Charting the Woodland Habitat

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SWBAT explain what they know about the woodland habitat using a chart format

Big Idea

The chart will allow students to compare habitats and the diversity of life in each as they continue on to explore other habitats

I Can Statement and Introduction

10 minutes

Students have looked at their own backyards in a previous lesson. They have made a class chart of the many plants and animals that they know of in their local woodland habitat. I use the word forest with students because it is more familiar, but I also refer to it as a woodland habitat. I want students to take what we have have learned in previous lessons and summarize it in this lesson.

I begin this lesson by asking students to read the I Can Statement to themselves. It reads, "I Can create a chart of what I know about a forest habitat."

After students read the statement I ask, "Who knows what a chart is?" I give students a chance to explain what they think a chart is. I correct any misconceptions about what a chart is (such as a chart is just numbers, or a chart is a graph). 

I say to students,"today we will create a chart of the forest habitat. We will use this chart later when we look at other habitats. We will be able to compare the forest with other types of habitats once we create our chart today. 

I will be asking you to put several categories. Do you know what that means?" (I stop to make sure students know the word categories before continuing. "You will follow directions to put several categories on your chart and then you will work to fill in the chart with a Buddy Wheel partner."

"You will be able to talk to your partner about the things we have looked at in the forest habitat and decide how you might put these things on your chart. You may decide to use small pictures. or to use words or numbers, or a mix of pictures, words and numbers. The forest books are on the shelf if you need to refer to them to help you fill in one of the categories. (I have put forest/woodland fiction and nonfiction on the class bookshelf during the past few lessons so students have been reading the books during read to self times.)

"We will start by moving to sit with our Buddies." I draw a number and students quickly sit down next to their work partner.

Creating The Chart

15 minutes

I give each group a large piece of paper(poster size and stiff paper if possible). I ask them to measure in 4 inches from the left side of the paper and draw a line down the paper 4 inches from the edge. (Be sure to demonstrate this and walk students through the process of measuring in 4 inches and then making a mark, moving the ruler down the page and making another mark, and several more and then connecting the marks to make 1 line.)

When all the groups have drawn the line I tell them, "you will be putting labels on your chart and then you will fill in the information on the other side of the line after we have all the labels. Before you begin, we need to put a title on our paper so at the very top, and near the center would you write HABITATS." (I demonstrate each of these steps so students have a visual representation of my directions.) 

"Now in that 4 inch space you measured, and near the top would you write ANIMALS." Once everyone has that I ask them to leave a big space and then write the word FOOD." I continue with the words WATER, SHELTER, PLANTS and TREES.

"Now you have the labels for each section of your chart. I want you to write which animals you know live in the woods. You can write up to 10 animals. Then write different types of food that are found in the forest. Write the places in the forest that animals might get water. What kinds of shelters are there in the forest and then finish with any plants or trees that you know grow in the forest.  Try only to write to the middle of space going across and then write underneath what you have just written. When you finish one area, such as animals, draw a line across the paper before starting on food." (I make sure to demonstrate what I am asking students to do here. You could even project the student work presented here to help students have a visual representation of what their chart will look like when it is done. Remember that a visual representation can help to clarify your expectations for students.)

Individual Charts - Filling them in

25 minutes

I give students about 25 minutes to work on their charts. I circulate around to ask questions of the partners, to help them recall previous learning, and to hear their reasoning for why they have included things in their charts.

At the end of 25 minutes (or when the groups are mostly done), I ring the bell and say, "each group has done their chart slightly differently. Some have used pictures, some used words or numbers and some used a combination. I want you to take a few minutes to walk around the room and look at what others thought of. If you see something that you wish you had included, you may add it to your chart when you return to your seat. (This will encourage students to stop and look at the charts of others and not just walk by without really looking at them.)

I give students a few minutes to add to their charts before collecting them. I will keep the charts for us to add to after later lessons on other habitats. I also will use the charts to assess student understanding of the diversity of the woodland habitat. The Student Charts