Literary Sparks: Science, Grade 7


LAFS.7.RL.1.1: Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

LAFS.7.RI.3.AP.9a: Use supporting evidence to summarize central ideas, draw inferences or analyze connections within or across texts.

CTE-TECED.68.ENGTEC.04: Demonstrate an understanding of the engineering process.

CTE-TECED.68.ENGTEC.04.02: Describe the experimental method as it is applied to design.

SC.912.E.5: The origin and eventual fate of the Universe still remains one of the greatest questions in science. Gravity and energy influence the development and life cycles of galaxies, including our own Milky Way Galaxy, stars, the planetary systems, Earth, and residual material left from the formation of the Solar System. Humankind’s need to explore continues to lead to the development of knowledge and understanding of the nature of the Universe.

Boy who harnessed the wind book cover

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

In this memoir adapted for young readers, William Kamkwamba describes the drought that struck his tiny village in Malawi, his subsequent interest in science, and his idea to build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William’s windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land.

Flush, book cover

Flush by Carl Hiaasen

With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of this floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around their Florida Keys home.

#Literary Sparks

  1. What are the differences between Noah and Abby? Why are they a good team?
  2. Which substance did Abby and Noah use to mark the trace of contamination in the lake? How does the substance work?
  3. List some of the things you can do in your community to avoid environmental contamination.


Don’t Use It All Up

Learning Outcomes Statement:

Don’t Use It All Up is an introduction to the topic on how growing populations can affect the environment. Students will research a natural resource – how it can be exhausted and how we can help to conserve it. They will discover how human populations are resource consumers.

Materials Needed:

  • Big clear container with a wide mouth opening (like a 2L soda bottle with the top cut off)
  • Four sponges
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Markers
  • Masking Tape
  • Paper Towels
  • Drawing Paper

Library Resources/Materials to Share:

FIC HIAASEN, C. Flushby Carl Hiaasen

Y BIO 621.312136 KAMKWAMBA. The Boy Who Harnessed the Windby William Kamkwamba

Y 333.9116 OLIEN, R. (2016) Saving Waterby Rebecca Olien

Y 333.9162 IYER Endangered rivers : investigating rivers in crisisby Rani Lyer

Notes for Introduction:

There is an abundance of water on this earth. Unfortunately, nearly all of the water, more than 97 percent, is salt water and is neither easily nor economically available for humans to consume. Most of the freshwater supply is held in glaciers and icecaps, making it unavailable for human consumption. Less than one percent of water on the Earth is freshwater in the form of groundwater, lakes, and streams.

Activities Description:

  • Students will put about four cups of water in the container. Cut each sponge into 4 pieces. Discuss with the students the ways we use water and write them on the board.
  • Have the students, with a marker or masking tape, mark the water level on the outside of the container. Drop a piece of a sponge into a container as you share one personal demand you made on water today.
  • Remove the wet sponge from the container and have students examine the water level. It probably shows very little change.
  • Ask the students, one at a time, to name a personal demand they made on water today while dropping a piece of sponge in the container. After all the sponges have been dropped in the container, soaking up as much water as possible, remove all of them (don’t squeeze them out) and set them aside in a bowl.
  • Draw attention to the dramatic change in water level. Help the students understand that the demands of a lot of people have more effect than the demands of a few people on natural resources.
  • Take one wet sponge, naming a way you can reduce or recycle, and squeeze the water out of the sponge back into the container. There is a change in water level, but not much. One person reducing and recycling does make a difference but the impact will be greater when many individuals reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Questions for Feedback and Reflection:

  1. What happens to the water level as we put in more sponges?
  2. What will happen if we keep using water at this rate?
  3. What can we do about this situation?
  4. How can we give water back to the environment?
  5. Can the water in this activity represent other resources people use? What are some resources which cannot be recycled? Name some. How they can be conserved?
  6. What one thing you have learned from this demonstration?

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