UBD Project 2

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Desert Animal Unit
Seminar and Curriculum

York College of Pennsylvania
Catie Hare
                                       Page |2

                   Table of Contents
UBD Template                            3

Lesson Plan                             4

Pre-Assessment                          7

Rubric                                  8

Post-Assessment                         9

G.R.A.S.P.S. # 1                       10

G.R.A.S.P.S. # 2                       12

G.R.A.S.P.S. # 3                       13
                                                                             Page |3

             Understanding By Design – Backwards Design Process
                (Developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, 2002)

                             Stage 1 – Desired Results
Content Standard(s):
     Understand that the elements of natural systems are interdependent. (4.3.C)
     Identify some organisms that live together in an ecosystem. (Benchmark)
     Create and exhibit visual art. (9.1.M)
     Write narrative pieces. (1.4)

Understanding (s)/goals                      Essential Question(s):
Students will understand:                         How do living things survive?
    (PT-1) Differences between desert            Why is my personal uniqueness
       animals and animals that could not          important?
       survive in a desert.
    (PT2-PT3) The characteristics of        Unit Questions:
       animals that live within a desert           What do animals need to survive?
       ecosystem.                                  Why are living things different from
                                                    each other?

Student objectives (outcomes):
Students will be able to:
      (PT1-G1) Distinguish between forest animals and desert animals, and their
       specific habitats.
      (PT1-G1) Name specific animals that are native to desert habitats.
      (PT2-G2) Illustrate and create an imaginary desert animal.
      (PT & G3-OE2) Compose a creative writing piece about the student’s desert
                           Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence
Performance Task(s):                         Other Evidence:
      (PT1-G1) Student will match desert    1.     Formal assessment on desert
       and forest animals using a picture           animals.
       sort.                                 2.     Using a rubric, assess the writing
      (PT2-G2) Student will create an              piece.
       imaginary desert animal.
      (PT & G3) Student will write a “Be
       the Creature” creative writing
                               Stage 3 – Learning Plan
Learning Activities:
    See lesson plan.
                                                                          Page |4

Desert Animals

     Understand that the elements of natural systems are interdependent. (4.3.C)
     Identify some organisms that live together in an ecosystem. (Benchmark)
     Create and exhibit visual art. (9.1.M)
     Write narrative pieces. (1.4)

The student will be able to:
       Distinguish between rainforest animals and desert animals, and their specific
       Name specific animals that are native to desert habitats.
       Illustrate and create an imaginary desert animal.
       Compose a creative writing piece about the student’s desert animal.

      Around One Cactus by Anthony D. Fredericks
      Picture sort of desert animals and rainforest animals
      Construction paper
      Crayons, Markers, etc.


       Administer pre-assessment test to students to determine background
       knowledge about deserts. (see attached).

 Anticipatory Set:

       Ask students; create discussion, “could you survive without water?” “Can
       animals survive without water?” “How do desert animals survive with little
                                                                         Page |5

Lesson Development:

Day One/Lesson One:

      Ask students to generate questions about desert animals.
      Have students come together in circle time.
      Read the book Around One Cactus by Anthony Fredericks.
      Question students while reading the book. “What do you see in this picture?”
      “What things don’t you see?” “Why are the animals coming out during the
      Ask students to complete a desert animal and rainforest animal picture sort.
      Promote discussion of desert animals (traits, environment, and survival
      techniques) “Could I place the flamingo from our jungle habitat in our desert
      habitat? Why or why not?” “When do desert animals become active?”
      Ask students to complete G.R.A.S.P.S. # 1 activity.

Day Two/Lesson Two:

      Review types of animals found in a desert. (Refer to picture sort).
      Promote discussion of desert animals (traits, environment, and survival
      techniques) “Why couldn’t your pet live in the desert?” “If an animal lived in
      the desert, what would it look like?” “How would it behave?”
      Prompt students to create their own imaginary desert animals based on class
      discussion using art supplies.
      Ask for volunteers to present their imaginary desert animal.
      Have students complete G.R.A.S.P.S. # 2 activity

Day Three/Lesson Three:

      Have a few volunteers (2-3) to display their imaginary animal.
      Discuss reasons each imaginary animal has desert animal characteristics.
      Have students write a narrative “Be the Creature” writing piece about their
                                                                        Page |6


     Complete Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the student’s imaginary
     desert animal with a rainforest animal. (This is to reinforce the idea that
     desert animals are unique. They can go longer periods without water than
     most species.)


      Use rubric to assess the writing piece. (see attached).
      Administer formal assessment on desert animals.
      Were the students successful?
      Did the students feel comfortable to actively participate?
      Were the activities hands-on, minds-on?
                                                Page |7

Name _______________

Circle the correct answer.

  1. A desert has a lot of

       a. Dirt

       b. Sand

       c. Water

  2. A desert is _________ in the daytime.

       a. Cold

       b. Hot

       c. Rainy

  3. In a desert I would find

       a. A cactus

       b. A river

       c. Some trees

  4. Which animal would I find in a desert?

       a. Bear

       b. Monkey

       c. Rattle Snake

  5. Draw a desert on the back of this paper.
                                                                                    Page |8

                     6+1 Trait Writing Model : Imaginary Desert Animal

       Teacher Name: Miss Hare

      Student Name:       ________________________________________
   CATEGORY     4                  3              2              1
Focus on Topic    There is one         Main idea is clear   Main idea is         The main idea is
(Content)         clear, well-         but the              somewhat clear       not clear. There
                  focused topic.       supporting           but there is a       is a seemingly
                  Main idea stands     information is       need for more        random
                  out and is           general.             supporting           collection of
                  supported by                              information.         information.
Support for       Relevant, telling,   Supporting           Supporting           Supporting
Topic (Content)   quality details      details and          details and          details and
                  give the reader      information are      information are      information are
                  important            relevant, but one    relevant, but        typically unclear
                  information that     key issue or         several key issues   or not related to
                  goes beyond the      portion of the       or portions of the   the topic.
                  obvious or           storyline is         storyline are
                  predictable.         unsupported.         unsupported.
Adding            The writer seems     The writer seems     The writer relates   The writer has
Personality       to be writing        to be drawing on     some of his own      not tried to
(Voice)           from knowledge       knowledge or         knowledge or         transform the
                  or experience.       experience, but      experience, but it   information in a
                  The author has       there is some        adds nothing to      personal way.
                  taken the ideas      lack of ownership    the discussion of    The ideas and
                  and made them        of the topic.        the topic.           the way they are
                  "his own."                                                     expressed seem
                                                                                 to belong to
                                                                                 someone else.
Creativity        Writer's idea is     Writer's idea is     The writer's idea The animal is not
                  original. He/she     original. The        is borrowed. The imaginary.
                  gives creative       student uses         student did not
                  descriptive          some describing      make their animal
                  words, and           words, but does      individualized.
                  reasoning for        not give a reason
                  why the animal       for the animal's
                  would survive in     survival in a
                  a desert.            desert.
                                                                             Page |9

Name ________________________________

   1.   A desert is very _________.
             a. dry
             b. hot
             c. sunny
             d. all of the above

   2. A cactus can survive in the desert because it does not need a lot of
             a. air
             b. love
             c. water
             d. sun
   3. Circle and name the animal you would find in a desert
             a.                                          b.

        c.                                              d.

   4. When do animals come out to eat?
             a. at night
             b. during the day
             c. only in the summer
             d. only in the winter
                                                                         P a g e | 10

                     G.R.A.S.P.S. # 1
   Your goal is to identify and become an expert on an animal in the book Around
   One Cactus by Anthony D. Fredericks. You will need to find information about
   the animal’s habitat, eating habits, and at least one adaptation the desert animal
   has made in order to survive in the desert.

   You and your group members will be field biologists studying desert animals
   native to western deserts in the United States.

   Your audience will be the other members in your group. After you have
   researched your animal, you will share with your group members the information
   you have learned.

   A new desert was discovered in the Western part of the United States. The U.S.
   Government needs your help to determine what animals are living there.

   You will use the a book from the library to find out more information about your
   desert animal. You must use a minimum of two books. You will fill out the
   animals information page given to you, to place in the classroom Desert Animal
   Identification Book.

   You must work cooperatively with your group at all times. You must use two
   books as references for your information page, and you will also be required to
   neatly complete the information page.
                                                                              P a g e | 11

Biologist: ____________________    Desert Animal: ________________
                                   (Draw a picture of the animal in the box provided).

Where does this animal live?


What types of food does this animal eat?


When does this animal search for its food?


Is this animal a predator or prey? How do you know?


I used these books to find my information:

                                                                          P a g e | 12

                     G.R.A.S.P.S. # 2
   Your goal is to create a zoo exhibit for your imaginary desert animal. You will
   need to know what type of environment and shelter your animal needs, what it
   will eat, and any other important information to consider while constructing your
   zoo exhibit.
   You will be a zoologist while creating your exhibit. A zoologist is someone who
   studies animals. You will be an expert on your imaginary animal, so only you
   know what the zoo exhibit will include.
   Your audience will be your classmates. At the end of the project, each of your
   classmates will have created their own exhibit for their imaginary desert animals.
   The classroom will be the zoo, and each of you will be able to tour the exhibits.
   York is opening a zoo for only desert animals. The people who live in York have
   never seen a desert, and do not know what types of animals would be found in a
   desert. It is your job to create a zoo exhibit for the people of York to visit.
   You will create an exhibit for your imaginary desert animal to live. This exhibit
   will be 3D (think gingerbread houses). You may use any of the material
   provided, but be sure to include only things a desert animal needs to survive.
   HINT: There should not be any rivers, lakes, forests, or grassy areas. When you
   have completed your exhibit, you will place it on display for your classmates to
   You will be required to create a 3D replica of a desert exhibit. You must include
   shelter, food source, and an environment that is similar to the animal’s real life
                                                                         P a g e | 13

                      G.R.A.S.P.S. # 3
   Your goal will be to create a narrative writing piece about your imaginary desert
   Your role will be to take on the role of your imaginary animal.

   Your audience will be your teacher. I will be reading your writing piece to learn
   more about your imaginary desert animal.

   The York County Chamber of Commerce is trying to find animals to place in their
   new state of the art zoo. You have been chosen to come live in their zoo, except
   they know nothing about you!

   You will need to inform the Chamber of Commerce what type of habitat you
   need, what you eat, and any other things important to you. This writing piece
   will allow them to properly set up a new home for you in the York City Zoo.

   You will need to tell me what you look like, where you live, what you eat, and
   anything else you have thought of about your animal.

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