This is an essay assignment I give to my 7th grade Life Science students after we have studied the 6 characteristics of life. Fire has several of the characteristics of Life; It breathes oxygen. It eats wood. It reproduces (sort of). It can grow bigger. It responds to change.
In this assignment students will write an essay explaining why fire is NOT alive, even though it can seem like a living thing. Includes a basic graphic organizer to organize their thoughts and ideas before they start writing. I either give the students some time on the internet to research some facts about fire, OR provide them with a handout with facts for them to use in their first paragraph.
Great first writing assignment of the year, there are very specific directions and the graphic organizer makes starting the writing process quite easy for students. This can be done as an in class assignment or started in class and finished for homework.
Also included is an extension assignment for students who finish early.
This assignment meets the following-
7th Grade California Science Standards:
1. All living organisms are composed of cells, from just one to many trillions, whose details usually are visible only through a microscope. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know cells function similarly in all living organisms.
7th grade California ELA standards:
2.0 Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)
Structural Features of Informational Materials
2.1 Understand and analyze the differences in structure and purpose between various categories of informational materials (e.g., textbooks, newspapers, instructional manuals, signs).
2.4 Write persuasive compositions:
a. State a clear position or perspective in support of a proposition or proposal.
b. Describe the points in support of the proposition, employing well-articulated
c. Anticipate and address reader concerns and counterarguments.
2.5 Write summaries of reading materials:
a. Include the main ideas and most significant details.
b. Use the student’s own words, except for quotations.
c. Reflect underlying meaning, not just the superficial details.