Hibernation: When do you go to sleep?

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SWBAT explore the different types of hibernation and associate correct animals with their specific type of hibernation.

Big Idea

Hibernation is a misunderstood adaption of animals. Not all hibernation is the same and not all animals hibernate the same way. This lesson allows students to explore the different types of hibernation.

Setting the Stage

5 minutes

This lesson follows immediately after the lesson on Turtles.  The beginning lesson of this unit focuses on the three different types of turtles: sea turtles, freshwater turtles and land turtles. It introduces the concept of brumation (a form of hibernation).  However, it does not go into a great amount of detail or information about it.  This lesson takes the new concept to a much deeper level. 

I want to focus on hibernation as another means for animals to adapt to their environments and surroundings as a means for survival.  I believe it helps students to understand the diversity of animals so much more when they can learn about the different methods animals will use to remain part of a biome.  

I chose to work both of these lesson around turtles as a means to pull the information from the oceans into the freshwater lessons.  It was a nice segue that I felt seamlessly connected the lessons and the units together.  



5 minutes

I ask the children to think about our turtle lesson and what they felt was most interesting about turtles.....I anticipate that I will hear all kinds of answers.  But the one I am looking for is the fact that they brumate.  The word itself, is so interesting and different. I am counting on the fact that there will be one student who brings up this fact.  

If a student doesn't mention the sleep patterns of freshwater turtles, I will lead the conversation with something like this...."Don't you wish you could dig down in to some nice warm squishy mud sometime and sleep all winter long? Wouldn't that just be the best?" 

After a few moments of students sharing their ideas about sleeping in the mud like a freshwater turtle; I ask....."Do all animals sleep like this?" (SP1)

Of course, I know the children will answer..."No!"  Earlier in the year when we explored bears, we learned that part of the life cycle of these species of animals would hibernate. It was a fascinating piece of information that the children discovered when they realized, however, that not all bears hibernate. I left that piece of information back then and did not dig into deeply.  I wanted to introduce the word 'hibernation,' but it was not the point of that lesson.  The information will be helpful now!!

I remind them about that lesson and explain, "You know earlier this year when we learned about bears, we discovered that not all bears hibernate. I wonder if that might be important for us to look at again, now that we know about turtles and their sleep habits?" 

There you go.....hooked!!!


10 minutes

I pass out small bags with pictures and word sorting cards to each time of students.  I use picture sorts often (SP4) and my students know exactly what they need to do with them.  In fact, at this point in the school year, because the children are so familiar with this activity, I have to remind them to wait for the directions before they begin.  

I explain to the children that they will need to sort the pictures and words into categories that makes sense.  I do not offer any support or even suggestions.  I expect this to be difficult. The children are only familiar with two words in the sort; hibernation and brumation.  Their understanding of both of these words, is limited to a surface concepts.  

I allow the children about five minutes to puzzle this out and see where it leads them. While they are working, I am circulating and observing their teamwork and their preconceived ideas of the new concepts.  It is a form of formative assessment for me.  I tuck away and observations that strike me in my mind and ring the bell.

When all the children are quiet and listening, I ask, "What did you discover with this picture sort?" 

I am sure to hear comments like, "This was hard." "We couldn't figure out what the words were or which animals went where." 



15 minutes

I ask the children to look at the screen and begin the power point to explain the different types of hibernation the children have just investigated.  I prefer to use Power Points as a means to share this type of information.  They allow me to include more than just text, but hyperlinks and video clips as well.  This really helps to bring in the technology element, but also to demonstrate to the children that scientists do research as well (SP8).  

My Power Point is ready before I begin.  Slide one is the title slide and shows the children the focus of the rest of the lesson. 

I read the slides to the children one time through. When I use a power point to explain new learning, I read it through completely one time to the students.  Stopping when a video clip is embedded.  (Because I include my video clips in my power points for ease of presentation, I have included it here as well).  

I keep the reading of the information and videos or links down to no more then ten minutes.  This is important to focus on that brain research that says ten minutes is the most a brain can absorb before shutting down.  After I read and share the new information with the students, I ask them to turn and talk to a shoulder buddy and discuss what they thought was most important to them in the new learning.  This step is important to allow the children a chance to discuss and debrief the new information. 

I ring my bell and ask for team leaders to stand and share out what they discussed in their teams. My expectations during this share out session is all over the board. There is so much information packed into this lesson and so much of it is new and different.  I do not anticipate there to be the same answer twice.  


15 minutes

I pass out the foldable to each team leader, who in turn passes out the page to their team mates. This foldable is not a new format, but one the children are very familiar with.  The beauty of this time of the school year is the familiarity of the lessons.  I tend to use similar formats of lessons and it definitely is a time saver.  Because the students are accustomed to this foldable, there is no need to explain what or how to prepare the materials. The children know just what to do and to focus and get to it instantly.  This provided for more time to continue the lesson.

When all the children have cut and prepared their materials, I bring the power point up again and we read together.  I explain to the children that their job this time through is to take any notes they believe are important to their learning from the text they see on the screen.  

I remind them about bullets and not to copy word for word.  In my district, we have a phrase that all students are familiar with; caveman talk.  This means that students focus on the important and essential words of the lesson and document that.  

I begin reading and students begin taking notes.  We continue through until we reach the end.  Along the way, if a question is risen that requires deeper discussion; we stop and focus on that question and add to it.  


10 minutes

When the children have finished taking their notes, I pass out one more element to the lesson. The Evaluation Probe....I want to see if they children are able to take the information they have documented and compare and contrast it (SP8).  

I explain that I want the children to choose two different types of hibernation and write one way those types of similar and one way they are different.  

Second Grade standards are full of compare and contrast from ELA to Math standards.  Science is no different and we have practiced this skill repeatedly many times.  The difference this time was the use of a more written format.  I anticipate this to be difficult, but informative for me.