I used a short YouTube video to continue to get my students excited about this topic. This short video about animal adaptations and defenses is set to music, and get's their full attention! This is a continuation of a lesson started the day before where my students explored animal defenses. This time they will use the internet to add to the information they have, then write an essay about the animal they have chosen. I created a power point to help guide them through the lesson. This time during the carousel activity, groups will only visit two of the animal locations, since they had visited them all of the animals the day before when doing the carousel activity.
For this lesson, I once again used the carousel strategy, which is a cooperative group activity. This strategy continued to provide the scaffolding students needed while reviewing the initial information they will use for their essay. I used the same animal pictures from the PowerPoint ,Pictures for Animal Defenses and adaptations Carousel I created for the previous lesson, and I once again set the pictures far enough apart so that when my students rotated around the classroom, they would not disturb the other groups. However, I did create a new organizer where they could also write the information they will obtain from the internet. This helped them organize their thought for writing. I continue to love the carousel strategy because it allows for small group discussion, and interaction throughout the activity. The Carousel activity only took about 5 minutes to complete since they had visited the animals previously, see lesson one, but the peer-to-peer interaction using academic vocabulary such as habitat, predator, prey was great! The students don't need to look up the words, it's just flowing naturally, thanks to all the scaffolding.
For the internet research, I allotted 10 minutes, and that was more than enough for most of my students.The students all used the same website http://a-z-animals.com/ , this made everyone's life easier, plus I didn't have to worry that some crazy thing would pop up in their Google search if they spelled something wrong! I gave my students two choices , either everyone on the team chooses the same animal or they work in pairs on two different animals. This strategy gave them peer support and they did not have to work alone. The students were able to build on each others ideas risk free and without needing teacher input.
The KWL animal Defenses and Adaptations organizer helped them focus on just 3 things: habitat, predators, defenses.They then used the information to write the essay about the animal. Here is a sample of a completed research organizer. I provided the essay question with specific points for them to answer in a way to help guide the actual essay writing. I also reviewed the points through the powerpoint. I wanted to give them as much scaffolding as possible, especially for those who were not reading and writing at grade level.
The Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards are very tightly connected and this lesson merged them seamlessly. My students were able to write an informative text to explore animal defense as an adaptation.Here is a sample essay. Once everyone was done we shared some essays today and will share the rest during the remainder of the week. This worked almost like a jigsaw strategy, in that each group had "experts" on different animals and were able to "teach" the class what they had learned. It was pretty awesome!