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Science/Language Arts: Animal Fact Cards: Research for Elementary Students


Connecting to AASL's Standards for the 21st-century Learner. * Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge (1.1.2, 1.1.3, 1.1.7, 1.3.5). * Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge (2.1.2, 2.1.4,2.1.6,2.2.4). * Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society (3.1.4). * Pursue personal and aesthetic growth (4.1.5). Follow-Up/Extension Activities: Since students remain interested in animal topics, searching the online library catalog can be reviewed so they can locate additional nonfiction materials for future reading.

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									a “Creature Card” with a picture and details     cess of “just copying” has a profound impact     teacher share the articles with classes. Then
about the name, characteristics, and origin.     on engagement and learning. —Paul Carey,         ask students to select an exotic animal and
Make duplicate cards to share with friends       Gwinnett County (GA) Schools                     prove or disprove the legitimacy of such an
and the special guest. Warning: This activity                                                     animal being a pet. Students would research
could create a trading card frenzy! —Stacey      Create Sharing Opportunities as                  the same type of data but demonstrate
Greene Wicksall, Waterloo (NY) Central                                                            synthesis by concluding whether or not the
                                                 Motivation for Deeper Learning
School District                                                                                   animal is a good choice for a domesticated
                                                     In a recent research project, second grade
                                                 students shared their knowledge about a
Transfer the Knowledge:                                                                               The assignment would give students
                                                 specific insect with classmates. After record-
                                                                                                  a reason to not only research the basics,
What If?                                         ing their research on a graphic organizer,
                                                                                                  but also look for actual wild pets stories in
    My favorite tweak for the “animal report”    students participated as both interviewer
                                                                                                  current journals, newspaper articles, and/
is for kids to envision, explore, and then       and subject in an exchange entitled “Meet an
                                                                                                  or databases. To move the students away
describe the physical and behavioral adapta-     Entomologist.” Students formulated a list of
                                                                                                  from creating a bullet-ridden, clip art-filled
tions an animal would have to make to live       interview questions to ask when talking with
                                                                                                  presentation, limit their slides by ten slides,
in an alternate habitat or biome. It provides    other entomologist experts. Students used
                                                                                                  a minimum of a 30-point font for text. As an
an excellent opportunity for critical thinking   their graphic organizers as reference points
                                                                                                  alternative, students can create a persuasive
and meaningful application of new knowl-         to refer to in order to be able to answer
                                                                                                  pamphlet for display at a local pet shop or
edge about the animal’s current physical and     queries from interviewers. —Ellen Reed,
                                                                                                  vet’s office, giving the students an authentic
behavioral characteristics and habitat/biome!    Piedmont (CA) Unified School District
                                                                                                  purpose for the research. —Catherine (Cathy
—Toni Buzzeo, author, Buxton, ME
                                                                                                  Jo) Nelson, Spartanburg (SC) School District
                                                 Tweak for Older Students:                        Six
Use the Project as an Opportunity                When Wild Animals Become Pets
to Focus on Note-taking                              The school librarian can find recent           The animal research lesson
   I have a research graphic organizer           articles that show where certain wild animals      plans in this issue of SLM dem-
template that is specifically designed to have   have been transformed into domestic pets           onstrate thinking challenges
insufficient space for copying down whole        with dangerous or tragic results (e.g., a pet
                                                                                                    for students, see pages 6-11.
sentences and paragraphs. Stopping the pro-      ape attacks a neighbor.) Suggest that the

Science/Language Arts:

Animal Fact Cards:
Research for Elementary Students
                                                                                                        by Marilyn Potter Scahill

A         s shown in this assignment,
          student involvement in
          determining research
topics and posing questions for
assignments raises their interest level
                                                    ▶Inquire, think critically, and gain knowl-
                                                      edge (1.1.2, 1.1.3, 1.1.7, 1.3.5).
                                                    ▶Draw conclusions, make informed
                                                      decisions, apply knowledge to new situ-
                                                      ations, and 
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