What’s the Main Idea?


ELAR-Grade-4 Non-fiction Texts What’s the Main Idea?
Students look at the features of an article to predict what it will be about. Then they read the article and identify the main idea and supporting details. Next, they differentiate between key and ancillary details. Finally, they restate the main idea and supporting details of the article in their own words.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

1:1 Devices
Teacher Pack

The Pack contains associated resources for the learning experience, typically in the form of articles and videos. There is a teacher Pack (with only teacher information) and a student Pack (which contains only student information). As a teacher, you can toggle between both to see everything.

Here are the teacher pack items for What’s the Main Idea?:

Preview - Scene 1
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Engage


Overview

In this experience, students look at the features of an article to predict what it will be about. Then they read the article and identify the main idea and supporting details. Next, they differentiate between key and ancillary details. Finally, they restate the main idea and supporting details of the article in their own words.

Objectives

  • Identify the main idea of a text.
  • Identify the supporting details that contribute to the main idea.

Duration

One class period. You may choose to have the students read the article at home before beginning the experience.

Vocabulary Words in the Article

  • ancestor: a family member that lived long before you
  • tradition: customs that have been practiced for a long time
  • society (pl. societies): a group of people living in a community
  • hunter-gatherers: humans who get all or most of their food from wild plants and wild animals
  • Middle Ages: the period of European history from about 1100 to 1453 A.D.
  • gadget: small electronic device


Girl reading in bed

You probably read and hear thousands of words a day. You get advice, instructions, and warnings. You hear jokes, stories, and gossip. Sometimes you need one specific piece of information, but it’s buried in all those extra words!

How can you get to the point? You’ll find out in this experience.

Objectives

  • Identify the main idea of a text.
  • Identify the supporting details that contribute to the main idea.

Read the following short passage.


The mother spoke firmly to her child. She said, “I don’t want to hear any complaining! When I was your age, we had to be in bed by 7:30 every night. Our days started at 5:00 a.m. with chores. We milked the cows and gathered the eggs from the chicken coop. We came back to the house and took our baths. Then we ate a large breakfast together before the long walk to school. So I don’t want to hear any complaints about your bedtime. You need to be in bed by 8:00 o’clock, and then you can read for 30 minutes before lights out. And that’s the end of that!”


When have you heard something similar to what the mother tells her child in the passage? Describe it.

Post your answer

Discuss student responses to be sure that they understand the content and compare the incident to one in their own life.


As a young person, you probably know a little bit about how adults work. Based on what you know and what you read in the passage, answer the following question.


What is the main point the mother is making?

A) The child has reading time every night.
B) The child has an easier life than the mother did as a child.
C) The mother went to bed at 7:30 when she was young.  
D) The child needs to be in bed by 8:00 and to turn off the lights by 8:30.

If you chose “The child needs to be in bed by 8:00 and to turn off the lights by 8:30,” then you are already finding the main idea of a passage. That’s what this experience is all about.

And if you didn’t choose the correct answer—you’ll be able to by the end of this experience.


When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in Non-fiction Texts Unit.
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