This lesson will take place over several days. There will be several days of research that can be done during a reading/language arts block, there is a day of building a habitat, and there is a sharing of the final projects. This lesson is a culmination of the learning about several different habitats and the diversity of life found there.
I want students to have a clear understanding of the term diversity at the end of this lesson. The Next Generation Science Standards want students to understand the diversity of life in a habitat. Students have explored the idea of diversity in 3 different habitats, the forest, the salt marsh and the rainforest. They have looked at diversity of wildlife and plants. In this lesson they will research a single animal and where it lives. They will use that information to create a detailed habitat, and 2 questions that can be answered by looking at their habitat. The questions will be used to create several slides for a class slide show/quiz show game. The game will help to clarify their understanding of diversity, as they choose to write questions that help to explain diversity of life within a single and multiple habitats.
I begin the lesson by asking students to read the I Can Statement. It says, "I can research to figure out where in the world an animal lives and use that information to create questions for an animal find game."
"Can you think of an animal that might be found in more than 1 place in the world? Does it survive in more than 1 habitat?" I let students suggest animals that might live in different habitats and different places around the world. "How might we find out where an animal really lives and if it can survive in more than 1 habitat?" (We could read about it, look it up on the IPAD, etc.)
"Yes, we would need to research an animal and where it lives. Today you will pick one animal and then using books and IPAD resources, you will identify its habitat and places in the world where your animal lives. You will need to write down the things that you find out about your animal's habitat and we will use that later to design an animal habitat game."
The research can be done in a single day, or over a period of several days. Students will need to pick one animal (it is better if everyone in the class picks a different animal and you might want to limit it to all land animals for later comparison).
I begin the day before I am ready to have students conduct the research. I ask them to write down the names of 3 land animals that they would like to research. I collect their lists and tell them that tomorrow they will find out which animal they will be researching. I assign animals so that each student has a different animal. Next I make sure that I have resources and/or websites available for each student.
On the first day of research I give each student a research page. It has their name and the name of their animal on it. I say, "today you are looking for facts about where your animal lives. You want to know about its habitat, places where it is found, things it eats, its predators and the type of shelter it has. Remember that we are looking to see if animals can survive in more than 1 habitat, what those habitats might be like and the other animals that live in those habitats."
Students work for a total of about 60 minutes on research over the period of 3 20 minute research blocks. This allows me to check in with students, assess their ongoing progress at the end of each session, and find additional resources (especially safe websites) on each animal. I usually google the animal name followed by for kids to find resources. This may not produce perfect websites, but it usually produces sites that are more kid friendly and appropriate for second graders. I still check out each site before I give it to the students.
A major purpose of this lesson is to ensure that students have a clear understanding of the term diversity. The Next Generation Science Standards want students to understand the diversity of life in a habitat. In this unit students have explored the idea of diversity in 3 different habitats, the forest, the salt marsh and the rainforest. They have looked at diversity of wildlife and plants. Now they have researched a single animal and where it lives. Now they will use that information to create a detailed habitat, and 4 questions that can be answered by looking at their habitat. The questions will be used in a class game at the end of the lesson.
I say to students, "today you will be working on creating a detailed habitat for your animal. You will take all of the information you have gathered and use paper, clay, and other materials to create that habitat. You will need to make labels to explain your habitat. A label might say the name of the animal, or point to something your animal eats or drinks. It might label the kind of tree or bush or it might have the name of a predator or prey. What do we find in a habitat?" (food, water, shelter, predators, prey, air, space). "Yes, so should all of those things be present in your habitat?" (Yes)
"Can someone repeat to me what you will be making today?" (I let one or two students repeat the directions so I know that everyone is clear on what he/she will be doing.)
I ask some additional questions to clarify for students what they are going to be doing "Do you know where to find the materials you need?" "What do you do if you can't find a material that you are looking for?" "In addition to making the habitat, what do you need to remember to add?" (the labels)
"Now, there is one more part to this. As you are working today, I am going to bring 3 students to the table. You will use the IPADS to create 2 slides about your animal's habitat and the diversity there. I want you to work independently at your tables while I am working up here. I will put up the whisper sign so you can ask each other for help. Do you remember what the word diversity means?" (I let students talk about the term). "OK, so we are going to make a question and answer game on the IPAD. First you will need to think of a question and an answer. question page.pdf You will type a question about your animal that has to do with the diversity in its habitat, or the many places it can live, and then on the next slide you will put the answer. You can import pictures to help us figure out the answer to the question. You will have a chance tomorrow to add a second question, after everyone has made their first set of slides. I will help you through this process while you are working on your habitats. Are their any questions about either one?"
I have students get to work on their habitats. Once they are all working, I bring 3 students to the table and give each one an IPAD. I remind them to bring their fact sheets. I help them get to google docs where they will make their slides. I show them how to type, draw and import pictures. I ask them to think of one question that shows how there is diversity in where their animal lives, or in what it eats, or in the types of plants that are in its habitat. I ask each student to tell me the question they are thinking of. I want to make sure they have a question that will help us to understand diversity. If the question is "What does the giraffe eat?" I ask, "what will you put in the slide that will help us discover the answer?" "Will you also show us that in your habitat so we can look at that to help us as well?" "How does that help me to understand diversity?" Once students have answered these questions, I let them get to work. While they are working, I circulate between the students building habitats, and those creating slides.
As one student finishes with the IPAD, I bring up another student. My goal is to have each student create their 2 slides and then we will share the slideshow as a final way to sum up our understandings of diversity.
The next day I say to students. "Today I am going to invite you to view each other's habitats. I want you to walk around the room, look at each habitat and read the labels your classmates wrote. When you have seen them all, we will share our slideshow and see how many of the questions we can answer.
I say to students, "I want you to set your habitat on your desk and when they are all set up, you will have 10 minutes to view the habitats. Really take a few minutes to see each one so you are ready for our slideshow quiz."
I give students time to circulate around the room and view each other's creations.
After about 10 minutes, I ask students to return to their seats. I say, "Now I want you to turn your seats to the Smart Board. I will show each slide, did you know about animals.pptx and if you know the answer to the question, you can raise your hand and the owner of the slide will call on someone to answer the question."
I show each slide and students try to answer the question on the slide. If no one can answer the question, I ask 1 person to go to the habitat of the creator of the slide and see if they can find the answer.
During this unit I have assessed student understanding through projects and discussions. In this lesson I have assessed their understanding through the construction of the habitat, the formation and answering of questions and discussions. As this is the final lesson in this unit, I want to do one final written assessment of their understanding of the diversity of life within a habitat.
I hand out an assessment page and say to students, "I want you now to take a few minutes to answer the questions on this page as best you can. I want each of you to do your own work and think about all that we have learned about diversity of life within a habitat. Take your time and when you are done you may read silently while others finish up their pages. I remind students that the charts we have created during this unit are at the front of the room, if they need help remembering the names of the things that they have studied. diversity assessment
I hand out the pages and circulate around the room, making sure that students are getting to work and are able to answer the questions.