History of Earth Project Workshop (Day 3)

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Students will be able to use research to find and draw organisms that lived in their ancient time period.

Big Idea

What organisms would I see if I went back in time to an ancient time period?

Ready. Set. Engage

5 minutes

Learning Goal: Use research skills to find organisms that lived during your time period and draw them.

Opening Question:  What do you already know about life during your time period?

Students record their opening question on their learning goal sheet and are ready to start class 3 min after the bell has rung.  I reward students who get started early with ROCK STAR SCIENTIST tickets.  

Today I wanted to find out what the students already knew about life in their time period so I asked them to share out their opening question.  I discovered that students will need to do more research today to get the information they need. 

Follow the links to learn more about the beginning of class strategies and ROCK STAR scientist tickets.   


5 minutes

Today, I want to get the kids excited to learn more about life in their time period. (For more on how students chose their time period read my reflection) I start by showing Evolution On Earth In 60 Seconds.  

I really like this video because it is entirely non-verbal, has a very dynamic soundtrack, and makes an important point about humans on the geological time scale. I explain to the students that we are going to continue our research today, but focus on living organisms. I ask them to simply enjoy the video.

Focus- Mini Lesson- Pictures and Facts

10 minutes

The purpose of this section is to help students locate their final facts and make their animal drawings.  Because the pictures and facts are a part of the final HUGE timeline we will make in the hallway, I want to the students to do their work on specific paper.  For the facts, I ask them to use regular paper cut in half length wise.  For the pictures I ask them to use regular paper and then cut around the pictures.  I show the students the supplies and put them in the back of the room where they are easily reachable. 

Next I talk to the students about what facts they will want to choose for the fact wall.  I explain that they are going to want facts that will jump out and surprise people.  Together we look at several facts about the Carboniferous time period and discuss which ones we would put on the wall.

 1) The Carboniferous Period lasted from about 359.2 to 299 million years ago

2) The term "Carboniferous" comes from England, in reference to the rich deposits of coal that occur there.

3) Deadly poisonous centipedes six ft in length crawled around with cockroaches and scorpions as much as three feet long. 

4) The Carboniferous period the highest atmospheric oxygen levels the Earth has ever experienced and had the evolution of the first reptiles

I don't think there is a correct answer to which kind of facts the students should post, my goal is simply for the students to think about their purpose and audience while choosing their facts.

Then I show the students how to use a google image search to find more specific pictures of plants and animals from their time period.  A screencast of that lesson is below. 

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Work Time

25 minutes

The purpose of this section is to set up a system of check-ins with the students that is effective and efficient.  Teachers do not have the time to check in with each child independently every day.  Instead, the I call up a group of students to talk to all at once.  I ask all the students to bring the assignment paper and their work so far.

Today my purpose for calling students back is to check on their overall research and talk specifically about the facts they are going to choose for the fact wall.  Students bring their chromebooks, assignment, and work back to the group table with them.  I start by asking the students to look at the checklist and determine exactly what it is that they need to accomplish.  We talk about museum exhibits we've seen and what types of facts and pictures are going to be engaging to our visitors.  Once I think the students are ready to continue their research independently, I send them back to their seats to work and call the next group. 





3 minutes

Closing Statement: Today we continued our research by finding the facts and pictures for our museum exhibit. 

Closing Question: How did you decide which facts and pictures to use?

Closure depends greatly on timing and is not as easy to plan in advance as opening.  You can find more information about how I manage closure here.