My students always think they know everything there is to know about reptiles. That is why I usually start this lesson by asking what they know about reptiles. We compose a list, share it, and then after our discussion, we revise the list if need be. Even if there are some or many misconceptions at the beginning, I do not correct their claims. They need to reach their conclusions on their own. In our journey through vertebrate classifications we discover new things about the world of reptiles, and in this case, we focus on snakes. I like to use a PowerPoint, Reptiles_Snakes, to help keep my lesson on track as well as allowing me to address different learning styles.
The PowerPoint used throughout the lesson helped lay the foundation for the content. It helps my students learn academic vocabulary. In order to help my students really understand this new vocabulary, I use a modified version of the Frayer Vocabulary Model, where they write the word, definition, a synonym and a picture to clarify. They then glue it in their notebooks for reference. To assist in taking a closer look at the reptile classification, I also incorporated a short video in the powerpoint. The video from Bill Nye The Science Guy allows the students to see different types of reptiles and adds another dimension to the instruction.
I am lucky enough to have snakeskin in my classroom for the students to examine. I used a Snake_Focus_Page I've created to help guide my students through the investigation. The students will model the "shedding" of the snakeskin by modeling the process. They tried to take off one sock without using their hands. The best bet is to rub the sock against the carpet, but they need to discover that for themselves. This trial and error helped my students understand the process the snake goes through. They also peeled the Elmer's glue from their hand and examined it compared to the snakeskin, this observation brings them to a better understanding of the fragility of the skin.
I feel that it is really important to review what we have learned, however I do not do the review, the students do. They explain/ discuss what surprised them, what was new, and what misconceptions were cleared up by completing the investigation. I am simply the facilitator during this time.