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. How does the water cycle work? 

  • Help students understand that when someone begins a question with “how” they need to be able to provide a clear explanation. This might include explaining the steps in order from the beginning to end so their listener will understand.

  • Have students turn to a classmate and practice explaining their ideas. 


  • Using the sample comic as a guide, have students create a 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?


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


  • Allow students to use the speech-to-text feature.
  • Allow students to use the voiceover feature to read their comics aloud.
  • Learn more about the water cycle by watching a video, reading a book, or researching in class.
  • Support student language structure and provide sentence starters as needed.


  • Comic to print or display: Comic.

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

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