Why learn about Ernest Just? New science TEKS are coming to Texas! One change is that students will learn about specific scientists in various fields. Another change is that the STARR tests will pull from science and social studies topics for reading passages. This is a good change because so much of our reading comprehension depends on our background knowledge of a topic. What isn’t great is that some of these topics will be taught starting in kindergarten, and kindergarteners will not be ready to absorb the necessary knowledge. As a result, we will have to continue going back and reteaching what students have already learned.
One of the scientists students will learn about in first grade is Ernest Just. Ernest Just was a biologist that studied animal cells. He was born on August 14, 1883, in Charleston, South Carolina. His father, Charles Frazier Just Sr., worked as a dock builder, and his mother, Mary Matthews Just, was a teacher. Despite facing racial discrimination and limited opportunities due to the segregation of the time, Just’s parents emphasized education and encouraged his pursuit of scientific studies.
Ernest Just went on to become a prominent biologist and a pioneer in the field of cell biology. He made significant contributions to our understanding of cell development and fertilization. His achievements serve as a testament to his talent, determination, and perseverance in the face of challenges during a period of racial inequality and social barriers.
While Ernest Just will be introduced in first grade, he is a scientist students can keep coming back to as their understanding of biology and social structures within the United States expands.
Are you looking for a way to have your students review the life and contributions of Ernest Just?
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN READING AND WRITING IN LEARNING
Reading and writing are two ways we work to understand information. To ensure that your students understand and remember what they learn about Ernest Just, you will have them read and write about him. There are many writing structures you can use in your classroom. I have created an “adding details” system to help students write more interesting sentences.
Here is how it works:
- There are three to four videos on the subject. Students do not need to watch all of the videos. I like to show my favorite video to the entire class and then share the presentation with students so that they can choose which other videos they want to watch. Watching the videos aims to build up the students’ background knowledge on a subject. They get familiar with the relevant vocabulary and start making connections. This helps them understand what they read.
- Students read the paragraph on the subject. They may have to read it a couple of times to understand it.
- Students complete the details chart (who, what, where, when, why, and how) to organize their learning from the reading passage. There will be multiple ways to complete the chart correctly.
- Students use the charts to write three questions about the subject (and the answers) on the back of the reading passage. Later, you can turn one of the questions into a writing prompt for the students.
ERNEST JUST PRESENTATION AND PASSAGE
Click on the picture below to access the Ernest Just presentation.
Want the printable version of the Ernest Just reading passage? Click on the picture below to get it for free!
MORE BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE
Background knowledge is so important for helping our students and children be successful. Reading books is a great way to build background knowledge. Watching videos can build background knowledge too! I have lots of blog posts that build background knowledge! Check out some below!