The lesson that follows was developed by Debble Blaskowski, a fourth-grade teacher at the Weyerhaeuser School in Weyerhaeuser, Wisconsin. Blaskowski's lesson was designed to guide students in using their prior knowledge of insects as the introduction to a unit on "Insects". By activating their prior knowledge of insects to develop a foundation, students were able to increase their knowledge base and make connections. Additionally, students were able to practice working in cooperative groups and share information thus learning together. The KWHL diagram, the lesson plan, and the Frayer Model graphic organizer used by Blaskowski follow:

Topic: Insects




(Want to know)


(How find out)





Lesson #1

Subject Area: Science

Teacher: Mrs. Blaskowski

Grade: Fourth

Topic: Insects

School: Weyerhaeuser


  1. The students will elicit prior knowledge about insects.
  2. The students will be introduced to the KWHL strategy.
  3. The students will understand why we use graphic organizers.
Set Induction:

Show a picture of an insect and ask the students, "What is this a picture of?" After identifying it as an insect, tell the students that you want to find out everything they know about insects.


  1. Introduce the KWHL strategy. Have a big KWHL chart taped to chalkboard. Explain how and why we use it (graphic organizer), and model. "Today I am going to introduce you to a strategy that can help us to visually organize what we already know, what we want to know, and what we learn. This strategy is called the KWHL."
  2. Then, have the students give you one or two more examples for each section of the KWHL and add them to the chart (guided practice). If students are having difficulty at this point, go back and model the use of the strategy again.
  3. When students appear to understand the use of the strategy, have the students get into groups of three. Organize groups by having the students pick a sticker of an insect. The students with the same insect sticker are in the same group. Also, on the back of each sticker, write one of the following jobs:

  4. Review rules for cooperative learning (how to work tegether, cooperative group voices, etc...). Students get with their groups.
  5. Come back together as a whole group. Have the reporteres from each group share their KWHL charts. Add information to the large chart at the front of the classroom.

Take a look at the KWHL chart. Review what the students already know and want to know. Explain that tomorrow we will start learning some things about insects and hopefully start to fill in the "What I Learned About Insects" section of the chart.

Materials Needed:

Frayer Model: Essential Characteristics,Nonessential Characteristics,Insects,Examples,Nonexamples

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