Protect Yourself

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SWBAT design a defense mechanism for an animal of the their choice.

Big Idea

Engage students in an opportunity to apply their knowledge and create a real defense for an animal of their choice.

Setting the Stage

Next Generation Science Standards Connection

This lesson relates to 1-LS1-1, SP1, and SP3, because the students are reading and focusing on animals external body features that help them survive. To deepen the complexity and develop a greater understanding among students they create a defense mechanism for an animal of their choice.

I find that by breaking the standards down into pieces my students are more successful in understanding the skill or in this case the content.  So, I in previous lessons we have read about animal defense mechanisms, written sentences, compared the animals, made observations from live video, and now we are creating a design.

As far as SL1.1 goes they are basically working with their partner, presenting, and evaluation their peers' work. The evaluation component is very complex and challenging, because I find that you can really never tell what first graders are going to say. Now, I am really concentrating, so I can comment in a constructive manor. I do want to the class on the defense mechanisms that animals use to protect themselves.

Lesson Overview

This lesson helps the students make a relevant connection between humans and animals in this lesson. Once again we watch a video and make observations about protective things humans use to avoid being hurt. They record the mechanisms in their science journal, and the data is used to help them create their own man made defense. I am really trying to provide my students with a learning experience where they take their past observation, add new observations, and apply their knowledge to a real world situation. It seems when students experience this they develop a lasting memory and really understand the content.

The most helpful strategies that I find in making the lesson run smoothly are heterogeneous ability groups: peanut butter jelly partner and transitioning: transitions frequently. So, I made an interesting video on each.

I also ask the students to talk to their partner: talk to partner strategy frequently to get everyone engaged in the lesson discussion.  This allows me to assess their understanding as we go throughout the lesson.  But, I discovered once the class started talking I needed to stop them after about a minute so I use these fun chants: fun ways to stop discussion.



10 minutes

Introductory Activity

I want to engage and excite the class. So, I play one minute of this video, because it is interesting. But, it also makes students draw a connection between some man made defense mechanisms. 

After watching the video I ask the class to discuss the defense mechanisms they see on the humans. I say, "Turn and tell your partner the devices that the humans using to protect themselves?" I listen and hopefully hear, "They are using a helmet and gloves." Now, I know my boys are going to love this video, and I am prepared to embrace their enthusiasm which might involve loud or silly behavior. The big strategy here is to engage them and make the learning relevant and fun.

After the discussion, I share some of their conversations and ask a volunteer to share what they think. I point out gloves and the helmet are protective. Then we create a word wall of possible man made protective gear: seat belt, car seat, helmets, mouth guards, wet suits, catchers outfit, shin guards, knee pads, or elbow guards.

Next, I share the plan for the lesson, because it makes my students feel more comfortable with the lesson. Then, we chant the lesson goal: I can use my observations and data to create a defense feature for an animals of my choice.

Then I try to explain that we are recording all of our notes about the defense mechanisms that we know of in our science journal. Then we have a discussion about what animal they would like to make a protective gear. I ask the groups to discuss the possibilities or animals before the lesson, so I can have some information available about that animal. 

So, they selected the shark, and they want to make a protective device to keep sharks from hurting humans. 


15 minutes

Then I say, "Your activity is for you to work with your partner to create a protective device for humans from sharks." 

Students work in pairs to create their own design to help humans stay safe in shark infested waters. I allow the students to work in small groups and plan. I walk around and provide some help to get them started. The design can be notes, sentences, or an illustration. It is their choice as long as they create a way to protect humans from sharks.

As the students are using the internet and books to research shark protection, I remind them some of the things to consider such as, "Where are you going to use this device? The main thing to focus on is why the sharks attack humans. Well, they think they are food or seals. So, should device be a different type of surf board? Should it be for wearing, using as a weapon, a shield, or is it a trap?  What about creating a spray that might deter sharks? Is there a smell they choose to avoid?" (I will need to look into that, but we have google in our classroom. So, this is when I do a search.) He is an example of proficient level work.



15 minutes

Then I say, "Please tell the class what you have learned in your research?" Then, "I ask the students to volunteer and share their design and how it will protect humans from sharks." We engage in a class discussion to share knowledge and for the students to learn from each other.

Last week was shark week on the television. Now, I have to explain a great deal of information about sharks. I ask, "Does anyone know how they open their mouth so wide?" I try to offer students a chance to share their knowledge, but I am going to tell them that their jaw can separate if nobody knows. Then I ask, "Does anyone know about how their skin can hurt you?" I say, "Can anyone tell me how a shark uses their skin to cut their prey?" If no students volunteer I share that the skin is smooth when touched in one direction, and sharp on the other direction.  I ask, "Does anyone knows where most humans are attacked by sharks?" It is often in areas where the shark mistakes a human for a seal, which is one of the animals they like to eat. 

Then I show the class the shark protection PowerPoint which includes pictures of possible things to protect humans from sharks.  This just gives the students some ideas.  

Finally, I ask the class to adjust their model after exploring the PowerPoint and learning more background knowledge about sharks.



10 minutes

Now is the time when I like to work on speaking, listening, and peer evaluation. So, two or three groups read their work. They choose who reads, and we all listen. Since listening and speaking are kind of hard for primary students I have a chant that helps them remember what to do. I day, "Criss cross apple sauce pockets on the floor hands in your laps talking no more. Your eyes are on the speaker, speakers talk loud, and everyone think about what is being said."

The next thing is that many first graders struggle evaluating their peers in the first part of the year. So, I just model this and they catch on very quickly. It is important to focus on the big skill for evaluation and assessment. Here is an example of a presentation.

This is the time when I want to assess every child's knowledge, but I do know not everyone can write their response. So, I ask the class to write one way humans can protect themselves from sharks on a sticky note. Then they need to place it on our Tweet Board.  If you have no idea all they have to do is write a smiley face, and when they put their note up I whisper the answer to them. Actually, as each child puts their note up I comment by agreeing, disagreeing, and redirecting. Then I use a spreadsheet that has everyones name on it to check if they got it right or wrong. I also observe their journal, illustrations, or notes to determine their content knowledge.

Last, we chant the lesson goal: I can use my observations and data to create a defense feature for an animals of my choice.