And the Ground Began to Shake:
A New Twist to Animal Research
by Chris Haeffner
C lassroom teachers love
animal research—and for
good reason. There are
always plenty of resources, the topic
fits well into a variety of curriculum
animals and how animals adapt.
Students will write a paragraph that
imcorporates what they have learned about a
specific animal and its habitat.
their animal and decide on a name to be used
for their animal in their writing. Students
will then write a detailed description of their
animal from a narrator’s point of view (see
Grade Levels: 3-6
areas, and, best of all, students get it. Writing Example
They like animals, they understand Sambi is a Bactrian camel that lives in
Resources: the rocky deserts of Mongolia and Chi-
the purpose of their research, and A variety of animal and habitat reference na. She has a thick, shaggy coat that
it’s all pretty well laid out. This lesson materials, including nonfiction print, protects her from the brutally cold
continues to use animals and their online and print encyclopedias, Web sites, winters. When summer arrives and
habitats for the premise of research, videos, etc. the temperature soars, Sambi loses
but requires students to ask more her coat to keep her overheating. Like
questions, analyze information, Instructional Roles: other camels, Sambi doesn’t sweat,
and creatively hypothesize in an The classroom teacher and school librar- so she can store enough fluids in her
ian work collaboratively to assist students body to survive for several weeks.
imaginative writing activity.
in finding important facts about an animal
and its habitat. The school librarian demon-
Days 4 and 5:
Information Literacy/ strates the necessary research skills and gives
Upon completing the first part of their
examples of the final project. The classroom
Inquiry Objectives: teacher focuses on the skills associated with
writing, students will be given the following
Connecting to AASL’s Standards for the 21st- story transition:
reading for detail and expressing ideas clearly
Century Learner: Suddenly, the ground began to shake!
▶Inquire, think critically and gain The wind began to blow, and the whole
knowledge (1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3, 1.1.4, world seemed to twist and spin! When
1.1.6, 1.1.7, 1.1.8, 1.1.9, 1.1.4, 1.2.1, 1.27, Procedures for Completion: everything became still, (Name of your
1.4.3). Day 1: animal) found himself in a place he didn’t
▶Draw conclusions, make informed Students choose their topic and are recognize.
decisions, apply knowledge to new guided through the process of identifying At this point, assign students a new
situations, and c