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Core Content unit "Earthquake!" - Vocabulary and Content - Distance Learning

Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Compatible with 
30 pages
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Meet your content and literacy standards at the same time!

You get:

-Four grade level passages

-Four days of lesson plans to teach the vocabulary and concepts

-Independent practice pages

-Materials for Interactive practice

-Assessments (with rubrics and answer keys!)

This unit contains four original passages (three non-fiction and one fiction) that teach essential NGSS Science content related to earthquakes. Disciplinary Core Ideas from the NGSS explored in the passages are:

1. Earthquakes change the earth's surface.

2. The earth's surface is made of huge plates. These plates can shift and move.

3. Earthquakes can be destructive.

4. Humans can take steps to reduce the impact of earthquakes.

These concepts and key vocabulary are used throughout the passages. The passages are written first so that they are authentic, and then Tier Two and Tier Three vocabulary is chosen. The vocabulary and content spirals through the passages, allowing students to gradually take more responsibility and independence throughout the mini-unit.

Lesson plans for teaching the academic vocabulary and concepts are included, including a lesson on using Greek Roots to build meaning of words. Other lesson plans give students an opportunity to discuss the concept of Disciplinary Core Ideas, and to practice the target vocabulary (tectonic plates, destructive/destruction, seismic, energy, collapse, measure/measures/measurement, boundary, outward, evacuate, aftermath, survive/survived, unpredictable).

Wide reading of non-fiction texts is an essential shift in the Common Core, and this text set will help you and your students achieve that goal. These passages are at a Lexile between 700 - 1000, making them most appropriate for third, fourth and fifth grade students. In about 20 minutes a day, you will increase your students' knowledge about key content and their academic vocabulary!

Check out my store for the Crossword Puzzle and Word Search that can be additional extensions for this unit.

Earthquake Vocabulary Crossword Puzzle and Word Search

These passages are short enough to use in a variety of ways - close reading, supplements to your social studies curriculum, center activities, bell ringers, jig-saw..... The opportunities are as endless as the needs of your students!

I always appreciate your feedback and questions. Please use the Q and A if you have any questions, and let me know if you would like similar text sets on different topics! I'm always writing, and love to get new ideas that will be useful to you and your students!


Please follow me if you are interested in more resources like this. All new products are always 50% for the first 48 hours!


Check out my other Core Content units!

Core Content - Our Democracy!

Core Content - The Vikings!

Happy teaching!


Total Pages
30 pages
Answer Key
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic (e.g., wildlife, conservation, and endangered when discussing animal preservation).
Demonstrate understanding of words by relating them to their opposites (antonyms) and to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms).
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4–5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.


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