Finding the Main Idea


ELAR-Grade-6 Non-fiction Texts Finding 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. Then, they distinguish between explicit and implicit meaning and make inferences about implicit meanings of text. 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 Finding the Main Idea:

Preview - Scene 1
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Engage


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. Then, they distinguish between explicit and implicit meaning and make inferences about implicit meanings of text. 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.
  • Identify and analyze explicit and implicit meanings of text.

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

  • discrimination: treating people differently based on race
  • desertion: leaving one’s post


Target with dart hitting the bulls eye

What’s the point?

When you’re presented with lots of information, sometimes it can be hard to find the main point. You can get sidetracked by irrelevant details, or lose interest if you get bored.

So how can you get to the point? In this experience, you’ll find out how to read in a way that directs you to the main idea of a text.

Objectives

  • Identify the main idea of a text.
  • Identify the supporting details that contribute to the main idea.
  • Identify and analyze explicit and implicit meanings of text.
Read the following short passage.


A loud alarm resonated throughout the work area. Outside, what sounded like dozens of sirens seemed to fill the city.

The office workers were terrified. They had felt their building shake for several minutes, then rock back and forth for another ten. The shaking had stopped, but the floor still felt unsteady beneath their feet. The power had gone out, and from the 17th floor, that meant a long walk down the stairs.

As they came out from under their desks and started to run for the exits, their boss stopped them.

“Just a minute!” he yelled. “We have an emergency plan in place. Stay calm and follow me. The generator will keep the lights on in the stairway. We’ll be outside in safety in just a few minutes. We made it through the worst of it.”


Write a phrase or sentence describing the main thing that was happening in the passage.



Review student responses. Sample answers include earthquake, survival, all are safe.

Discuss that the central idea is that office workers survived an earthquake. Details about sirens, the length of the shaking, the role of the boss, hiding under their desks, and the generator on the stairs all develop that central idea. 


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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