Subject: ESL/ELL (English Language Learning)

Lesson Length: 30 - 45 mins

Topic: Answering “How” Questions

Grade Level: 4, 5, 6

Standards / Framework:

Brief Description: Students will explain a phenomenon by answering “how” or “why" questions.

Know Before You Start: This lesson is intended to help students respond to “how” questions by providing a clear explanation about a familiar topic.


  • Read and discuss the sample comic about the water cycle. How does the water cycle work? 

  • Tell students that when someone begins a question with “how” we need to provide a clear explanation.  We need to explain the steps in order starting from the beginning to end so our listener will understand.

  • Have students turn and talk and practice explaining their ideas. Walk around to support students. 

  • Learn more about the water cycle by watching a video, reading a book, or researching in class.

Activity: Using the sample comic as a guide, have students create a Pixton comic that answers one of the following questions: 

  • How does the water cycle work?
  • How are clouds formed?
  • How does water change state as it travels through the water cycle?
  • Why is the water cycle important to our planet? 
  • How does energy from the sun affect the weather?
  • How does the water cycle impact the environment?

Support student language structure and provide sentence starters as needed.

Closure: Have students share their comics with a partner or present to the whole class. Display student comics around the classroom to reinforce this lesson.

Differentiation: Allow students to use speech-to-text for additional oral language practice.


  • Comic to print or display: Comic.

  • Adapt this lesson for your class by using a recent unit of study.

Suggested Content Packs:

Suggested Story Starters: