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Instructional Focus Document
Grade 3 Science
TITLE : Unit 05: Investigating the Solar System SUGGESTED DURATION : 20 days

Unit Overview

During this Unit

This unit bundles student expectations that address the relationship of objects in the solar system and the representation of these phenomena through models. Students demonstrate safe and healthy practices as outlined in Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards while engaging in descriptive investigations. They describe and illustrate the Sun as a star composed of gases that provides light and thermal energy. Students identify planets in Earth’s solar system and their position in relation to the Sun. Also, they construct models that demonstrate the relationship of the Sun, Earth, and Moon, including orbits and positions. Moreover, students connect grade-level appropriate science concepts with the history of space science, space science careers, and contributions of scientists in the field of space science. Additionally, students communicate and discuss their observations and record data in their notebooks. Furthermore, students consider environmentally appropriate and responsible practices with resources during investigations.

 

Streamlining Note

TEKS 3.8B was revised to remove the water cycle due to repetition in Grade 4. See the Science TEKS Streamlining Side by Side Grade 3 (link in System Resources below).

 

Prior Content Connections

  • Kindergarten
    • K.8C – Observe, describe, and illustrate objects in the sky such as the clouds, Moon, and stars, including the Sun.
  • Grade 1
    • 1.8B – Observe and record changes in the appearance of objects in the sky such as the Moon and stars, including the Sun.
  • Grade 2
    • 2.8C – Observe, describe, and record patterns of objects in the sky, including the appearance of the Moon.

 

After this Unit

In Grade 4, students will collect and analyze data to identify sequences and predict patterns of change in shadows, seasons, and the observable appearance of the Moon over time.

 

STAAR Note

The Grade 5 Science STAAR will directly assess student expectations in the following reporting categories:

  • Reporting Category 3: Earth and Space
    • 3.8D – Supporting Standard
    • 4.8C – Supporting Standard
    • 5.8D – Supporting Standard

 

According to Research

Once students have looked directly at the stars, moon, and planets, use can be made of photographs of planets and their moons and of various collections of stars to point out their variety of size, appearance, and motion… Films, computer simulations, a planetarium, and telescopic observations will help, but it is essential that all students, sometimes working together in small groups, make physical models and explain what the models show. At the same time, students can begin learning about scale (counting, comparative distances, volumes, times, etc.).”

 

“By the end of the 5th grade students should know that:

  • Stars are like the sun, some being smaller and some larger, but so far away that they look like points of light. 4A/E5
  • A large light source at a great distance looks like a small light source that is much closer. 4A/E6**”

American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2009). Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy. Project 2061. Retrieved from http://www.project2061.org/publications/bsl/online/index.php?chapter=4#C2.


Scientists investigate the natural world in order to understand and explain its systems.

  • Why is it important to know and understand how the natural world works?
  • How are the properties of systems and their components (parts) organized?
  • How are the components (parts), processes, and patterns of systems connected?

 

Scientific investigation is an orderly process to ensure that scientific claims are trustworthy.

  • How do scientists make and support their claims?
  • What processes help scientists investigate their claim?

 

Data is collected and organized in an orderly manner, and analyzed by observing patterns and relationships in order to develop reasonable explanations and make predictions.

  • How can data be used to make reasonable explanations?
  • How do patterns help us understand the natural world?

 

Scientists analyze, assess, and review each other’s work using processes of scientific investigations, and build on one another’s ideas through new investigations.

  • How can we know what to believe about a scientific claim?
  • In what ways have scientific explanations affected scientific thinking and people over time?
  • Why is it important to know and understand how things work and why things happen?
Unit Understandings
and Questions
Overarching Concepts
and Unit Concepts
Performance Assessment(s)

The positions and orbits of the Earth, Moon, and Sun work together as a system.

  • In what ways do the Sun, Moon, and Earth work together as a system?
  • How do the Sun, Earth, and Moon move in relation to one other?

 

The planets in our solar system are organized by their position relative to the Sun.

  • What is the organization of planets in our solar system?

 

The Sun is a star composed of gases that provides light and thermal energy.

  • In what ways can the Sun be described?

Systems

  • Solar

 

Classifications

  • Planets
  • Sun
  • Moon

 

Properties

  • Orbits
  • Positions
  • Relationship

 

Patterns

  • Positions
  • Orbits
  • Sun, Earth, Moon relationship

 

Models

  • Solar system

 

Constancy

  • Orbits
  • Positions
Assessment information provided within the TEKS Resource System are examples that may, or may not, be used by your child’s teacher. In accordance with section 26.006 (2) of the Texas Education Code, "A parent is entitled to review each test administered to the parent’s child after the test is administered." For more information regarding assessments administered to your child, please visit with your child’s teacher.

MISCONCEPTIONS / UNDERDEVELOPED CONCEPTS

Misconceptions:

  • Students may think the Earth is flat and motionless, rather than the Earth is a sphere, rotating on its axis, and revolving around the Sun.
  • Students may think the Earth is the center of the solar system and the largest object in the solar system, rather than the Sun is the center of our solar system. 
  • Students may think the Sun and Moon are about the same size and the stars are much smaller than both the Sun and Moon, rather than understanding the role distance plays in the appearance of objects in the sky.
  • Students may think that the Sun revolves around the Earth, rather than planets revolving around the Sun.

Unit Vocabulary

Key Content Vocabulary:

  • Limitations – a restriction or weakness
  • Model – a picture, idea, or object that represents an object, a system, or process that is used to help with understanding; models have advantages and limitations
  • Moon – a natural object that orbits a planet; Earth’s Moon is the only natural satellite and Earth’s nearest neighbor in space
  • Orbit – the path that one object in space takes around another object in space
  • Planet – a large object that orbits a star; the Earth (a planet) orbits the Sun (star)
  • Revolution (revolve) – one complete circle made by a planet or satellite around another object
  • Solar system – the Sun and all of the objects that move around it
  • Sun – a star composed of gases; provides Earth with most of its light and heat energy

 

Related Vocabulary:

  • Characteristics
  • Composed
  • Earth
  • Gases
  • Heat energy
  • Jupiter
  • Light energy
  • Mars
  • Mercury
  • Neptune
  • Saturn
  • Star
  • Uranus
  • Venus
Unit Assessment Items System Resources Other Resources

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Unit Assessment Items that have been published by your district may be accessed through Search All Components in the District Resources tab. Assessment items may also be found using the Assessment Center if your district has granted access to that tool.

System Resources may be accessed through Search All Components in the District Resources Tab.

State:

Texas Education Agency – Texas Safety Standards

http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=5483 (look under Documents)

 

Texas Gateway for Online Resources by TEA – Interactive Science Glossary

https://www.texasgateway.org/resource/interactive-science-glossary


TAUGHT DIRECTLY TEKS

TEKS intended to be explicitly taught in this unit.

TEKS/SE Legend:

  • Knowledge and Skills Statements (TEKS) identified by TEA are in italicized, bolded, black text.
  • Student Expectations (TEKS) identified by TEA are in bolded, black text.
  • Student Expectations (TEKS) are labeled Supporting as identified by TEA of the assessed curriculum.
  • Student Expectations (TEKS) are labeled Process standards as identified by TEA of the assessed curriculum.
  • Portions of the Student Expectations (TEKS) that are not included in this unit but are taught in previous or future units are indicated by a strike-through.

Specificity Legend:

  • Supporting information / clarifications (specificity) written by TEKS Resource System are in blue text.
  • Unit-specific clarifications are in italicized, blue text.
  • Information from Texas Education Agency (TEA), Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (TxCCRS), and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Project 2061 is labeled.
  • A Partial Specificity label indicates that a portion of the specificity not aligned to this unit has been removed.
TEKS# SE# TEKS SPECIFICITY
3.1 Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student conducts classroom and outdoor investigations following home and school safety procedures and environmentally appropriate practices. The student is expected to:
3.1A Demonstrate safe practices as described in Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards during classroom and outdoor investigations using safety equipment as appropriate, including safety goggles or chemical splash goggles, as appropriate, and gloves.
Process Standard

Demonstrate

SAFE PRACTICES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Wearing safety goggles or chemical splash goggles, as appropriate
  • Wearing gloves
  • Washing hands
  • Using materials appropriately
  • Follow classroom and outdoor safety guidelines, as outlined in Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards
  • Use safety equipment appropriately

Note(s):

3.2 Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student uses scientific practices during laboratory and outdoor investigations. The student is expected to:
3.2A Plan and implement descriptive investigations, including asking and answering questions, making inferences, and selecting and using equipment or technology needed, to solve a specific problem in the natural world.
Process Standard

Plan, Implement

INVESTIGATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Descriptive investigations
  • Asking and answering questions
    • Focus for the investigation
  • Making inferences
    • Possible proficiencies may include:
      • Making claims
      • Providing evidence to support the claim
      • Using reasoning to explain the evidence
  • Selecting and using equipment / technology 

Note(s):

  • TEA:
    • Descriptive investigations involve collecting qualitative and/or quantitative data to draw conclusions about a natural or man-made system (e.g., rock formation, animal behavior, cloud, bicycle, electrical circuit). A descriptive investigation includes a question, but no hypothesis. Observations are recorded, but no comparisons are made and no variables are manipulated. Descriptive investigations (Texas Education Agency. (2007-2011). Laboratory and Field Investigations –FAQ, August 2010. Retrieved from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=5483)
3.2B Collect and record data by observing and measuring using the metric system and recognize differences between observed and measured data.
Process Standard

Collect, Record

DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Observing
  • Measuring (using the metric system)
  • Recognizing differences between observed and measured data
3.2D Analyze and interpret patterns in data to construct reasonable explanations based on evidence from investigations.
Process Standard

Analyze, Interpret

PATTERNS IN DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Student investigations
  • Teacher demonstrations
  • Visuals such as graphs, charts, tables, illustrations, etc.
    • Possible types of graphs for analysis include:
      • Bar graphs
      • Dot plots
      • Pictographs

Construct

REASONABLE EXPLANATIONS BASED ON EVIDENCE

Including, but not limited to:

  • Information from investigations
    • Making claims
    • Providing evidence to support the claim
    • Using reasoning to explain the evidence
  • Data from investigations
    • Numerical
    • Visual
    • Written

Note(s):

  • STAAR:
    • Grade 5 students may be asked to make predictions based on evidence of Grade 3 concepts, such as making predictions of the effect of pushing and pulling on objects from a visual such as an illustration (3.6B / 5.2D).
3.2F Communicate valid conclusions supported by data in writing, by drawing pictures, and through verbal discussion.
Process Standard

Communicate

VALID CONCLUSIONS SUPPORTED BY DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Methods of communication
    • In writing
      • Possible examples may include:
        • Written narratives
        • Observational notebook entries
        • Reflective notebook entries
        • Creating charts, graphs, and tables
    • By drawing pictures
    • Through verbal discussions
3.3 Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student knows that information, critical thinking, scientific problem solving, and the contributions of scientists are used in making decisions. The student is expected to:
3.3A Analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing.
Process Standard

Analyze, Evaluate, Critique

SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Evidence
  • Logical reasoning
  • Experimental and observational testing
3.3B

Represent the natural world using models such as volcanoes or the Sun, Earth, and Moon system and identify their limitations, including size, properties, and materials.


Process Standard

Represent

THE NATURAL WORLD

Including, but not limited to:

  • Model – a picture, idea, or object that represents an object, a system, or process and is used to help with understanding; models have advantages and limitations
  • Using models
    • Sun / Earth / Moon system
  • Models representing
    • Solar system
  • Identifying limitations
    • Size
    • Properties
    • Materials
    • Relative distance
3.3C Connect grade-level appropriate science concepts with the history of science, science careers, and contributions of scientists.
Process Standard

Connect

GRADE-LEVEL APPROPRIATE SCIENCE CONCEPTS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Connection with
    • History of science
    • Science careers
    • Contributions of scientists
3.4 Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student knows how to use a variety of tools and methods to conduct science inquiry. The student is expected to:
3.4A

Collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including cameras, computers,hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, wind vanes, rain gauges, pan balances, graduated cylinders, beakers, spring scales, hot plates, meter sticks, magnets, collecting nets, notebooks, and Sun, Earth, and Moon system models; timing devices; and materials to support observation of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.


Process Standard

Collect, Record, Analyze

INFORMATION USING TOOLS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Use lab equipment appropriately
    • Cameras
    • Notebooks
    • Sun / Earth / Moon models
3.8 Earth and space. The student knows there are recognizable patterns in the natural world and among objects in the sky. The student is expected to:
3.8B Describe and illustrate the Sun as a star composed of gases that provides light and thermal energy.

Describe, Illustrate

THE SUN

Including, but not limited to:

  • A star
  • Composed of gases
  • Provides light
  • Provides thermal energy 

Note(s):

  • STAAR:
    • Although not identified as a Supporting Standard, this student expectation builds the foundation for the content of Supporting Standards 4.8B and 5.8B.
  • Project 2061: By the end of 5th grade, students should know that:
    • Stars are like the sun, some being smaller and some larger, but so far away that they look like points of light. 4A/E5 
3.8C Construct models that demonstrate the relationship of the Sun, Earth, and Moon, including orbits and positions.

Construct

MODELS

Including, but not limited to:

  • To demonstrate the relationship of the Sun, Earth, and Moon system
    • Orbits
    • Positions
    • Relative size

Note(s):

  • STAAR:
    • Although not identified as a Supporting Standard, this student expectation builds the foundation for the content of Supporting Standard 5.8D.
  • Project 2061: By the end of 5th grade, students should know that:
    • Stars are like the sun, some being smaller and some larger, but so far away that they look like points of light. 4A/E5
    • A large light source at a great distance looks like a small light source that is much closer. 4A/E6** (BSL)
3.8D Identify the planets in Earth's solar system and their position in relation to the Sun.
Supporting Standard

Identify

THE PLANETS AND THEIR POSITION IN RELATION TO THE SUN

Including:

  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune
  • Other components within our solar system that could be used to recognize the orientation of the planets
    • Asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter

Note(s):

  • STAAR:
    • This student expectation is explicitly taught only in Grade 3 and tested in Grade 5.
    • In Grade 5, students may be assessed in multiple formats using models to represent the solar system, such as models that identify relative size, relative position, and relative distance from the Sun.
    • Students need experiences with drawing and interpreting 2D models to represent 3D concepts. 
The English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS), as required by 19 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 74, Subchapter A, §74.4, outline English language proficiency level descriptors and student expectations for English language learners (ELLs). School districts are required to implement ELPS as an integral part of each subject in the required curriculum.

School districts shall provide instruction in the knowledge and skills of the foundation and enrichment curriculum in a manner that is linguistically accommodated commensurate with the student’s levels of English language proficiency to ensure that the student learns the knowledge and skills in the required curriculum.


School districts shall provide content-based instruction including the cross-curricular second language acquisition essential knowledge and skills in subsection (c) of the ELPS in a manner that is linguistically accommodated to help the student acquire English language proficiency.

http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter074/ch074a.html#74.4 


Choose appropriate ELPS to support instruction.

ELPS# Subsection C: Cross-curricular second language acquisition essential knowledge and skills.
Click here to collapse or expand this section.
ELPS.c.1 The ELL uses language learning strategies to develop an awareness of his or her own learning processes in all content areas. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.1A use prior knowledge and experiences to understand meanings in English
ELPS.c.1B monitor oral and written language production and employ self-corrective techniques or other resources
ELPS.c.1C use strategic learning techniques such as concept mapping, drawing, memorizing, comparing, contrasting, and reviewing to acquire basic and grade-level vocabulary
ELPS.c.1D speak using learning strategies such as requesting assistance, employing non-verbal cues, and using synonyms and circumlocution (conveying ideas by defining or describing when exact English words are not known)
ELPS.c.1E internalize new basic and academic language by using and reusing it in meaningful ways in speaking and writing activities that build concept and language attainment
ELPS.c.1F use accessible language and learn new and essential language in the process
ELPS.c.1G demonstrate an increasing ability to distinguish between formal and informal English and an increasing knowledge of when to use each one commensurate with grade-level learning expectations
ELPS.c.1H develop and expand repertoire of learning strategies such as reasoning inductively or deductively, looking for patterns in language, and analyzing sayings and expressions commensurate with grade-level learning expectations.
ELPS.c.2 The ELL listens to a variety of speakers including teachers, peers, and electronic media to gain an increasing level of comprehension of newly acquired language in all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in listening. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.2A distinguish sounds and intonation patterns of English with increasing ease
ELPS.c.2B recognize elements of the English sound system in newly acquired vocabulary such as long and short vowels, silent letters, and consonant clusters
ELPS.c.2C learn new language structures, expressions, and basic and academic vocabulary heard during classroom instruction and interactions
ELPS.c.2D monitor understanding of spoken language during classroom instruction and interactions and seek clarification as needed
ELPS.c.2E use visual, contextual, and linguistic support to enhance and confirm understanding of increasingly complex and elaborated spoken language
ELPS.c.2F listen to and derive meaning from a variety of media such as audio tape, video, DVD, and CD ROM to build and reinforce concept and language attainment
ELPS.c.2G understand the general meaning, main points, and important details of spoken language ranging from situations in which topics, language, and contexts are familiar to unfamiliar
ELPS.c.2H understand implicit ideas and information in increasingly complex spoken language commensurate with grade-level learning expectations
ELPS.c.2I demonstrate listening comprehension of increasingly complex spoken English by following directions, retelling or summarizing spoken messages, responding to questions and requests, collaborating with peers, and taking notes commensurate with content and grade-level needs.
ELPS.c.3 The ELL speaks in a variety of modes for a variety of purposes with an awareness of different language registers (formal/informal) using vocabulary with increasing fluency and accuracy in language arts and all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in speaking. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.3A practice producing sounds of newly acquired vocabulary such as long and short vowels, silent letters, and consonant clusters to pronounce English words in a manner that is increasingly comprehensible
ELPS.c.3B expand and internalize initial English vocabulary by learning and using high-frequency English words necessary for identifying and describing people, places, and objects, by retelling simple stories and basic information represented or supported by pictures, and by learning and using routine language needed for classroom communication
ELPS.c.3C speak using a variety of grammatical structures, sentence lengths, sentence types, and connecting words with increasing accuracy and ease as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.3D speak using grade-level content area vocabulary in context to internalize new English words and build academic language proficiency
ELPS.c.3E share information in cooperative learning interactions
ELPS.c.3F ask and give information ranging from using a very limited bank of high-frequency, high-need, concrete vocabulary, including key words and expressions needed for basic communication in academic and social contexts, to using abstract and content-based vocabulary during extended speaking assignments
ELPS.c.3G express opinions, ideas, and feelings ranging from communicating single words and short phrases to participating in extended discussions on a variety of social and grade-appropriate academic topics
ELPS.c.3H narrate, describe, and explain with increasing specificity and detail as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.3I adapt spoken language appropriately for formal and informal purposes
ELPS.c.3J respond orally to information presented in a wide variety of print, electronic, audio, and visual media to build and reinforce concept and language attainment.
ELPS.c.4 The ELL reads a variety of texts for a variety of purposes with an increasing level of comprehension in all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in reading. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. For Kindergarten and Grade 1, certain of these student expectations apply to text read aloud for students not yet at the stage of decoding written text. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.4A learn relationships between sounds and letters of the English language and decode (sound out) words using a combination of skills such as recognizing sound-letter relationships and identifying cognates, affixes, roots, and base words
ELPS.c.4B recognize directionality of English reading such as left to right and top to bottom
ELPS.c.4C develop basic sight vocabulary, derive meaning of environmental print, and comprehend English vocabulary and language structures used routinely in written classroom materials
ELPS.c.4D use prereading supports such as graphic organizers, illustrations, and pretaught topic-related vocabulary and other prereading activities to enhance comprehension of written text
ELPS.c.4E read linguistically accommodated content area material with a decreasing need for linguistic accommodations as more English is learned
ELPS.c.4F use visual and contextual support and support from peers and teachers to read grade-appropriate content area text, enhance and confirm understanding, and develop vocabulary, grasp of language structures, and background knowledge needed to comprehend increasingly challenging language
ELPS.c.4G demonstrate comprehension of increasingly complex English by participating in shared reading, retelling or summarizing material, responding to questions, and taking notes commensurate with content area and grade level needs
ELPS.c.4H read silently with increasing ease and comprehension for longer periods
ELPS.c.4I demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by employing basic reading skills such as demonstrating understanding of supporting ideas and details in text and graphic sources, summarizing text, and distinguishing main ideas from details commensurate with content area needs
ELPS.c.4J demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by employing inferential skills such as predicting, making connections between ideas, drawing inferences and conclusions from text and graphic sources, and finding supporting text evidence commensurate with content area needs
ELPS.c.4K demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by employing analytical skills such as evaluating written information and performing critical analyses commensurate with content area and grade-level needs.
ELPS.c.5 The ELL writes in a variety of forms with increasing accuracy to effectively address a specific purpose and audience in all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in writing. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. For Kindergarten and Grade 1, certain of these student expectations do not apply until the student has reached the stage of generating original written text using a standard writing system. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.5A learn relationships between sounds and letters of the English language to represent sounds when writing in English
ELPS.c.5B write using newly acquired basic vocabulary and content-based grade-level vocabulary
ELPS.c.5C spell familiar English words with increasing accuracy, and employ English spelling patterns and rules with increasing accuracy as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.5D edit writing for standard grammar and usage, including subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, and appropriate verb tenses commensurate with grade-level expectations as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.5E employ increasingly complex grammatical structures in content area writing commensurate with grade-level expectations, such as:
ELPS.c.5F write using a variety of grade-appropriate sentence lengths, patterns, and connecting words to combine phrases, clauses, and sentences in increasingly accurate ways as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.5G narrate, describe, and explain with increasing specificity and detail to fulfill content area writing needs as more English is acquired.
Last Updated 04/22/2019
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