Infographics and the Explanation Game (Grade 4)

For the next unit the central idea for Grade 4 is Discoveries and explorations continue to impact our world. In German we are going to integrate through the line of inquiry Past and present discoveries and explorations and to inquire into space and space travel. The language focus will be story writing from a certain perspective using digital tools like Storybird or Book Creator on the iPad to present the story.

At the beginning the students will get (unfortunately only short) time to inquire into the planet system because the focus then will be on the astronaut and his motivation as an explorer. At a certain point I’m going to use the following infographic to introduce the infographic itself as well as the suit of an astronaut.

infografik space

I found the infographic on Printerest and unfortunately nowhere else. Therefor I have to admit that the source is not 100% clear for me. Of course I checked and also the creator Karl Tate who seems to be an infographic artist.

Following the criteria of Daniel Zeevis What Makes a Good Infographic? I tried to evalute this above infographic. The content is reliably ( and timely. It describes and explains the way astronauts can work outside of a spacecraft for up to 7 hours. The colors (mainly light blue, white and black font) chosen by the designer fit into the topic, the layout supports the understanding of the complexity of the suit for space travel. The way the information are presented inspires the interest of my students in space travel.

While searching for an infographic for my Grade 4 German class I had to realize that there are not many infographics written in German for Primary School. I decided to take the one in English and integrate the vocabulary work into the lessons. After understanding the vocabulary and the content I want to give the students the chance to ask questions about what they read, to explain and to think further why an astronaut needs such a complex suit or certain parts of it.

Very useful tools to guide and to tease out student’s thinking are visible thinking routines. One in particular is called Explanation Game. It’s very important to model this routine first to make sure that the students know how to ask the questions of explanation and to give clarification to the others. The documentation of each step is important to let the students follow and comprehend the whole process of their thinking. The following are the steps:

  1. Observation -> I noticed that …
  2. Question -> Why is it that way?
  3. Explanation -> It …, because …
  4. Reason -> What makes you think so? What makes you say this?

Let’s see how it will go …

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