This lesson comes after two previous lessons that focus on ocean animals: whales and sharks. It brings in the diversity (2LS4-1) of the sea star which is substantially different from the whale and the shark. Both whales and sharks fall into the category of animals and fish. Sea stars are neither of these. They are endocrines. However, the biggest connection I am hoping my students will discover is the concept of migration. During both lessons on whales and sharks, the students discovered the migration connection. I want them to see that sea stars do this as well. The subtle difference, however, is their migration is not the great distance that whales and sharks travel, but short distances.
It is not necessary to have real sea stars, pictures will work. I do believe having the real thing is helpful for the students to see.
I have several that I bring out for this lesson. Gathering live sea stars can be difficult if you do not live close to an ocean environment and bringing live specimens in may not always be the best suggestion either. My sea star collection has been collected from family travels.
As an extension, another purpose for this lesson and the whales and sharks, is the ability to demonstrate that while all living breathing creatures are animals, they can be classified in many different ways.
I want to bring in this vocabulary: vertebrates, invertebrates, omnivores, carnivores, herbivores, oviparous, viviparous, exoskeleton, endoskeleton, animal, fish, amphibian, reptile, mammal, and birds. This vocabulary will not be mastered, nor is it the sole purpose or center piece of the lesson. It is not introduced in an way that involves inquiry, but simply explained and discussed as a whole class. The classifications will be utilized for many lessons to come.
I explain to the children that we have learned recently about two very amazing creatures that live in the oceans, but I want to look at one more very incredible creature....
I hold up a sea star and let the children look at it. I wait for the 'wow' factor to set in. it. The children love anything real that can be brought in to the classroom. When real objects are not available, replica's work well. In this case, I have several sea stars from family trips to the ocean that I use.
I ask the children how many of them have seen a sea star and how many of them have held, or touched a sea star? I want to see who has background experience with sea stars before I begin.
I gather the children with me on the rug and we look at the anchor chart we have completed up to this point with the information about sharks and whales. I ask the children to talk to a buddy for a moment and share anything else they remember from those lessons that may not be up on the chart.
Next, I ask them to think about any similarities they notice between our first two animals. I suggest that there could be some possibilities that Sea Stars may have some connections to our first two animals and ask for any predictions that the children may have. I expect an answer about them all living in the ocean will be a big connection. I hope that someone will notice the migration pattern, however, this is a big leap. At this point, the students are not aware that Sea Stars migrate without further explanation.
We continue to discuss any similarities they may see or even any prior knowledge they have about Sea Stars.
I mentally take note of all the suggestions the children make.
I ask the children to look at the screen and look at the Sea Stars Power Point with me. The first screen shows the title of the lesson, as well as a hyperlink that gives credit back to the link that supplied the information that will be learned. I know the children will ask me what the word "Diva" means...I expect this because it is not a typical Second Grade word. I explain that we will discuss this word after we have talked about the sea stars. I am hoping that the children will see the colorful and dynamic way the sea star stands out in the ocean. After the power point, we will discuss the meaning behind the word and how it applies to the sea star.
I pattern the book after Margaret Wise Brown's children's book, The Important Book. The language is easy to remember. It offers patterning and predictable language that makes it easy to instill and teach information. The repetition makes it fun and easy to commit to memory. I embed as many new vocabulary words as I can within the text. I also include the real world pictures to relate to the text as possible. Even video clips that will show the movement and excitement the sea stars can bring.
I read each slide and we discuss what the children may already know from their own background knowledge.
Below are the three video clips that are embedded into the power point. I find it is much easier and saves valuable teaching time to embed my videos directly into my power points.
The very last slide in the power point discusses the mobility and migration of the sea star. This is the biggest point I want the children to pick up. Instantly, I know I will hear gasps when they see this word. And many comments about sharks and whales migrating will come up. This is the connection I am hoping for.
During our discussion while filling in the last of the anchor chart, I am listening carefully for the language and explanations I hear from the children. I want to know that they have made the connection that many different types of animals migrate and that migration doesn't need to be great distances to survive.
I hear many comments that all three animals do migrate. In fact, I hear the children share that all whales migrate and that not all sharks do. They even discuss the differences in the sea stars....they migrate from ocean bottom to shore.
I take the opportunity after completing the anchor chart and finding the similarities and differences in the three animals, to explain to the children that scientists really have to have some sort of system to classify animals in the world.
I continue to explain that I am going to show them some classifications that will begin to bring the three animals we just looked at a bit more clarity. I use the Animal Classifications power point to explain the concepts (SP 2....comparing and identifying common features and differences).
I have printed the power point in slide format, mounted it on black construction paper and laminated it.
The children are still gathered with me on the rug and I bring out the large cards. I begin by showing the children the invertebrate and vertebrate cards. The children immediately recognize the words from the lessons and explain to me what they know. I begin with these cards because the language is still fresh from the last three lessons. From this point on, I introduce the cards in the following order:
mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians
endoskeleton and exoskeleton
omnivore, herbivore, carnivore
oviporous and viviporous
I do not know if there is a correct way to introduce this language, but in my mind the progression makes sense to break down the categories this way. I put the cards up on a bulletin board for the children to refer back to whenever necessary.