Analyze Penguin Behavior with their Offspring

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SWBAT conclude how penguins use their external features to promote the survival of their offspring.

Big Idea

Use videos to help students get a conceptual understanding of how parents interact with their offspring.

Setting the Stage

Next Generation Science Standard

This lesson connects to NGSS 1-LS1-2, because the students are making observations and collecting data on how penguins use their external features to help their offspring survive.  Prior to this lesson the students have studied how animals use their external features to survive. I showed videos and read the class text, so they would have some prior knowledge before we began analyzing the parent and the offspring. I find that breaking the standard down really helps my students develop a conceptual understanding.  

Lesson Overview

The students listen to me read a excerpt from Penguin Behavior and Penguins in the explore section, and explain what they learned in the explain section. Next, we watch some videos in the elaborate section of the lesson. Last, we work on speaking, listening, and evaluate their ideas.  I think it is nice to use text and media to allow students to gather information, because they are two different types of ways of learning. We can learn from listening or watching the videos, but we also can learn from reading. But, its also a nice way to expose students to the idea of learning from text, instead of learning to read text.  

I like to transition frequently so we begin in the lounge for the engage section. For the explore we move to the center of the room where the students are seated in groups of four. During the explain and elaborate section the class is at the center tables. Last, I close the lesson in the lounge, and the students evaluate their peers work.



10 minutes

During this section I want to excite my class and assess their knowledge before I begin teaching. If I know what they already know I can adjust my instruction to provide more or less support.  Another thing I like to do if somebody knows a lot about penguins is to get them to share and add their knowledge to the lesson. Students are very motivated when they can learn from each other. 

So, to excite the class I project the breathtaking image of the parent penguins and the offspring, which is the lesson image. Then I ask the students to talk to their partner. I say, "Tell your partner how penguins use their external features to help their offspring survive." Now I listen to assess their knowledge, and I hope to hear somebody make a connection between the penguin and the previous animals we have studied. I try to get the students to reflect upon their prior knowledge and build upon that as we approach new material. After the finish talking, I ask, "Will a volunteer please share their conversation?" Then I share what I heard.

Last, I share the plan for the lesson, because I find it helps the students know what is expected or what is coming. Then we chant the lesson goal: I can determine a conclusion about how penguins use their external features to promote the survival of their offspring. This helps my students remember what we are focusing on in the lesson.


15 minutes

The students listen to me read a excerpt from Penguin Behavior and Penguins, and then I ask the class to consider some questions.

First, I read the third paragraph from Penguin Behavior, and I ask, "How would living in a colony help penguins survive?" 

Then I read the second paragraph under Penguin Reproduction and ask, "Who cares for the egg while the mother finds food?" 

Next, I read the third paragraph under penguin reproduction and ask, "So, how to males avoid freezing to death?

Then I read paragraph ten from the Penguin website, and I ask, "How does the mother feed her offspring?" 


15 minutes

Now, I want my students to take their notes and share them with their partner. So, I say, "Turn and tell your partner what you have learned." Then I listen and look at their notes to assess their understanding. Next, I ask, "Will a volunteer please share what you learned?"  Then I try to promote discourse and ask, "Will somebody add to that?" If the students do not volunteer to add to the comment, I model add to whatever the student said.

I hope to hear things like, "Penguing stay in groups, because they are less likely to be attacked when in a large group." Then I ask, "How do they communicate?" After listening I allow a volunteer to share, "They use vocal calls, or they huddle together." Then I let somebody share and hope to engage the class in some discourse. I try to get them to add to their peers comments. Hopefully they say, "The mother regurgitates to feed the babies.


20 minutes


Now we watch these videos and I ask the class to record their observation in their science journal on the t-chart: student work. We have been adding to this chart with each lesson. 



15 minutes

Now I am moving into my students favorite section of the lesson and I try to allow the students to practice speaking, listening, and evaluating each others work. This can be quite challenging in the first grade, and I try to be proactive when I prepare the students. To make sure the students sit still I say, "Criss cross apple sauce pockets on the floor, hands in our laps, talking no more." Sometimes they chant this with me, but it is optional. But, I always add, "Our eyes are on the speaker, we are thinking about what they are saying, and we are preparing to give academic feedback."

Now, I am fully prepared to model evaluation: presentation and evaluation, because this concept can be a little confusing. After I have modeled it once today, I expect somebody to try to evaluate their peer. But, if they are still shy or insecure I begin begging. I say, "We are all friends and whatever you say will be fine. Just be respectful, and give it a try."

I am evaluating the students t- charts to see if they wrote that the male sits on the egg, they huddle together, the baby walks on the parent legs, and the mother puts the food in the babies mouth. In addition I want to see the students speaking in complete sentences, enunciating their words, and speaking loud. For the assessment of evaluation I expect the students to add to what the students say, or give them correct feedback. For example, " I agree that the father sits on the egg, and I want to add that the mother feeds the baby by putting food in its mouth."  I use a spreadsheet with the class roster on the left and the top three column lables are: speaking, evaluating, and t-chart data.