Charting The Rainforest and Comparing It To Other Habitats

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SWBAT chart the diversity of the rainforest and compare it to the woodland and salt marsh habitats

Big Idea

Students develop an understanding of diversity by comparing a variety of the earth's habitats.

Filling In The Chart

15 minutes

Students have charted the food, animals and shelters of the woodland forest, and the salt marsh. Today they will add the rainforest to their charts.

I begin by saying to students, "Do you remember when you recorded all the animals, food and shelters that you could think of for the salt marsh and the woodland forest? Today we are going to add to that chart by putting in the rainforest information. I am going to hand back your charts and you will have a chance to put in the things that you know about the rainforest. After we are done we will spend some time comparing the 3 habitats."Thinking about Diversity

I ask for students to clarify the directions by asking one child to repeat the directions. I check for understanding with a thumbs up and then hand back the charts, asking students to partner up as their names are called.

As students fill out the charts, I circulate around the room asking questions to help students recall what we have learned about the rainforest. 

I give students about 15 minutes to complete their charts.

Looking at Diversity

25 minutes

I hang the charts across the front of the room and invite students to look at them museum style. I say, "now you will have a chance to look at the different animals, shelters and food found in the woodland forest, the salt marsh and the rainforest. I want you to take a clipboard and a paper and write down the things you see that are the same or different in the three habitats."

I give each student a piece of paper and ask them to draw a line down the middle of the paper. I say, "at the top of one column will you write SAME, and on the top of the other column will you write, DIFFERENT. As you read the charts at the front of the room, if you find a food, animal, or shelter that is the same from one habitat to the next, you could write it under SAME. If you notice something that is different, you would write it under DIFFERENT. You do not need to write down the name of every animal that is different, but if you see any that are the same, you can record those. Remember to look at the different habitats and compare them as you walk around. You will have about 10 minutes to look at all of the charts that people have made. It may help to look for things that are the SAME or DIFFERENT from things that you know you wrote down.

"Do you think we will find any food, animals or shelter that can survive in more than 1 habitat?" I let children give their answers to the questions. "As you are looking today, see if you can prove that things can or cannot survive in more than 1 habitat."

The reason I ask students to record what they notice is to hold them accountable for really looking at the charts. If they were not required to record their thinking, many of the students would just walk by and casually glance at the posters. By having to record something, they are forced to really look at all the work they, and their classmates have done.


25 minutes

I ring the bell and ask students to take their papers back to their seats. I ask them, "Did anyone find any food, animal or shelter that was in more than 1 habitat?" Students share their findings with the class. Depending on what they found, I may ask how it is possible for ____ to survive in more than 1 habitat. I may ask why things can't survive in more than 1 habitat, etc. I shape the questions based on what the students report on their charts and final comparisons.

I ask students, "Do you remember the word DIVERSITY?""What does the word mean when we think about different habitats?" I let students share their thinking.

"Today we are ending our study of the rainforest. I am going to give you a piece of lined paper. I would like you to tell me what you know about habitats, diversity and about the kinds of things that live in a single, or in several habitats. You can use the information on your clipboard, the information from the charts up front, and the things we have talked about in the last month or so. I would like you to start with, "I want to tell you about diversity and habitats." You will need to write 3 or more good sentences to explain what you know and then make sure you put an ending on your paragraph." I ask for a student to give me an example of an ending ("Now you know about diversity and habitats," "I hope you know more about habitats now.")

I give students about 15 minutes to write down what they know about habitats and diversity. I collect their writing to assess their overall understanding of the Next Generation Life Science standards for second grade.