Unit Openers:

Grade 4 - Unit 3
Mystery to Medicine

General Unit Opener Information:

Unit Opener General Resources Page

Unit Opener Powerpoints:

Medicine Past and Present (2002) by Jody Greger

Unit Opener Ideas:

Print Version: Mystery to Medicine Unit Openers

Step by Step Directions by Jody Greger

Dress Up!
Submitted by:
Joi Lipton
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Get white doctor coats for students and make doctor name tags for each student- use prescription pad to write the questions and concepts for board.

Home Remedies
Submitted by:
G. Guzman/K.Weber
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Students are asked to think about a time they were ill and their parent or relative made a home medicine that made them feel better. Students then share their remedies with the class. If practical, they also bring the plant or potion to school.

Then the students make wall plaques commemorating their experience. Plaques can be made of aluminum foil covered tagboard (taped down on back) or aluminum oven liner sheet cut into pieces about 5 x 5 inches. Students follow a formula for the dedication: I want to thank (who)on (the current date) for teaching me that (what)is good for (which ailment). Next the student draws a picture that show the remedy, and colors it with permanent markers. We staple the finished artwork to black construction paper and display on a bulletin board.

Time and talent permitting, have students create PowerPoint presentations and/or Voicethreads.

Scavenger Hunt
Submitted by:
Eliza Shartin-Muhammad
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One of the activities I do during our Unit Opener for each unit is a Scavenger Hunt. I give the students a handout with clues about each selection in the unit. The students have to hunt through the unit to find the titles of the selections that match the clues. Clues include things such as author, genre, illustrations, etc. Once the students have completed the hunt, they write a few sentences on which selection they are looking most forward to reading and why. This really gets my students excited and interested in reading the upcoming selections.

Media and Inquiry
Submitted by:
Obi Ikediashi
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  • bottles of juice
  • ginger root
  • Poster or Chart paper
  • markers
  • Media & Technology Options:

Bring in bottles of juice, and some ginger root which can be purchased at the local market in the vegetables & fruits (produce) section. Then bring in empty bottles of aspirin, box of alka seltzer, or any over the counter medicine.

Write on the board:


Direct Instruction:
Have a discussion about why people take medicine, and the purpose and effects.Use a graphic organizer on chart paper to create a list of causes for a cold (which is written under the ailment section), symptoms (please define symptoms first), and remedies for cold. Be sure to (show realia) share remedies that are over the counter, as well as home remedies that students may not have realized having healing effects (ginger root).

Group students, then hand out chart paper and have students think of other ailments that students tend to get. They may post their ailments to the concept question board.

Play one of the video options from the Media Options, then discuss what they saw.

At the end of this Opener, have students add their new learning, or what they know before they begin the unit opener to the concept/question board and their inquiry journal.

Follow-Up Lessons:

Revisit the concept/question board at least weekly to chart the causes, symptoms, and remedies of the ailments listed during the unit opener.

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