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Earthquake Terror Unit

Page history last edited by Margaret Miles 9 years, 8 months ago

Intel® Teach Program

Thinking with Technology Course


Earthquake Terror—Novel Study Unit

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Unit Author

First and Last Name

Meg Miles

School District

Tempe Elementary School District #3

School Name

Gililland Middle School

School City, State

Tempe, Arizona 85281

Unit Overview

Unit Title

Character Choices and Motives—Cause and Effect

Unit Summary

Students will analyze Jonathan’s character in the novel Earthquake Terror by Peg Kehret, and determine whether he acts in a childish or an adult manner. Students will analyze and describe character motives. They will analyze cause and effect and draw conclusions regarding setting and elements of plot. Using the Showing Evidence Tool, students will make a claim about Jonathan’s behavior and collect evidence from the novel to support that claim. Students will use their project work from the tool to participate in an informal debate and then individually reflect on challenges in their own lives.

Subject Area

Language Arts—Reading

Grade Level

Grade Six

Approximate Time Needed

Four weeks, 40 minute lessons, daily.

Unit Foundation

Habits of Learning Taxonomy

Argumentation, character analysis, decision-making.

Targeted Content Standards and Benchmarks

1:6:PO 6. Apply knowledge of the organizational structures (e.g., chronological order, time-sequence order, cause and effect relationships) of text to aid comprehension.

1:6:PO 7. Use reading strategies (e.g., drawing conclusions, determining cause and effect, making inferences, sequencing) to comprehend text.

2:1:PO 3. Describe the motivations of major and minor characters.

2:1:PO 5. Analyze the influence of setting (e.g., time of day or year, historical period, place, situation) on the

problem and resolution.

Student Objectives/Learning Outcomes


Chronological order, cause and effect, draw conclusions, make inferences, describe character motivations, and analyze the influence of setting on conflict.


Curriculum-Framing Questions



Essential Question

How do we make choices?


Unit Questions

What motivates us to make certain choices?

How are choices affected by current situations?

What is the effect of our choices?


Content Questions

What are character motivations?

Why do characters choose to do what they do?

What effect did the characters’ choices have on the sequence of events?

What influence did the setting have on the problem and resolution of the story?

Assessment Plan

Assessment Timeline




Before project work begins

Students work on projects and complete tasks

After project work is completed

Students will need to be pre-taught the following concepts:

  • Setting

  • Synonyms and antonyms

  • The Writing Process

  • Persuasive Essays

  • A well-written paragraph (for the podcasting activity)

Students will need to be pre-taught the following programs:

  • Showing Evidence Tool

  • PowerPoint

  • Pixie

  • Inspiration

  • Microsoft Word

  • GarageBand/Podcasting

Students will complete the following tasks:

  • Read the novel

  • Showing Evidence Tool

  • Vocabulary—PowerPoint

  • Setting—Pixie

  • Persuasive Essay Inspiration and Word

  • Character Motives/Cause and EffectGarageBand

Assessment Summary

View how a variety of student-centered assessments are used in the Seasoning the School Year Unit Plan. These assessments help students and teachers set goals; monitor student progress; provide feedback; assess thinking, processes, performances, and products; and reflect on learning throughout the learning cycle.

Showing Evidence Elements (Complete this section if this tool will be used in the unit)

Showing Evidence Project Name (For the Showing Evidence workspace)

Choices Made—Adult-like or Childish?

Project Description (For the Showing Evidence workspace)

Using the Showing Evidence Tool, students will make a claim about Jonathan’s behavior and collect evidence from the novel to support that claim. Students will use their project work from the tool to participate in an informal debate and then individually reflect on challenges in their own lives.

Prompt (For the Showing Evidence workspace)

Were Jonathan’s choices childish or adult-like?

Practice Case (For your future quick reference)

Practice Team ID:


Reviewing Team ID:



Jonathan’s choices were childish.

Jonathan’s choices were adult-like.


The following evidences will be provided for the students (within the tool). Students will be required to add an additional five (or more) evidences of their own—based on Jonathan’s choices, as well as give an explanation for each (teacher-created and student-created).

  • Jonathan left Abby alone with Moose so that he could investigate their surroundings.

  • Jonathan thought of jokes he could tell his teacher to explain why he didn't have his homework done.

  • Jonathan carried Abby piggyback, in spite of having a swollen knee.

  • Jonathan encouraged his dad to take his mom into the hospital--leaving Jonathan and Abby alone.

  • Jonathan had selfish--childish--thoughts.

Unit Details

Prerequisite Skills

Students must have a basic understanding of the destruction that can be caused by an earthquake. They must know that an island is isolated. Students must have a basic understanding of physical disabilities.

Instructional Procedures

Weeks 1-4: (until novel is completed)

Students will be given time daily to read a chapter of the novel (individually, with a partner, small-group, whole-group, etc.). Oral, written, or blogged discussion will check for comprehension daily.


Week 1: VocabularyCreate a PowerPoint indicating 8-10 words (of student’s own choice). These will include the word, used in a sentence, a definition, synonyms (2), antonyms (2), and a picture or illustration.


Week 2: Setting—Using Pixie, students will visually represent the influence of setting. They will create 4-5 pictures with different settings, drawing and explaining how the problem and resolution would be different if the setting was different (i.e. time of year, location, time period, etc.). Each different setting will contain 2-3 sentences indicating the differences that would come with each different setting.


Week 3: Character Motives/Cause and Effect: Using GarageBand, students will write a script (on paper), record voice, select photos and music to create a podcast. Students will explain three of Jonathan’s choices—the cause of his choices, and the effect his choices had on the storyline.


Week 4: Showing Evidence Tool—Using the Showing Evidence Tool, students will make a claim about Jonathan’s behavior and collect evidence from the novel to support that claim. Students will use their project work from the tool to participate in an informal debate and then individually reflect on challenges in their own lives.

Week 4 (continued): Persuasive Essay—Using Inspiration (pre-writing) and Word (word processing/final copy) students will write a persuasive essay, persuading the reader of their claim (either Jonathan’s choices were childish. Or Jonathan’s choices were adult-like.).


Week 4 (continued): Culminating test—Teacher will generate a written culminating test. It will focus primarily on comprehension of the novel.


Students will work on the above assignments until each is completed. Using the Showing Evidence Tool, students will debate then write a persuasive essay, convincing readers/listeners of their claim.

Accommodations for Differentiated Instruction


Resource Student

  • Supply visual guides

  • Break activities into manageable sections, and record tasks on a calendar

  • Provide extra time to complete assignments

  • Supply a copy of the book on tape or CD

  • Group the student with more capable learners


Nonnative English Speaker

  • Use a computer microphone to record the student reading aloud

  • Provide a glossary

  • Provide an English/(native language) dictionary

  • Pair the student with a more proficient bilingual student


Gifted Student

  • Encourage the student to create supplemental assignments or extensions

  • Provide technologies that offer advanced features

  • Have students serve as specialists.

Materials and Resources Required For Unit

Printed Materials

Earthquake Terror by Peg Kehret (enough for the class + teacher)


Binder paper, pencils

Technology -Hardware

Laptop computer for each student, headphones (enough to match number of computers), printer, digital cameras, SmartBoard, projection system, etc.

Technology -Software

Microsoft Applications (Word, PowerPoint, etc.), Pixie, Inspiration, GarageBand (podcasting), etc.

Internet Resources

Pre-selected (by the teacher) photos that the students will use in podcasting.

Other Resources

Applicable as teacher deems necessary.

Comprehension, character analysis, vocabulary squares, choices paragraph, quiz, etc. worksheets as applicable.



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