Rocky Shore Animal Research

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SWBAT create a 'All About Book' on a selected rocky shore animal by applying their research and synthesizing their learning from the previous rocky shore lesson.

Big Idea

Student refer to informational text and class notes to write an 'All About Book' on their chosen rocky shore animal.

NGSS Connections and Class Preparation

30 minutes

NGSS Standards

2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

Students make observations of rocky shore animals and compare how animals have adapted to deal with the same conditions.

Cross-cutting Concepts - Appendix G

Form and Function (XC 6)

Students consider how the animal's form helps it function and survive in a rocky shore habitat

Science Practices

SP 1 - Asking and Defining Problems

Students break down a research question into smaller questions to research how animals survive in the rocky shore.

SP 8 - Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information

Students research text and evaluate information obtained from a previous lesson to answer their research questions. Finally students organize their research to publish an 'All About' book.

Students develop research questions to help them learn how rocky shore animals have adapted to their habitat.

Lesson Preparation / Student Material

Text on the selected 12 rocky shore animals to be researched by students.

Here is a wonderful resource from the Monterey Bay Aquarium:

Black line drawings of the 12 rocky shore animals


Report paper horizontal for the 'All About Book'

Teacher materials to model steps - text, black line drawing, highlighter, post-its, flip book (made in the previous lesson: Rocky Shore Habitat and the Animals That Live There)

Question for the Week - How Does Your Animal Deal with the Rocky Shore Conditions?

15 minutes

Question for the Week - How does your animal deal with the rocky shore conditions?

To reinforce the idea that science inquiry starts with a question, I have a question posted on the board each time we have science. Also, the 'question on the board' provides an expected structure for transitioning to science time, directing student's attention back to content while supporting time for focused peer interaction.

Since students are conducting scientific research over a couple of days during their guided reading time, I chose to post their research question for the week to remind them what information they should be looking for.

"Let's take apart this question to identify key words that would help us do our research. Of course you need to know the name of your animal, what else?"

"Right we need to know what are the rocky shore conditions ." I call on volunteers to name the rocky shore conditions and write these on the board.

I am connecting to students' learning in the previous lesson. In that lesson students learned about the rocky shore conditions and looked at some common features which helped animals deal with the rocky shore conditions. They also selected a rocky shore animal to research.

"So we are really asking mini questions to help us answer this larger question. What are the mini questions? I call on volunteers to answer. How do animals deal with waves? tides? find food?

"Do these questions sound familiar? Right these are the same questions we look at last week when you made your flip book and wrote your hypotheses."

"Today you will start your research on your animal to answer these mini-questions which answers our big question: How does your animal deal with the rocky shore conditions?"

"There is one more word that we need to understand: research. How do we do research?" We discuss this concept and I write students' ideas on the board. (image)

I want them to see that research is MORE than just reading text, it can also include interviewing other scientists, watching videos, looking at images and diagrams, making observations.


Day One Research - Learning About Animal Features from Pictures and Text

25 minutes

Lesson Overview

There will not be as much time to work on research today because time was needed to introduce the activity.

Today students look at images, pictures and read text to label a black line picture to learn about the animal features. Each student will have text to look at and highlight. Each team will have black line drawing of their animal and post-its.

I chose to use a black line picture for students to use as a way to organize their information because their research questions focus on the physical attributes of the animal that help it survive in the rocky shore. Students can connect new vocabulary to the parts of the animals.

Teacher Model:

I have an informational text that is similar to what the students will be using today and a black line drawing of my rocky shore animal.

"Scientists, biologists or marine biologists observe their animal to help them learn about it. Scientists also read what others have discovered about the animal. They will collaborate with other scientists. You will be doing the same thing for the next couple of days.

Let's think about what information you have available to help you answer our questions:

1. you have a drawing to help you 'observe' your animal

2. a text to help you learn more about your animal

3. your information on your flip book that we made last week

3. your experiences exploring tide pools, our field trip to SEA lab or another aquarium.

Noting the students' experiences on the field trip, or exploring tide pools, validates my students learning and helps them see these activities as scientific.

"Today I would like you to use the text to help you make close observations about how your animal looks and what special features it has that may help it survive in the rocky shore. You will keep track of your observations by writing key words on post-its and placing them on the diagram."

I want the students to write on post-its so that the information can be moved around when they write their 'all about page'

"I will show you how this looks, then you will turn to your research partner and describe what I did. My partner and I read the text to get a big idea of what the author wants to tell us." I read the text aloud, and share my thinking out loud."

"Hmm the author described how the hermit crab pulls into its shell when there is a hint of danger. What do you think partner, do you think this helps us answer one of our research question? Which one? The one about predators? Yes? Then lets highlight the key words 'pulls into its shell."

I model this discussion and show students how to highlight key words. Then I model writing the key words on the post-it and placing it on the black line drawing. Last I ask students to turn and share what I did. As they share with each other, I write the Research Steps on the board.

1. Read the text together.

2. Reread and find information that describes how the animal looks or its special features that help it survive in the rocky shore.

3. Highlight key words

4. Jot the key words on a post-it

5. Place the post-it on your black line drawing

Student Practice:

I direct students to sit with their research partner.  I pass out the black line drawings, post-its and printed information of the students' animal. As much as possible I supply text that matches the students' reading levels, but I will also pull teams to the back table to read with me. Students use the remaining time to read the text, highlight key words and jot notes on post-its to add to their diagram.

Wrap Up:

Before time is up, I direct research teams to share their diagrams and jot notes with another team.

Day Two - Flip Book Connections and Organizing Our Notes

40 minutes

Students meet me on the rug, to review our theme question and the mini research questions.

Students will be connecting what they learned about their animal yesterday to generalizations they noted in their flip book from last week's lesson.

"Yesterday you read information about your animal, looked closely at the parts of the animal,  and took notes to help you answer our research question. Today we are going to review your notes from your flip book, to see if there is information that will help you answer your research question about your animal."

I direct research teams to take out their diagram with jot notes from yesterday and their flip book they made last week in science.

"Quietly look at your diagram with jot notes and flip book to see which questions on your research page could be answered by the information you have learned over the last couple of days."

Teacher Model

"Let's review our research questions: How does (name of animal) survive the waves? tides? predators? get its food? I read the questions under the document camera.

"I wonder if there is any information in my rocky shore animal flip book that may give me any clues or more details to the questions on my research lab?" Next I place the flip book under the document camera. (show a completed flip book)

I start by reviewing the flip book and sharing my thinking. I read my jot notes out loud and think out loud, "Hmm in my flip book it shows the chiton and conch have a strong foot to help them deal with the waves, so they can hold on tight with their foot. My diagram and jot notes show that the sea anemone has a strong foot too, that must help it deal with waves."

When I 'discover' information that will help me answer one of the questions, I model how I can jot this information on a post-it and add it to my black line diagram.

Organizing the Post-It Notes

After students have reviewed their flip books for any additional information, I call students to the rug. "It is time to organize our information and see if you have enough research to answer all the questions."

Under the document camera, I show students how the post-its can be grouped by the question they answer. I have printed each research question on its own page so that students can attach the post-its to that page. Then research teams organize their notes.

If some teams notice that they do not have information to answer one of the research questions, I may send a finished team to work with them and/or call other teams to work with me. Other books will be available as well as access to on line resources for teams that need more information, or want to include other facts about their animal. 

Some students may want to research other facts about their animals. I conference with those students to scaffold the driving question they want to research or the topic that most of their 'extra' facts fall under. 


Day Three - Draft All About Book

40 minutes

From Jot Notes to Sentences

"Now that our notes are organized, teams, you are ready to write your research report that answers the question: How does your animal survive the rocky shore conditions?"

I model how students will draft under the document camera:

"Hmm, let's see ... we broke our big research question into mini questions and I organized my information under these min questions Hey these mini questions are like the sub titles in our National Geographic Magazines!" I show students one of our National Geographic Magazines, and point out the sub titles. 

"I could use my mini question as the sub title: How does the anemone deal with waves? I will write that here. Now I just need to turn my jot notes into a sentence. Hmm I wonder if my partner could help with this?" I call on a student to help me create a sentence.

"After I finish using all my jot notes that go with that question. I am ready to start my next sub title." I ask the class, "What should be the sub title of this page?" Then what do I do? How many subtitles will you have?"

After checking for understanding. I discuss with the students the tasks that each of the partners could do: write the sentences and, say the sentence while the other person writes, help spell words, look for capitals and periods. Then I ask the teams to discuss how they will share the work. I pass out the paper students will use to write one of their sections.

Before they get another paper for the next section, I will check in with teams and review their work.

Early finishers can illustrate and label a new black line drawing.

Wrap - Up

I do not expect everyone will finish today. As a transition, and to bring closure to the lesson today. I ask students to place their work in their science folder meet me on the rug.

"We have 12 animals for our class book, "All About the Rocky Shore Animals". I think we should have a table of contents, what are your ideas for the order we should organize the chapters? Please turn and share your ideas."

I call on volunteers to share, while I write their ideas, allowing our discussion. Then students vote on the table of contents arrangement. 

Time will be provided later in the week for students to work on their All About ... project.

Recently the students had learned about the elements of a non-fiction, so students chose to include an index and glossary. I asked for volunteers to work on each section. Finally, the students decided to arrange the table of contents  by which tidal zone the animals live in.