Big Book- How to Write one!

Unit Planning can seem overwhelming, however; writing a Big Book doesn’t have to be! The Big Book identifies the Enduring Understanding for your unit. For this, all we need to get started is your standards. Here is a step-by-step process of how to write your own Big Book, using your standards:

1. What's my topic target?

Content Standards: Identify the content standards you are teaching (could be your NGSS, HSS, Math, CCSS, TEKS, etc.). If you've got no standards, then use your district requirements or frameworks for your grade level.


NGSS- 3rd Grade

3-LS3 Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits

3-LS3-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms. [Clarification Statement: Patterns are the similarities and differences in traits shared between offspring and their parents, or among siblings. Emphasis is on organisms other than humans.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include genetic mechanisms of inheritance and prediction of traits. Assessment is limited to non-human examples.]

3-LS3-2. Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment. [Clarification Statement: Examples of the environment affecting a trait could include normally tall plants grown with insufficient water are stunted; and, a pet dog that is given too much food and little exercise may become overweight.]

Disciplinary Core Ideas

LS3.A: Inheritance of Traits Many characteristics of organisms are inherited from their parents. (3-LS3-1) Other characteristics result from individuals’ interactions with the environment, which can range from diet to learning. Many characteristics involve both inheritance and environment. (3-LS3-2)

LS3.B: Variation of Traits Different organisms vary in how they look and function because they have different inherited information. (3-LS3-1) The environment also affects the traits that an organism develops. (3-LS3-2)

2. Which style is best to write it?

ELA Standards: Identify your ELA Standards (Specifically identify which writing genre you are going to use the Big Book to model)


Common Core State Standards- 3rd Grade


Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

3. Memory and Patterning

Writing your “Big Idea” repeated frame: Summarize the content standard into one sentence. Think of your Big Book as your “Textual Syllabus” overview of your unit. Remember, when you are writing your Frame, it should reflect the writing genre you identified from step 2.


I am an organism that inherited most traits from my parents but I do have some variations from environmental factors.

4. Now for Details

Crafting your supporting sentences: Find facts to populate each page of your Big Book. These facts will go in between the repeated phrase on each page.

I am an organism that inherited most traits from my parents but I do have some variation from environmental factors.

-Organisms have unique and diverse life cycles.

-All organisms have common births, growth, reproduction, and death.

-Organisms go through changes during their life to form a pattern.

I am an organism that inherited most traits from my parents but I do have some variation from environmental factors.

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5. Make it look good

Add Visuals for Comprehension : You can find pictures from magazines, online, old textbooks, etc. OR you can sketch some visuals yourself. Get creative and have fun with the process!

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