Tag Archives: elementary science

Thematic, Integrated Centers Can Enhance Your Science Teaching

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Thinking Like a Scientist

My kitchen windowsill tells a lot about the kind of mom/teacher/learner I am. Besides the assortment of usual suspects (small appliances, wine rack, utensils holder, cookbooks) on the counter, right now you will find other goodies:
  • a warbler nest in a glass dish, nestled against a garden snail shell and blue jay feather;
  • a box of hummingbird nectar mix;
  • two cakes of fancy suet for my bird friends;
  • a big plastic container with the empty chrysalis of a black swallowtail butterfly that we released first thing this morning;
  • the dried body of a parasitized spotted leopard moth caterpillar in a jar, awaiting necropsy.
We have field guides and giant magnifying glasses strategically placed around the house, and save every plastic and glass container, “just in case.”  Even the less scientific among us have been caught checking over the latest critter in a jar — the investigative spirit is contagious.
With a few simple additions, you can turn any classroom (whether at home or in a school) into a classroom full of scientists. In this article, I will use examples from my former kindergarten classroom to show some easy changes that can be made to your learning space, today.
http://simplesciencestrategies.com

For more on observation, invitations and science centers, see “The Nature Corner: An Invitation to Observe” (c) Kim M Bennett, 2012

Simple Changes Lead to Big Thinking

 

Looking for a great professional book to help you achieve greater scientific thinking in your instruction? Check out The Essentials of Science and Literacy, reviewed on this blog.

Not Just Another Fun Science Activity…

The ideas presented above are not just fun activities with a science twist. With the addition of the proper materials, they can be used to address important science, numeracy and literacy standards.

Below, I will show you a second grade integrated science center that includes 25 fiction and non-fiction resources, realia, and other materials that can be used to teach about life by the seashore. You will see that it combines a number of the suggestions from the list above, to provide a multimodal learning opportunity that has multiple access points, and meets the needs of all students in the classroom.

Theme Basket for Four, for 2nd grade: “Life on the Seashore”

This thematic library is constructed using the theme basket approach, in which students interact with different types and levels of text in order to support their comprehension of the main, grade-level selection. It is designed for four students, the ideal number of students for this center. The theme basket approach will be explained ever-so-briefly in this post; if you’d like more information on the research behind it, please see “Blending Multiple Genres in Theme Baskets.”

Attached you will find an Excel spreadsheet with detailed information about these texts.

Standards to be addressed:

  • 2-LS4-a. Make observations about the variety of plants and animals living in an area and identify the specific places they live in order to make comparisons between different areas.
  • RI.2.9 Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic. (2-LS4-a),(2-LS2-a)
  • SL.2.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

Component 1: The Container

 

  • One large plastic beach tote
  • Two colorful, large beach towels

The storage of the text set in a beach basket makes this center both portable and helps reinforce the theme of life on the seashore. The inclusion of the beach towels also adds to the theme, as well as helping to define the center in a setting where a permanent library is not possible, such as family living area, an afterschool program or a shared classroom.

 

http://earlylife.com.au/info/node/4118   For more ideas on creating beach-themed interest centers, grades N-2, see Early Life Foundations. [Photo Credit: (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2019]

Component 2: Early Readers

 

  • A Day at the Beach: A Seaside Counting Book  (Sandy Seeley Walling; Grade K)
  • At the Beach (Mandy Stanley; Grade K, board book)
  • Fun Dog, Sun Dog (Deborah Heiligmann; Grade K)
  • Sea, Sand, Me! (Patricia Hubbell; Grade K, poetry)

The texts in this component are purposely selected to be well below the grade level of your class. If you are planning a theme basket for a different grade, you can adjust the level of these texts up or down, but these should always be picture books, even when working with high school level students. The purpose of these books is to provide needed background information, through visuals, for students to understand the core text. Include one copy each of enough selections for each student in the group to have a different book.

All students read all of the texts in this section, regardless of their independent reading level. They may read them independently and pass them to a classmate, read them in partners or read them aloud to one another.

Component 3:  Picture Books

 

  • On My Beach, There are Many Pebbles (Leo Lionni; Grade 1.3, fiction)
  • The Berenstain Bears at the Sea (Stan & Jan Berenstain; Grade 1.4, fiction)
  • Super Sand Castle Saturday (Stuart J. Murphy; Grade 1.7, realistic fiction)
  • Brave Norman (Andrew Clements; Grade 1.8, realistic fiction)
  • George’s Store at the Shore (Francine Bassede; Grade 1.9, realistic fiction)
  • Mermaid Dreams (Mark Sperring; Grade 1.9, fantasy)

The texts in this component are all picture books, and all fiction (NOTE: If preparing this basket for older elementary or secondary students, use children’s chapter books , such as Dolphins at Daybreak, by Mary Pope Osborne, for this component). The purpose of this component, like the last one, is to provide background knowledge to support the core text, and to provide choice – an important part of engaging readers. Narratives are easier for students to comprehend than non-fiction texts at the same grade level, providing a needed scaffold for the meatier informative text in the core selection.

 

There are six selections available, from which each student will select two to read independently.  All are narratives set on the beach, to provide needed background information about the sights, sounds and activities common at the beach – important for students who may lack these background experiences.

Component 4: The Core Text

 

 

One Small Square: Seashore. $8.95 at Barnes & Noble (click to order)

 

This component includes two grade-level options for the core text, one at the beginning of the complexity band, and one at the end. A teacher could vary the main selection, depending on the time of the year the theme basket was used, or use both selections, changing the core selection depending on the needs of an individual group, and keeping the remainder of the theme basket constant. Titles are hyperlinked to purchase information.

These two selections have very similar content, enabling a teacher who uses both to have a whole-class debrief where students jigsaw the specific content as a whole group.

All students will read/interact with the core selection, so multiple copies of the same text will be included in the basket.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In any classroom, the literacy needs of individual students vary greatly, and you will be tempted to change the grade level of the core text to meet the reading level of the students. Don’t! The purpose of the varying parts of the theme basket is to provide scaffolding for students to understand the core selection, which should always be grade level. Rather than changing the grade level of the core text, vary the manner in which students interact with the text: read-aloud, book on tape, literature circle,  supported small group read, partner read, independent read.

Component 5: Advanced Texts

 

  • Hello Ocean/Hola Mar (Pam Munoz Ryan; Grade 3.1, bilingual, realistic fiction)
  • Beach (Elisha Cooper; Grade 3.9, poetry)
  • Sand Dollar Summer (Kimberly K. Jones; Grade 4.5, fiction)
  • Interrupted Journey: Saving Endangered Sea Turtles (Kathryn Lasky; Grade 4.6, non-fiction)
  • At the Beach (Novato; Grade 5.4, realistic fiction)

For this component, above-grade-level selections are provided for advanced readers or other motivated students to read independently. The component presents a variety of genre, to address multiple interests of the students, and includes texts from one to three years above the target grade level of the class. (NOTE: When preparing a theme basket for middle grades, include high school level texts; when preparing for high school students, include young adult and adult [but age-appropriate] titles).

These texts are optional student reads, but not optional for the theme basket.  Include enough title for all students to have a book, and a choice.

Component 6: Non-fiction, Reference and Non-Traditional Texts

 

  • When the Tide is Low (Sheila Cole; Grade 2.7, non-fiction)
  • Sea Shells, Crabs and Sea Stars (Young Naturalists Series, Grade 3.8, field guide)
  • The Seashore Book (Charlotte Zolotow; Grade 4.5, field guide)
  • Photo album with magazine images and photographs about the seashore
  • Plastic sand pail full of beach “finds:” shells, dried seaweed, sand dollars, skate egg cases, sea glass, beach pebbles, etc.
  • Container of plastic seashore animals (from the local dollar store or toy store)
  • Materials for labeling

The point of this theme basket is to help students understand the grade-level core text, and meet the grade-level science and literacy standards, regardless of their reading level. The items in this component are specifically designed to guide students to those two goals, and extend the learning of all students.

  1. Students love field guides, and looking things up. The field guides (the three texts) will naturally lead students to research and compare the beach objects included in the center, even though the reading level of the texts might be well above the independent reading level of the students.
  2. Inclusion of a photo album or other picture file helps support the comprehension needs of the earliest readers, and also encourages student-to-student discourse about the science content.
  3. Inclusion of real objects helps engage students in the content, and helps students to move from concrete (real objects ) to representational (images) to abstract (words) comprehension.
  4. Young students need to be able to demonstrate their understanding in four ways: by acting it out, by showing with objects, by showing with pictures, and by showing with symbols (words and numbers). The addition of items for replica play helps students demonstrate their comprehension of the core concepts in a developmentally appropriate way.
  5. Adding labeling materials leads students to use their science literacy in an authentic way (my students used to make “museums” whenever we studied something in social studies or science).

I once worked with a fourth grade teacher who did an amazing job using visuals to scaffold the learning of his struggling readers by carefully selecting images that he stored on his Smart Board, and allowing students to take a tour through the photo gallery as part of their centers time.

 

http://simplesciencestrategies.com seashore

 

For More Information

The teacher would design a series of tasks associated with the core text of the basket, and supplementary tasks that the students could complete using any of the basket’s contents. For examples of lesson plans that can be used with the core texts, please see the following links:

 

 

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Looking Forward: The Next Generation Science Standards

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Why Change Science Instruction?

Why change the way science (and math) are taught in the United States? Check out this great infographic to see why instruction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics needs to change drastically in the United States.

Transforming Science Education

In response to the need for science education to change to meet the needs of 21st century students, Achieve, Inc.,  has released the final draft of the Next Generation Science Standards. The standards are available for reading, free of charge, or can be ordered in hard copy.

http://simplesciencestrategies.com

Standards can be viewed online, free of charge, or ordered in hard copy (click image for more information).

Where Did They Get the Standards?

The NGSS are based on the National Research Council Framework, which focuses on three dimensions of science instruction: scientific and engineering practices, cross-cutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas (see the tabs at the top of this blog post for the three dimensions and their components). This framework is available for reading online, free of charge, or for free download. See the widget in the sidebar, at right, to get a copy for yourself. Each standard is followed by the frameworks elements it draws on (see image, below), and includes specific language to clarify age-appropriate expectations.

http://simplesciencestrategies.com

Each standard draws on several elements in the NRC Framework.

I find the color-coding of the three dimensions helpful for quickly identifying different aspects of the framework, for each standard.

Scientific and Engineering Practices

Scientific and engineering practices are the things we want students to DO in science. These are divided into eight areas:

  • Asking Questions and Defining Problems
  • Developing and Using Models
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigation
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information

Here is an example of the scientific and engineering practices connections to one fifth grade science standard:

http://simplesciencestrategies.com

Scientific and Engineering Practices are the things we want students to DO in the science classroom.

 

Cross-Cutting Concepts

There are many essential truths in science — concepts so broad, that they extend into all disciplines. These cross-cutting concepts — the things we want students to understand — are listed below.

  • Patterns
  • Cause and Effect: Mechanism and Explanation
  • Scale, Proportion and Quantity
  • Systems and System Models
  • Energy and Matter: Flows, Cycles and Conservation
  • Structure and Function
  • Stability and Change

 

http://simplesciencestrategies.com

Cross-Cutting Concepts are the broad ideas that we want students to UNDERSTAND, regardless of the specific science topic.

 

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Each science discipline has its own “truths,” things that we want students to know about a particular topic. These are listed as disciplinary core ideas, and are broken into the four main branches of science:

Physical Sciences

  • Matter and Its Interactions
  • Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
  • Energy
  • Waves and Information Transfer

Life Sciences

  • From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy and Dynamics
  • Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
  • Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

Earth and Space Sciences

  • Earth’s Place in the Universe
  • Earth’s Systems
  • Earth and Human Activity

Engineering, Technology and the Application of Science

  • Engineering Design
  • Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science and Society
http://simplesciencestrategies.com

Disciplinary core ideas are the subject-specific things we want students to KNOW.

Integrated Standards and Thematic Teaching

One part of the new standards that I think will be a big bonus for teachers is the connection of related literacy and numeracy standards after each science standard, as well as related framework ideas. With these connections, it is not only easier for classroom teachers to design rich, integrated units of study based on scientific topics — it is also easier for teachers to be reassured that integrated, thematic teaching can address important literacy and numeracy goals of high-stakes testing.

Here is an example of an integrated unit based on the Grade 1 science standards:

http://simplesciencestrategies.com

If Only I Could Fly – an integrated Grade 1 Science Unit. (c) Simple Science Strategies, 2013. Click the image to download this 13-page document, FREE.

 

This unit includes three performance tasks, addressing two science standards, two numeracy standards, and five English language arts standards. For each task, a task table outlines key vocabulary, big ideas, a description of the essential task with grade-level expectations, important concepts and any foundational concepts. Components are sorted by Bloom’s Level.

 

http://simplesciencestrategies.com

Standards are arranged to show performance tasks, including key vocabulary, big ideas and concepts, and grade-level expectations.

 

To assist teachers in assessing student performance relative to the standards, sample rubrics are included for each performance task.

For Your Science Library

Please see the sidebar for new selections for your science library and classroom: A Framework for K-12 Science Education, and The Essentials of Science and Literacy.


 

 

 

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What’s Under There?

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The next time you are on a nature walk, prepare to explore life under an old, rotting log. Bring along a couple of containers or bug houses, some magnifying glasses, and your notebook and pencil.Any large log will do (it should be large enough to create a really tight space underneath), but the more decomposed the log, the better.

“The Earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the world and those who live in it.” — Psalm 24:1

A Close-up Observation: A Tiny Forest

First, examine the surface of the log before you turn it over.What is growing on it? Are there any little critters crawling on it? What are they doing?

Look at the area around the rotted log. How does the plant life on the log differ from the plant life around it? Why do you think that is so?

You will probably see several kinds of moss growing. Use your magnifying glass to see the little brown “antennae”-looking things that stick up above the green moss. These are the spore cases of the moss. Mosses don’t have seeds, but produce spores. Their life cycle is very different from a seed-bearing plant’s life cycle.

You might also see lichens, which are drier, and are usually a whitish-green color. A lichen is an interesting organism that has some features of green plants and some of fungi. You can collect lichen — they will dry out and keep their color. If you are starting a lichen collection, make sure to write down the date, name of the place you found it, and what kind of log it was growing on (if you know).

There are some interesting kinds of lichens and mushrooms that you might see — check out the photo gallery below.

Of course, if your log is really rotting, it will also be the home for some tree seedlings. See if you can identify what kind of tree the seedling will grow up to be.

If you’ve brought your nature journal or notebooking supplies, take a moment to sketch the log before you move it.

The Handbook of Nature Study’s Outdoor Hour Challenge #42 Moss and Lichen describes some activities that you can use as a follow-up to observations of moss and lichens in the field. For notebooking pages that you can use with these, and other, plant studies, see Apologia’s Botany Notebooking pages, which include 60 pages that you can use for studies of mosses, lichens, fungi and seed-bearing plants.

Great photos of lichens and mosses can be found in Nicolette’s Notebook and Delightful Learning.

The Notebooking Treasury has thousands of notebooking pages that can be used with any subject, including nature study notebooking pages that are divided by habitat, such as “rotting log,” or “in the woods.”

Use discount code = discount5 to save $5 on your $10+ purchase at NotebookingPages.com

 

Observation Under a Log: Knock, Knock…

Now, get ready to move the log.NOW, we are getting ready to look at tiny things living under the log, but remember, there might be bigger critters living under there, too. Snakes, chipmunks and other creatures take advantage of the spaces under logs, as they don’t have to work to dig. Because they would rather get away than fight for their lives, give them that chance — turn the log by rolling it toward you, instead of away, so that any big something underneath can safely skitter away, and roll it slowly, so you don’t squish fingers or toes of anyone. Always make sure that your friend is not peaking under the other side of the log before you move it!

NOTE: Use your judgment when deciding to move a log. Don’t move one that is too big to move safely without hurting yourself. And don’t move anything if it will cause too much disturbance to the environment. You are going back to your home, but the log is the only home some critters have right now.

 

The Process of Science

The Skills of a Scientist

 

Okay, so you know all the scientific names of all the tropical fish in your school aquarium. You can identify bird songs from 5 miles away. You have the periodic table memorized. That’s the content of science. WNow let’s test your knowledge of the process of science.

Which of the following is not a science process skill?

 

Observation: Time to Rock and Roll

(the log, that is!)

 

Ok… Let’s get rolling!One of the first things you might see are the tunnels of one of many kinds of ants. When you disturb their home, you will see them scurrying around, carrying ant eggs and pupae to safer locations down in the ant hill. This is a great opportunity to observe the habits of ants, and how they work together for their survival.

You might also see sow beetles. Some people call them pillbugs or rolly polly beetles. They are not really a beetle.They look like miniature armadillos, and will often curl into a ball if they feel threatened. They like to eat rotting plant materials. Put a few in a bug house with a small amount of the composted log to look at later.

If you’re really lucky, and it’s the right time of the year for your area, you might see striped salamanders. These are locally plentiful, which means, if your area has them, you’ll probably find a lot of them. A little less frequently, you might see red efts, if your rotting log is close to a water supply (efts are also salamanders, which are amphibians, like frogs, so they spend part of their life in the water). If you are hiking at night (try it sometime!), you might be fortunate enough to see a spotted salamander, a large, black, prehistoric-looking creature with yellow spots. They are not plentiful, and are more sensitive to changes in the environment. We used to pay $1 to the first of our children to find a spotted salamander in the spring. The first one was usually unearthed in April or so, by turning compost or digging in the woodchip pile. They hide during the day, and come out almost exclusively at night, so be on the lookout under your log.

Another kind of ant you might see is the very interesting citronella ant. They often are confused with termites, as they are light yellow to whitish in color, and they are often seen in a line of thousands crawling along house foundations. They are not pests, though. They get their name because, if you accidentally squash one, it gives off a smell like the citronella candles you burn to keep mosquitoes away. You can usually see this kind of ant in the late summer, when they move house for the season.

The earthworm is another resident of the secret world under a rotting log. Their tunneling is very important to the energy cycle in the forest. Did you know that dirt is worm poop? That’s a fact that kids just love to hear. On another lens, I’ll tell you how to make a worm bin, and you’ll get to try an experiment that will prove that dirt is worm poop. It’s very cool, and I can’t wait to share it with you. A hint about earthworms: people like to take them home to study, but the kind of worms that you will probably find under the rotten log are particular about their home, and usually die inside (it just gets too warm for them). Be on the lookout for my lens called “Bucket of Fun” for more information about raising worms.

Don’t forget to check out the plant life under the log. You will probably see a net of whitish or yellowish threads that look sort of like roots. These are the underground body (called mycelium) of some non-green plants. Some are fungi — the mycelium is a sort of “root” for the mushroom that will grow above the surface. But others are another organism called actinomycetes. Everyone knows about these, but they don’t know it! Ever smell that wonderful smell that tells you that rain is coming? That is the smell that soil makes when actinomycetes grow after a rain storm. We think that bacteria and fungus are what make our leaves turn into soil in the compost pile, but it is really the work of those nets of white and yellow actinomycetes that you see under your log.

Check out the photo gallery, below, for pictures of some of the critters you might come across under your log. Use this journal page to write and draw about what you see. If you want to make a list of creatures you find, use this checklist.

 

Look for these…

 

Be a Good Steward

 

God created the whole earth for us to enjoy, but He also put us in charge of caring for it. Always make sure that you leave an area looking cleaner than it was when you got there. That means, carefully roll the log back. Replace any critters you have in your critter catchers, where you found them. Pack out any trash you created, and pick up any trash other hikers have left behind. Remember, it’s not YOUR home!

 

For More Information About Life in the Forest…

One Small Square: Woods

by: Donald Silver, Patricia Wynne

An excellent book if you are doing a nature study in the woods, or preparing for a woodland hike. One of a series.

Amazon Price: $4.51 (as of 08/13/2012) Buy Now

A Field Guide to Mushrooms: North America (Peterson Field Guides)

by: Kent H. McKnight, Vera B. McKnight

There are many field guide series. I have used many of them. Peterson Guides usually group organisms by color, which bothers some people (because it’s not taxonomically correct), but helps beginners.

Amazon Price: $11.99 (as of 08/13/2012) Buy Now

Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses

by: Robin Wall Kimmerer

Amazon Price: $11.98 (as of 08/13/2012) Buy Now

A Salamander’s Life (Nature Upclose)

by: John Himmelman

If your nature study is part of a larger one about life cycles.

Amazon Price: $437.56 (as of 08/13/2012) Buy Now

Lichens (Smithsonian’s Natural World Series)

by: William Purvis

Amazon Price: $10.49 (as of 08/13/2012) Buy Now

A Fascinating Look into the World of Fungus

What’s in the News Now…

Check out these articles about molds, mildews and other mushroom cousins.
Video: From Allergies to Deadly Disease, Feeling the Effects of Climate Change
In this video, doctors blame the world’s strange climate lately, on the rise of exotic diseases caused by fungi.
Paul Stamets and the Holy Grail of Mushrooms
One mushroom expert believes that a certain kind of mushroom holds the secret for the cure of many diseases.
The Strange World of Mushrooms, Above and Below
Just when you thought that you had this taxonomy thing all figured out, they go and find something that breaks the rules. Take a look at a kind of undersea coral which has part of its life cycle that looks remarkably like the above ground mushrooms it so closely resembles.
Better Living Through Mycology
A fanciful description of how the world would be a better place if we just loved fungi more.
Magical Kingdom
A quick guide to mushroom taxonomy.
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Biomes: Teaching With the ‘One Small Square’ Series

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I spent seven years of my teaching career as a third grade teacher in an urban school district. The elementary school where I taught was actually located at the edge of town, so we had a school full of kids from the city, attending school in the country. The children delighted in the horses that lived at the farm next door, and enjoyed just rolling in the grass and watching the butterflies in our nature garden.

While working on building nature activities to give the students experiences which they had not previously had, I stumbled upon the One Small Square Series of non-fiction children’s books, by Donald Silver.  Each 48-page book covers a different habitat, and guides kids through a close-up look at what you might find if you observed one small piece of that habitat.

  • Backyard
  • Cactus Desert
  • Cave
  • Night Sky
  • Pond
  • Swamp
  • Woods
  • African Savanna
  • Arctic Tundra
  • Coral Reef
  • Rainforest
  • Seashore

There are over a dozen titles in the One Small Square series, by Donald Silver. For the remainder of this post, I will focus only on Backyard, for the following reasons:

  1. While people reading the post might live in different parts of the country, and (hence) in different biomes, everyone has something that they can call a “backyard” – a patio, a planter, a parking lot, a school garden, a playground, or a park. The learning tasks in Backyard can be performed in any kind of outdoor area, including one of the other biomes.
  2. The Charlotte Mason Method of instruction recommends beginning nature studies with the child’s own surroundings, then moving to exotic locations. In all instruction, we do well to connect new information with what the learner already knows. See “Nature Study: Charlotte Mason’s Cure for Tired, Text-Taught Tots” for more on the Charlotte Method philosophy of outdoor education.
  3. Becoming familiar with the “One Small Square” method of nature study in one’s backyard makes the other studies easier.

 

One Small Square: Backyard, from $2.96 at Barnes & Noble. Click image for ordering information.

50 Helpful Links for Use With One Small Square: Backyard

Reviews

These two links provide helpful reviews of the series, one by readers through Google Books, and another from a homeschooler:

Cornerstones of Science provides excellent reviews of many fiction and non-fiction books that can be used in your science instruction. Search by title, topic, author, grade and reading level.

 

Lesson and Unit Plans

 

This section includes a huge variety of types of web links, from .pdf versions of lesson plans to print out and put in your public school lesson plan books, to laid-back, Charlotte Mason-style homeschool nature studies using Backyard, to  unit studies compiled by the National Park Service. You will find plans for preschool through high school students in this list. I think the list is exciting! And all materials are free.

[NOTE: While I did select only links that were relevant (i.e., contained actual lesson plans, included appropriate learning tasks, used Backyard as a “spine” and addressed important educational goals), a site’s presence on the list does not mean that all linked lessons will align with state or national standards (although many provide this information for you). The teacher always has to consider the needs of her own students, as well as any school or state requirements, when choosing lessons and curriculum. ]

 

Many who used Backyard as a basis for their lessons tied it into studies of soils, life underground and worms. For older students, the “meter square” links introduce the idea of quadrat studies, in-depth, scientific investigations of the plants, animals, soil, light and weather of a specific area used in the field of ecology. See also the Creative Curriculum link (which describes a center-based learning approach to teaching with the book).

Learn more about observing in your backyard in “Science Skills: Making Observations and Asking Questions Like a Scientist” (Photo credit: (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2009)

Resource Lists

 

Some links did not specifically include a lesson plan, but had other interesting and important information that might be helpful to a classroom or homeschool teacher, such as schedules for using the book, the role of nature study in a balanced curriculum, lists of materials to include in a comprehensive outdoor study program, and general information on nature study. Think of these as a “shopping list” for a teacher intent on infusing science into classroom practice.

Learn how to “look closely” in “The Power of Observation: Life in a Tiny Ecosystem” (Photo credit: (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2009)

For More Information…

 

All these sites, and others, can be found on my Pinterest board, One Small Square. New sites will be added as I find them.

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