Biomes Experts

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Objective

Students will be able to present information about an assigned biome to their peers.

Big Idea

Often times in science, elementary students need exposure to conceptual topics before they can be asked to experiment. This lesson allows children to explore and research various biomes with the intention of teaching others.

Question

5 minutes

"What do scientists do in order to share their research and information with others in their field?"

This real-life question has been leading our work over the past two days.  Today, I will give the students the opportunity to teach other students about their assigned biome. The purpose of today's session is to make sure that every student will become an "expert" about each environment. 

Mini Lesson

5 minutes

In yesterday's lesson, student groups became experts on one of the six biomes that we have been studying.  Their purpose was to be able to teach the rest of the class, using a jigsaw strategy, about their environment and the animals/plants that survive well in them. 

In a jigsaw, topics are broken down into smaller sections. In this case, I gave each group one biome in which to become an "expert".  Then, each group researches and prepares a presentation for the rest of the class. By the end of the presentations, everyone will be knowledgable about all of the environments and the organisms that survive in them. 

To begin the class today, I hand out a note-taking graphic organizer for the audience to use as each group presents.  

I then modeled how to fill it out while a group was presenting.  We discussed that the presenters should speak about one part of their presentation and then pause so others could take notes.  Then the audience could ask questions to clarify and take more notes. 

Active Engagement

30 minutes

As student groups presented, I worked to restate their information when necessary, to make it easier for the others to take notes.  While the children were presenting, there were several times that someone in the group had a realization.  This is what I love!  Right in the middle of this presentation, one of the members made a new claim and everyone began to work on it. While they were discussing the idea of adapting to different trees, an audience member came up with a different question. 

She wondered if the trees, and the animals that lived in them, were effected by climate change. This is the grappling that we want and it usually only happens when we give the locus of control to the students. 

Closing and Sharing

5 minutes

As a closing today, I simply asked students if they had any questions about any of the biomes. The point of this was to allow students to take more notes, think about their understanding, and ask for more information if they were interested and/or in need of more information. 

Knowing that more information is necessary is a higher level of thinking and this type of closing is an opportunity to explore.