Lessons & Units :: Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll 1st Grade Unit

Read-Aloud Lesson: Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll

Lesson Plan

Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll | 500L

Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll
Learning Goal
Gather information and describe important facts about thunder and lightning.
Part 1: Approximately 20 minutes
Part 2: Approximately 10-15 minutes
Part 3: Approximately 10-15 minutes
Necessary Materials

1. Detailed lesson plan
2. Graphic organizer for guided practice
3. Independent student worksheet

Not Provided:
Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll

  1. This lesson is a close reading of the entire text. So it’s important to engage students often, to enhance their learning. Here are two tips:

    •   When you ask the more complex questions from the lesson, ask students to “turn-and-talk” or “buddy-talk” before answering.

    •   Once you are deep into the lesson, instead of asking students every question provided, ask them to share with you what questions they should be asking themselves at that point in the text. This is also a great opportunity to use "turn-and-talk."
  2. Suggested teacher language is included in the lesson.

  3. We recommend you read the book once to your students, either the day or morning before teaching the lesson.

  4. This research-based, read-aloud lesson may seem long. Why do students need the lesson to be this way?

Part 1: Teacher Modeling & Questioning


Write the following student-friendly learning goal on the board, then read the learning goal out loud with the class: 

We will describe important facts about thunder and lightning.

Transition Students into the Text
Teacher says: Take a moment to imagine a thunderstorm. It is raining very hard. There is lightning. There is thunder. People have moved inside to be safe. Did you ever wonder how thunder and lightning are formed in a thunderstorm? Let’s read to learn more about thunder and lightning.
Read page 4 out loud, then stop. Page 4 ends with, “...big white clouds in the sky.”
Teacher says (models thinking): The words create a picture in my mind, and they make me feel curious. The author says that nothing is moving and that there are big clouds in the sky, but usually when I am outside, I can almost always feel a little wind and can hear things moving. This motionless setting makes me sense that something is going to happen. I wonder what will happen next.
Read pages 6-7 out loud, then stop. Page 7 ends with, “We’re going to have a thunderstorm.”
Teacher says: Now I know what is going to happen! The author tells us that there is going to be a thunderstorm.
Read pages 8-9 out loud, then stop. Be sure to also read the captions on page 9. Page 9 ends with, “...into small crystals of ice.”
Teacher says: I just read that air that rises to form clouds carries water vapor, which is water in its gas form. When this water gets cold enough, it becomes something else. I’m going to read page 9 again. As I do, listen carefully for what water vapor becomes when it cools.
Read page 9 again.
Teacher asks: What does water vapor become when it cools?
Students answer: Water vapor becomes water drops or ice crystals when it cools.
Read more
Read pages 10-13 out loud, then stop. Page 13 ends with, “...a flash of lightning.”
Teacher says: We learned before that clouds are made up of tiny droplets of water. Now we learned that each droplet of water carries a tiny bit of something in it.
Teacher asks: What does each water droplet in a thunderstorm cloud carry?
Students answer: Each water droplet carries a tiny bit of electricity.
Teacher says: When I say the word: “electricity,” I want everyone to show me with your hands how many droplets and crystals there are in one thundercloud. I’m going to give you two choices so listen closely. Wait to move until I say the word “electricity.” If there are many, many droplets and crystals, spread your arms out as wide as you can. But if there are few droplets and crystals in a thundercloud, keep your hands close together. Picture in your head what you are going to do. Are you ready? One, two, three, Electricity!
Ideally everyone will reach stretch their arms wide. When they do, say: Yes! The book says that there are billions and billions of droplets and crystals in just one cloud. That means there are many, many droplets and crystals. Good listening! Please sit back down so that I can read more.
Read pages 14-15 out loud, then stop. Page 15 ends with, “...a mile or even longer.”
Teacher says: The author also gave me some important facts about lightning on these pages. He said lightning can travel from one cloud to another or even reach a high building or tree. He also said that lightning may be a mile or even longer! I wonder if I am going to learn even more about lightning on the next page.
Your students will probably not have a good sense of how long a mile is, so think of a concrete example to illustrate this to them. For example: You drive 1 mile when you go from our school to the library/highway/train station/etc.
Read page 16 out loud, then stop. Page 16 ends with, “...the thunder rumbles and rolls.”
Teacher asks: What did we learn about the temperature of lightning from this page?
Students answer: We learned that lightning is hot.
Teacher asks: I am going to read page 16 again. When I am done, I want everyone to please shout out what comes after lightning that makes first a crash, and then rumbles and rolls. “Thunder comes after the lightning . . . the thunder rumbles and rolls.” OK everyone, what goes crash, then rumbles and rolls?
Suggested class response: Thunder!
Read page 17 out loud, then stop. Page 17 ends with, “...so there is lots of sound.”
Teacher says: So thunder is kind of like the sound that we hear when we pop a balloon. When lightning strikes or when we pop a balloon, air must expand fast. This makes noise. Now listen as I read the bottom of page 17 to learn why thunder is so much louder than popping a balloon. “There’s only a little air in the balloon, so there’s not much noise. Lightning moves lots of air – billions of times more – so there is lots of sound.”
Teacher asks: Why is thunder so much louder than the balloon popping?
Students answer: Lightning is so much louder than the balloon popping because it moves more air.
Read pages 18-19 out loud, then stop. Page 19 ends with, “... ONE MILE! “
Reading page 19 will require some extra description. Here is some suggested language: In this first box, lightning strikes and because light moves so fast, the girl sees it instantly. In that same moment there is a crash but it is at the thunderstorm cloud. The girl has not heard it yet. After one second, the lightning is gone but the crash is moving closer to the girl. After 5 seconds, the crash has traveled 1 mile and the girl hears it. More rumbling and rolling are on the way.
Teacher asks: What travels faster: the sound of thunder or the light from lightning?
Students answer: The light from lightning travels faster.
Teacher says: We know from the previous page that the light from lightning and the sound in thunder has to travel from the thundercloud to our eyes and ears for us to see and hear it. Light and sound both move faster than the fastest racecar, but they do not travel at the same speed. Remember, we just learned that the light from lightning can get to our eyes faster than the sound from thunder can get to our ears. I’m going to read page 18 again and while I do, listen for evidence that light travels faster. What have people noticed about light and sound that demonstrates that light travels faster?
Read page 18 again.
Teacher asks: What is the evidence from the text that light travels faster?

Students answer (may vary but should include):

The book says that:

  • sound waves travel much more slowly than the light from lightning.
  • light travels fast enough to get to the moon in 2 seconds but it would take sound 2 weeks to get there.
  • you see lightning the moment it strikes but it usually takes a few seconds to hear the thunder.
  • it takes a full five seconds for sound to travel 1 mile.
Read pages 20-21 out loud, then stop. Page 21 ends with, “It may injure people or kill them.”
Teacher says: The author tells us about the damage lightning can cause here on page 21. For example, the first thing he says is that lightning can start fires in houses or barns.
Teacher asks: What else can lightning do that is dangerous?

Students answer: Lightning can

  • start forest fires.
  • knock over trees and telephone poles.
  • kill cows and horses in a field.
  • injure people or kill them.
Teacher asks: What does the author tell us about how dangerous thunder is?
Students answer: The author tells us that thunder may be scary, but thunder won’t hurt you.
Teacher asks: Ok class, when I say “thunderstorm”, I want you to show me which is more dangerous: thunder or lightning. If you think thunder is more dangerous, wave your hands and say "rumble and roll." If you think lightning is more dangerous, clap your hands and say "flash." Again, if you think thunder is more dangerous, wave your hands and say "rumble and roll." If you think lightning is more dangerous, clap your hands and say "flash." Are you picturing how you are going to move? Ready? Thunderstorm!
Students answer: Students should clap their hands and say, "Flash!"
Read pages 22-24, then stop. Page 24 ends with, "...bend your head forward."
Teacher asks: If you are in a big field and there is a thunder and lightning storm, what should you not do?
Students answer: You should not be the highest thing around.
Teacher asks: What should you do if you're in a big field and there is a thunder and lightning storm?
Students answer: You should crouch down, with your knees on the ground, and bend your head forward.
Teacher says: Let's take a look at the boy illustrated on page 24.
Teacher asks: What is he doing?
Students answer: He is crouching down with his knees on the ground and bending his head forward.
Teacher asks: Why is the boy doing that?
Students answer: He is doing that because there is a thunder and lightning storm outside, and he needs to not be the highest thing around so he can stay safe.
Read the remainder of the book, through page 31.

Part 2: Guided Practice & Discussion

For this oral lesson, it is suggested to have the completed graphic organizer on the board with the answers concealed. After students provide a correct answer, reveal the corresponding answer on the graphic organizer. Students are expected to write the correct answers when they are not provided in the student version of the graphic organizer.
Transition Students into Guided Practice

Teacher says: Now that we have read Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll, we can think about what we learned about thunder and lightning.

Teacher asks: Which happens first: thunder or lightning?
Students answer: Lightning happens first.
Teacher asks: Then after lightning what happens second?
Students answer: Thunder happens after lightning.
Teacher asks: Where does lightning form?
Students answer: Lightning forms in the clouds.
Teacher asks: What is lightning made of?
Students answer: Lightning is made of electricity.
Read more
Teacher asks: Is the temperature of lightning hot or cold?
Students answer: The temperature of lightning is hot.
Teacher asks: Is the temperature of lightning just hot or very, very hot?
Students answer: The temperature of lightning is very, very hot.
Teacher asks: Can lightning be very dangerous?
Students answer: Yes, lightning can be very dangerous.
Teacher asks: What dangerous things can lightning do?
Students answer: It can cause fires, and it can kill or injure people and animals.
Teacher asks: What is the noise that we hear after lightning strikes?
Students answer: Thunder is the noise that we hear after lightning strikes.
Teacher asks: What causes the noise thunder makes?
Students answer: The air is heated by the heat of lightning so the air expands very quickly and it makes a loud noise.
Teacher asks: Is thunder dangerous?
Students answer: No, thunder is not dangerous.

After the answers for the graphic organizer have been completed and discussed with the class, ask the following discussion question.

Teacher asks: We know that thunder is not dangerous. But if you hear thunder, does that mean there is definitely no danger outside? Or does hearing thunder mean that it could be dangerous outside? Based on what we learned in this book, please explain your answer.
Students answer: It could be, and probably is dangerous outside. Even though thunder is not dangerous, thunder is the noise that lightning makes, and lightning is dangerous. So if you hear thunder that means that there is lightning in the area. So there could be danger.

Student Independent Practice

Read each question out loud to your students and have each student complete the worksheet independently. For questions 5 A) and 6, you can have students draw their answers, answer orally, or write their answers depending on your students’ progress. If you have them write their answers, you may want to write the word(s) on the board for them to copy. Question 7 is a class discussion question.

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

(To see all of the ReadWorks lessons aligned to your standards, click here.)

User Comments

I love this lesson, I just got this book from the library and was trying to figure out how best to teach my students about thunder and such. I can't wait to ask them all these awesome questions. I am so excited!