Lessons & Units :: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind 3rd Grade Unit

Read-Aloud Lesson: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Lesson Plan

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind | 910L

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Learning Goal
Describe the two problems faced by the people in William’s village and what William did to solve these problems.
Duration
TBD
Necessary Materials
Provided:
  1. Detailed lesson plan
  2. Graphic organizer for guided practice
  3. Independent student worksheet

Not Provided:
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
 
  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 and Questioning

 

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

We will describe two problems in this story and what the main character does to solve them.

 
Prepare Students for the Lesson
 
Show students where Malawi is on a map of Africa.
 
Transition Students into the Text
 
Teacher says: Think about what your life would be like without electricity. Now think about what it would be like without any water except what the rain brings. We’re going to read a true story about a place where people lived without electricity and running water.
 
Read the first sentence of page 1 out loud, then stop. The sentence ends with, “...farmers to bed.”
1.
Teacher asks: Where does this story take place?
 
Students answer: Answers may vary. Elicit both “a small village” and “Malawi” before moving on.
  • This story takes place in a small village.
  • This story takes place in Malawi.
  • This story takes place in a small village in Malawi.
2.
Teacher says: The book has already given us some important information about this small village in Malawi. One thing the book tells us is that the people in the village had no money for lights.
3.
Teacher asks: The book also tells us about nightfall in the village. What does it tell us about nightfall there?
 
Students answer (make sure both responses are given before moving on):
  • Nightfall came quickly.
  • Nightfall hurried poor farmers to bed.
4.
Teacher says (models thinking): Now let’s put together some of the things we just learned. I wonder whether there is a connection between the people not having money for lights and nightfall coming quickly and hurrying farmers to bed. If the people in the village had no light except from the sun, that would explain why nightfall came quickly and hurried farmers to bed. They would not have had lamps or light bulbs around them to see by after dark.
 
Finish reading page 1 out loud and continue through the end of page 7. Page 7 ends with, “...Malawi began to starve.”
5.
Teacher says: Maize [pronounced “maze”]. That word is important to this story but may be unfamiliar to many of us. Let’s see if we can figure out what “maize” means by rereading one of the sentences where it appears. As you listen, think about how the word “maize” connects to the words around it.
6.
Teacher asks: “Without water, the sun rose angry each morning and scorched the fields, turning the maize into dust.” What happened to the maize without water?
 
Students answer: It turned into dust.
Read more
7.
Teacher asks: Where was the maize growing?
 
Students answer: It was growing in fields.
8.
Teacher says: Now listen as I reread that sentence and the sentence that follows it. Think about how they connect and what that connection tells us about maize.
9.
Teacher asks: "Without water, the sun rose angry each morning and scorched the fields, turning the maize into dust. Without food, Malawi began to starve." What happened to the country of Malawi when the maize turned into dust?
 
Students answer: Malawi began to starve.
10.
Teacher says: Let’s review the three things we just read about maize:
  1. It turns to dust without water.
  2. It grows in fields.
  3. Without it, the country of Malawi began to starve.
11.
Teacher asks: Based on these three pieces of information, what is maize?
 
Students answer: Maize is food.
12.
Teacher says: Yes, maize is food. It is a type of corn.
 
Read page 9 out loud, then stop. Page 9 ends with, “...along the roads.”
13.
Teacher asks: What did William’s father tell his children?
 
Students answer: He told them that they would eat only one meal a day from now on.
14.
Teacher asks: Why did he tell them this?
 
Students answer: He told them this because there was very little food.
15.
Teacher asks: Think back to what we read about the maize. Why was there very little food for William and his family?
 
Students answer: There was not enough water for the maize (or food) to grow.
 
Read pages 10-11 out loud, then stop. Page 11 ends with, “...pump water.”
16.
Teacher asks: What was the greatest picture of all that William saw?
 
Students answer:
  • The greatest picture was of a tall machine with blades like a fan.
  • The picture was of a windmill. (make sure this response is given before moving on)
17.
Teacher asks (displaying illustration on page 11): Here is an illustration of the science book William saw with a picture of a windmill in it. What did William learn windmills could do?
 
Students answer: William learned that windmills could produce electricity and pump water.
18.
Teacher says: To pump means to use force on a gas or liquid to get it to move in a certain direction. Here pumping water means getting it up out of the ground with a machine.
19.
Teacher asks: Did William’s village have electricity or lights?
 
Students answer: No, William’s village did not have electricity or lights.
20.
Teacher asks: Did William’s village have enough water?
 
Students answer: No, William’s village did not have enough water.
21.
Teacher says: We have now identified two problems in the story. William’s village did not have enough water, and it did not have electricity or lights.
22.
Teacher asks: What are some ways that windmills could help William’s village solve these problems?
 
Students answer (make sure both responses are given before moving on):
  • Windmills could help William’s village by producing electricity.
  • Windmills could help William’s village by pumping water.
 
Read pages 12-14 out loud, then stop. Page 14 ends with, “...electric wind.”
23.
Teacher asks: What is electric wind?
 
Students answer: Electric wind is wind that comes from a windmill.
24.
Teacher asks: Why does the book call wind from a windmill “electric wind”?
 
Students answer: Wind from a windmill can produce electricity.
 
Read page 16 out loud, then stop. Page 16 ends with, “‘...play with trash!’”
25.
Teacher asks: Where did William get the parts for his windmill?
 
Students answer: He got them from a junk yard.
26.
Teacher asks: What are some of the things that William took from the junk yard to build his windmill?
 
Students answer:
  • He took a tractor fan.
  • He took some pipe.
  • He took bearings and bolts.
 
Read pages 17-18 out loud, then stop. Page 18 ends with, “‘...doing now?’”
27.
Teacher asks: After William gathered his pieces, what did he do with them?
 
Students answer: He arranged them in the dirt.
28.
Teacher asks: Next we read that William “bolted, banged, and tinkered” for three days. What was he doing?
 
Students answer: He was putting the pieces together.
 
If students have trouble answering this question, provide child-friendly definitions of bolt and tinker. To bolt something means to fasten it with a metal bar. To tinker with something means to mess around with it in order to make it better.
 
Read pages 19-20 out loud, then stop. Page 20 ends with, “...for the wind.”
29.
Teacher says: We just read that William’s cousin and best friend want to help him with electric wind. The first thing they did to help was cut down trees.
30.
Teacher asks: What’s the next thing they did?
 
Students answer: They hammered the trees together to make a tower.
 
As you ask the following question, give students a long, close look at the illustration on page 20.
31.
Teacher asks: What did they do after that?
 
Students answer: They raised the fan blades to the top of the tower.
 
Read page 21 out loud, then stop. Page 21 ends with, “...spun round.”
32.
Teacher asks: What happened to the windmill when the wind came?
 
Students answer:
  • The tower swayed.
  • The blades spun around. (make sure this answer is given before moving on)
 
Read page 23 out loud, then stop. Page 23 ends with, “‘...electric wind!’”
33.
Teacher asks: What happened when William connected the wires to a small light bulb?
 
Students answer: The bulb lit up.
34.
Teacher asks: What did William say after the bulb lit up?
 
Students answer: He said, “I have made electric wind!”
35.
Teacher asks: Why did William say he had made electric wind?
 
Students answer: He made a windmill that could light up a bulb.
 
Read the remainder of the book, pages 24-28.
36.
Teacher asks: Did the windmill that William built produce electricity?
 
Students answer: Yes, the windmill produced electricity.
37.
Teacher asks: Did the windmill that William built pump water?
 
Students answer: No, the windmill did not pump water.
38.
Teacher says: Listen carefully as I reread two important sentences from the end of the story: "As the doubters clapped and cheered, William knew he had just begun. Light could not fill empty bellies, but another windmill could soak the dry ground, creating food where once there was none."
39.
Teacher asks: How could another windmill soak the dry ground?
 
Students answer: Another windmill could be used to pump water.
40.
Teacher asks: What does the book say would happen if the dry ground were soaked?
 
Students answer: The book says that food would be created.
41.
Teacher asks: The book says that “William knew he had just begun.” Why has he just begun?
 
Students answer: William built a windmill that produces electricity but not one that pumps water.
42.
Teacher asks: How could electric wind feed William’s country?
 
Students answer: Electric wind could feed William’s country by pumping water needed for food to grow.
 

Part 2: Guided Practice and 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.
 
Teacher says: Now we are going to take another look at the two problems in William’s village and how William tried to solve them.
1.
Teacher asks: What were the two problems in William’s village?
 
Students answer:
  • There was no money for lights.
  • There was not enough water for food to grow.
2.
Teacher asks: What was William’s idea, or plan, for solving these problems?
 
Students answer: His plan was to build a windmill.
3.
Teacher asks: How could a windmill help solve these problems?
 
Students answer: It could produce electricity and pump water.
4.
Teacher asks: After William came up with the plan to build a windmill, what was the first step he took?
 
Students answer: He gathered the parts he needed from a junk yard.
5.
Teacher asks: After William gathered the parts he needed, what did he do?
 
Students answer: He put the parts together.
6.
Teacher asks: Then William’s best friend and cousin volunteered to help. What did the three of them do together?
 
Students answer: They cut down trees.
Read more
7.
Teacher asks: What did they do with the trees after cutting them down?
 
Students answer: They hammered the trees together to make a tower.
8.
Teacher asks: What did they do after that?
 
Students answer: They raised the fan blades to the top of the tower.
9.
Teacher asks: After the wind came and made the windmill spin, what did William do?
 
Students answer: William connected wires from the windmill to a small bulb.
10.
Teacher asks: What happened to the bulb?
 
Students answer: The bulb lit up.
11.
Teacher asks: Now remind me: what were the two problems in William’s village at the beginning of the story?
 
Students answer:
  • There was no money for lights.
  • There was not enough water for food to grow.
12.
Teacher asks: Did William’s windmill help solve both of these problems, one of these problems, or neither of these problems?
 
Students answer: William’s windmill helped solve one of these problems.
13.
Teacher asks: Which problem did William’s windmill help solve?
 
Students answer: William’s windmill helped solve the problem of no lights or electricity.
 
After the answers for the graphic organizer have been completed and discussed with the class, ask the following two discussion questions.
 
Teacher asks: A short-term effect of William’s windmill is that it lit up a bulb. What long-term effects might it have?
 
Students answer: Answers may vary.
  • William’s windmill might make other people in his village build windmills.
  • William’s windmill might make him try harder to build a second windmill that can pump water.
 
Teacher asks: Imagine that William had tried digging a well to help his village instead of building a windmill. A well is a deep hole made in the ground that allows people to withdraw water located under the earth’s surface. Would digging a well have solved the problems of William’s village? Explain why or why not, using evidence from the book.
 
Students answer: Answers may vary, as long as they are supported by the book. For example, students may respond that digging a well might have solved one of the problems of William’s village but not both. The book describes two problems in William’s village—the villagers not having money for lights and not having enough water to grow food. A well might have allowed the villagers to get the water they needed, but it would not have given them lights. Alternatively, students may respond that a well might not have solved any of the problems faced by William’s village. If there was no water located under the ground around the village, digging a well would not have done any good.
 

Part 3: Student Independent Practice

 
Both the student question set and teacher answer sheet are provided in the 'Text & Materials' section.

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

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

User Comments

thank you.

This was most helpful while teaching a STEAM unit in class with my 3rd graders. My children learned about wind energy and also to use available resources to help them.

You have designed a totally amazing site. I LOVE the well-thought out lessons and activities. This is first class all the way. Thank you.

Loved, loved this lesson! I used it to go along with my economics unit on how communities use their natural resources.

That's exactly what I'm going to do! :)

The resources provided here look awesome. I can't wait to try these lessons and many more in my class Thank you

Awesome lesson! My class enjoyed the read aloud and completed some great writing about the two texts! We then did a collage art project- they chose the text they wanted to depict in cut paper.

Wow!!!! This is fabulous, I can't wait to carry out this lesson with my class. Thanks heaps