What’s the Main Idea?


ELAR-Grade-5 Non-fiction Texts What’s the Main Idea?
Students explore what main ideas and supporting details are and how to find them. They read several passages and identify and evaluate details to identify key ideas. Finally, they research an additional fact to add to one of the supporting details for the article read in the experience.

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?:

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Overview

In this experience, students explore what main ideas and supporting details are and how to find them. They read several passages and identify and evaluate details to identify key ideas. Finally, they research an additional fact to add to one of the supporting details for the article read in the experience.

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

  • variety: different kinds
  • parchment: animal skin flattened and stiffened for use as a writing surface
  • papyrus: a material made from the stem of a water plant and used in ancient Egypt for writing or painting
  • reed: a thin, tall plant that grows in marshes and water
  • hieroglyphics: a form of writing consisting of symbols and pictures, used by ancient Egyptians
  • fiber: thread
  • pulp: a mass of soft, wet fibers from cloth or plant material, used to make paper
  • virtual: existing by means of a computer and network


The Library of Congress under construction

Construction of the Library of Congress, 1893


Sometimes you might find yourself in a conversation with someone who just keeps talking. On and on they go with lots of various details and ideas. You may have even gotten a little grumpy and said, “Okay, but what’s your point?!”

Getting to the point—the main idea—of what is being said or read is an important skill. You’ll learn more about how to do that 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.


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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