the book, Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.

Summarizing, Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia
This lesson is designed to introduce primary students to summarizing a story using a part of the book Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia.

  • These lesson plans are for middle or high school students:

Summarizing an O. Henry Short Story (fiction)
During this high school language arts lesson, students will summarize, verbally and in writing, the short story “Confessions of a Humorist” by O. Henry.

Summarizing a John F. Kennedy Speech (nonfiction)
During this high school language arts lesson, students will summarize, verbally and in writing, a speech that John F. Kennedy gave about the need for America to land a man on the moon.

2 Responses to “Summarizing: Part Two”

  1. Aurora Lipper says:

    Simple Laser Experiments
    to Share with Your Kids

    By Aurora Lipper

    This article teaches kids about lasers and gives a handful of totally fun (and safe) experiments to do with them. It is great for teaching homeschool science. It’s also good for boy scouts working on a badge, or for any kids that love science experiments. These experiments are part of a homeschool science program that I teach, so I promise your kids will love it.

    The word “LASER” stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A laser is an optical light source that emits a concentrated beam of photons. Lasers are usually monochromatic – the light that shoots out is usually one wavelength and color, and is in a narrow beam.

    By contrast, light from a regular incandescent light bulb covers the entire spectrum as well as scatters all over the room. (Which is good, because could you light up a room with a narrow beam of light?)

    There are about a hundred different types of atoms in the entire universe, and they are always vibrating, moving, and rotating. Think of kids on sugar. When you add energy to these atoms (even more sugar to the kids), they really get excited and bounce all over the place.

    When the atoms relax back down to their “normal” state, they emit a photon (a light particle). Think of the kids as coming down from their sugar high, and they all collapse on the couch.

    A laser controls the way energized atoms release photons. Imagine giving half the kids sugar, and picture how they would bounce all over the place (like light from a bulb)when it took effect. They would be very high-energy among the other half who were contently sitting down.

    Now imagine those sugar kids jumping in unison (a focused laser beam). The sugar-kids are infectious, and pretty soon, the kids around them are joining in and sharing in their excited energy. This is how a laser charges the atoms inside the gas medium.

    Now imagine a cat-flap that lets out a limited number of kids out at a time, while the rest are bouncing around inside, charging up everyone. That cat-flap exit is the laser beam exiting the laser. The atoms remaining inside the laser bounce off mirrors as they charge each other up.

    Before we start, you’ll need eye protection – tinted UV ski goggles are great to use, as are large-framed sunglasses, but understand that these methods of eye protection will not protect your eyes from a direct beam. They are intended as a general safety precaution against laser beam scatter and spinning mirrors. (Yes, you will be wearing sunglasses in the dark!)

    A very neat addition to the experiments below is a fog machine. (Rent one from your local party supply store.) Turn it on, be sure you have good ventilation, darken the lights, and turn on the lasers for an outstanding laser experience! If you are teaching homeschool science to a group of kids, this can be especially fun with them all shining lasers at the same time.

    A quick note about lasers: keychain lasers from the dollar store work just fine with these projects. Do not use green lasers – they are too dangerous for the eyes.

    Plastic Bottle Beam Fill up a plastic water or clean soda bottle with water and add a sprinkle of cornstarch. Turn down the lights and turn up the laser, aiming the beam through the bottle. Do you see the original beam in the bottle? Can you find the reflection beam and the pass-through beam?

    Light Bulb Laser In the dark, aim your laser at a frosted incandescent light bulb. The bulb will glow and have several internal reflections! What other types of light bulbs work well?

    CDs Shine your beam over the surface of an old CD or DVD. Does it work better with a scratched or smoother surface? You should see between 5-13 reflections off the surface of the CD, depending on where you shine it and how good your “seeing” conditions are.

    Glass and Crystal Pass the laser beam through several cut-crystal objects such as wine glasses or clear glass vases. Is there a difference between clear plastic or glass, smooth or multi-faceted? Try an ice cube, both frosted and wet.

    Microscope Slides Shine the laser beam through a flat piece of glass, such as a microscope slide or single-paned window. Can you find the pass-through beam as well as a reflected beam?

    If you have it, fill a clear tank with water, add a sprinkling of cornstarch, and put the slide underwater. Shine the laser through the side wall through the slide and both beams will be visible.

    Lenses If you have an old pair of eyeglasses, pop out the lenses and try one or both in the beam to see the various effects. Try one lens, and then try two in line with each other to see if you can change the beam.

    Filters Paint a piece of cellophane or stiff clear plastic with nail polish (or use colored filers) to put in the laser beam. You can make a quick diffraction grating by using a feather in the beam.

    If you have polarizer filters, use two. You can substitute two sunglass lenses – no need to pop out the lenses – you can just use two pairs of sunglasses. Just make sure they are polarized lenses (most UV sunglasses are). Place both lenses in the beam and rotate one 90 degrees. The lenses should block the light completely in one configuration and allow it to pass-through the other way.

    Laser Maze Hot glue one 1″ mosaic mirror (found at most craft stores) to each wooden cube. In a pinch, you can use aluminum foil or Mylar. Add a fog source, such as a fog machine, dry ice, or clap two (very chalky) chalkboard erasers together – just be sure to have proper ventilation, as you will also need the room to be very dark. Turn on the laser adjust the cubes to aim the beam onto the next mirror.

    As a teacher, homeschool science teacher, engineer and university instructor Aurora Lipper has been helping kids learn science for over a decade.

    Want More Cool Homeschool Science Experiments and Activities?

    Rocket-launch your kid’s education by downloading your FREE copy of the Homeschool Science Experiment Activity Guide from the Supercharged Science website: http://www.SuperchargedScience.com

  2. Aurora Lipper says:

    Simple Laser Experiments to Share with Your Kids

    By Aurora Lipper

    This article teaches kids about lasers and gives a handful of totally fun (and safe) experiments to do with them. It is great for teaching homeschool science. It’s also good for boy scouts working on a badge, or for any kids that love science experiments. These experiments are part of a homeschool science program that I teach, so I promise your kids will love it.

    The word “LASER” stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A laser is an optical light source that emits a concentrated beam of photons. Lasers are usually monochromatic – the light that shoots out is usually one wavelength and color, and is in a narrow beam.

    By contrast, light from a regular incandescent light bulb covers the entire spectrum as well as scatters all over the room. (Which is good, because could you light up a room with a narrow beam of light?)

    There are about a hundred different types of atoms in the entire universe, and they are always vibrating, moving, and rotating. Think of kids on sugar. When you add energy to these atoms (even more sugar to the kids), they really get excited and bounce all over the place.

    When the atoms relax back down to their “normal” state, they emit a photon (a light particle). Think of the kids as coming down from their sugar high, and they all collapse on the couch.

    A laser controls the way energized atoms release photons. Imagine giving half the kids sugar, and picture how they would bounce all over the place (like light from a bulb)when it took effect. They would be very high-energy among the other half who were contently sitting down.

    Now imagine those sugar kids jumping in unison (a focused laser beam). The sugar-kids are infectious, and pretty soon, the kids around them are joining in and sharing in their excited energy. This is how a laser charges the atoms inside the gas medium.

    Now imagine a cat-flap that lets out a limited number of kids out at a time, while the rest are bouncing around inside, charging up everyone. That cat-flap exit is the laser beam exiting the laser. The atoms remaining inside the laser bounce off mirrors as they charge each other up.

    Before we start, you’ll need eye protection – tinted UV ski goggles are great to use, as are large-framed sunglasses, but understand that these methods of eye protection will not protect your eyes from a direct beam. They are intended as a general safety precaution against laser beam scatter and spinning mirrors. (Yes, you will be wearing sunglasses in the dark!)

    A very neat addition to the experiments below is a fog machine. (Rent one from your local party supply store.) Turn it on, be sure you have good ventilation, darken the lights, and turn on the lasers for an outstanding laser experience! If you are teaching homeschool science to a group of kids, this can be especially fun with them all shining lasers at the same time.

    A quick note about lasers: keychain lasers from the dollar store work just fine with these projects. Do not use green lasers – they are too dangerous for the eyes.

    Plastic Bottle Beam Fill up a plastic water or clean soda bottle with water and add a sprinkle of cornstarch. Turn down the lights and turn up the laser, aiming the beam through the bottle. Do you see the original beam in the bottle? Can you find the reflection beam and the pass-through beam?

    Light Bulb Laser In the dark, aim your laser at a frosted incandescent light bulb. The bulb will glow and have several internal reflections! What other types of light bulbs work well?

    CDs Shine your beam over the surface of an old CD or DVD. Does it work better with a scratched or smoother surface? You should see between 5-13 reflections off the surface of the CD, depending on where you shine it and how good your “seeing” conditions are.

    Glass and Crystal Pass the laser beam through several cut-crystal objects such as wine glasses or clear glass vases. Is there a difference between clear plastic or glass, smooth or multi-faceted? Try an ice cube, both frosted and wet.

    Microscope Slides Shine the laser beam through a flat piece of glass, such as a microscope slide or single-paned window. Can you find the pass-through beam as well as a reflected beam?

    If you have it, fill a clear tank with water, add a sprinkling of cornstarch, and put the slide underwater. Shine the laser through the side wall through the slide and both beams will be visible.

    Lenses If you have an old pair of eyeglasses, pop out the lenses and try one or both in the beam to see the various effects. Try one lens, and then try two in line with each other to see if you can change the beam.

    Filters Paint a piece of cellophane or stiff clear plastic with nail polish (or use colored filers) to put in the laser beam. You can make a quick diffraction grating by using a feather in the beam.

    If you have polarizer filters, use two. You can substitute two sunglass lenses – no need to pop out the lenses – you can just use two pairs of sunglasses. Just make sure they are polarized lenses (most UV sunglasses are). Place both lenses in the beam and rotate one 90 degrees. The lenses should block the light completely in one configuration and allow it to pass-through the other way.

    Laser Maze Hot glue one 1″ mosaic mirror (found at most craft stores) to each wooden cube. In a pinch, you can use aluminum foil or Mylar. Add a fog source, such as a fog machine, dry ice, or clap two (very chalky) chalkboard erasers together – just be sure to have proper ventilation, as you will also need the room to be very dark. Turn on the laser adjust the cubes to aim the beam onto the next mirror.

    As a teacher, homeschool science teacher, engineer and university instructor Aurora Lipper has been helping kids learn science for over a decade.

    Want More Cool Homeschool Science Experiments and Activities?

    Rocket-launch your kid’s education by downloading your FREE copy of the Homeschool Science Experiment Activity Guide from the Supercharged Science website: http://www.SuperchargedScience.com

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