Saturday, February 23, 2013

Animals in Winter- The Project (Part 1)

After 3 weeks of investigating how animals survive in the winter (See Animals in Winter- The Investigation Phase), we started a project to show what we have learned. We started out by discussing what they wanted the project to show that they learned. They decided that they wanted to show:
1) Some animals hibernate.
2) Some animals adapt.
3) Some animals migrate.

They wanted to create a cave that they could fit in. That was the idea that started their vision. We decided to use our science table as the cave. That lead them to the idea of creating a winter forest habitat on the top of the table (cave) for the animals that adapt. We wondered how to create the habitats for the animals that migrated. They decided on an ocean for the whales and to use the tree by the science table to hang clouds, geese and Monarchs.

After this whole group planning session, the kids picked which part they wanted to work on. They divided into 3 groups. The hibernation group, the adaptation group and the migration group. I had them sign their names on a paper to help them remember which group they were part of.
The next step was for each group to study pictures of the part of the habitat that they were going to create.
Studying pictures before coming up with a plan.
Next, each group drew a plan based on what they noticed in the pictures.

A few of their plans
The next step was painting!  The kids love this part of the process!  They studied the colors on the photos and tried to paint the sky, cave and ocean as realistically as they could.  They also noticed that the cave walls were bumpy so they crumpled up the paper before painting it to make it more rough.

The winter sky
Painting the cave, ocean and evergreens
Clouds and trees also needed to be made.  We had a problem with the trees!  They wouldn't stay up!  So the kids took clay and created a base to solve the problem.  It was great watching them put the trees on their hands and move them back and forth to see if the base kept them up!

Next came the assembly.  They did this fairly quickly because they already had a vision and plan for how this was going to look!  I am so proud of them!  They really paid attention to detail as you will see in the photos!

I never mentioned fixing up the trees but they were intent on fluffing them up!  (Found these trees for $2.00 a piece after Christmas!)
They wanted bark to show that the deer ate bark when food was scarce.
They decided to add a pond for the frogs and turtles.
This one was hiding nuts because thats what the squirrels do!  Can you see them in there?
The winter forest habitat
Our cave made for hibernating.  

Next week, the kids will create the animals, label parts of the projects and write the facts they wanted to include.  After it is finished, each group will practice how they are going to present their part of the project to the rest of the class.  If time allows, maybe we will invite some other classes to see our presentation also!

The management of a project this big was a challenge.  We came up with the idea of having the kids rotate in groups in the afternoon for the days of painting and assembly.  One group worked on the project, one group worked on math stations and one group worked on literacy stations.  I helped with the project work while Mrs. Hoang pulled kids out for guided reading groups and intervention. The rest of the project work should be able to be done whole group or during our exploration time.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Animals In Winter Inquiry- The Investigation Phase

A few weeks ago we read a couple books about feeding the animals in the winter that sparked a three week inquiry about how the animals survive in the winter (See Taking Care of the Animals in Winter post from January).  Here are just a few of their questions:
What happens to the animals that don't find our food?
How do they stay warm?
How do they find food?
What do whales do in the winter when the water turns to ice?
What do deer do for food?
What about the birds?  There is no food for them either!
The questions kept coming so we started inquiring to find out some answers!  Here are a few books we read as we investigated:

We also watched many videos on our promethium board that showed us animals that hibernate, adapt and migrate.  After we investigated, we organized our data by creating web maps.  These kids are a little obsessed with making web maps.  It is their favorite way to organize data!  Here are our web maps:

The kids also picked an animal from each chart and wrote about how it survived in the winter.  

After reading Owl Moon, (they learned that owls adapt) the kids created some art inspired by the cover!  They turned out beautiful!

When studying about migration, we learned a lot specifically about geese, terns, monarchs and whales. They studied maps that showed where these animals migrate.  We took one day to roll play how and why geese migrate!  We went outside in the cold and flew to a grassy area of our playground.  We squatted down like geese and looked for food.  A couple sentries noticed a fox and warned us so we had to move!  

When we noticed how cold it was and that there was no food, we got into a "V" formation and migrated back to our warm classroom where food (goldfish) was waiting for us at our tables.  

Now that we have investigated and organized our information, we are ready to create a project to show what we have learned.  The kids have decided to create a three dimensional  project that shows  hibernation, migration and adaptation.  We discussed what learning we wanted our project to show.  They said they wanted to show that they learned some animals hibernate, some animals migrate and some animals adapt to survive the winter. They brainstormed and decided they needed to create the habitats first.  The class divided into three groups.  One group will work on hibernation, one group will work on migration, and one group will work on adaptation.  They all signed a paper showing what subject they choose to work on.  So far, the hibernation group has decided to make a cave, the adaptation group will create a winter forest scene and the migration group is going to create an ocean and sky.  All three will fit together to create one big area in our room.  Our science table has been chosen for the area to create the project.  They brainstormed materials that we will need and we are looking around our school and our homes for things that would help us!

When we come back on Monday, each group will investigate the habitats they need to create.  They will create sketches and come up with a plan for their part.  After that, we will begin building the habitats for our project.
After we build the habitats, the second step will be to create the animals.  The third step will be to create the labels showing what we learned.  Each group is planning to present their part to the rest of the class when the project is done.  They are also talking about adding some roll playing elements to their presentations.  If time allows, they would also like to invite other classes to come and see them present what they have learned about animals in winter.  This group does not do anything half way!  I am very excited to see how they do with this.  (I am actually excited and nervous about how I will do with this!  This will be the biggest project I have had a class take on! I have a lot to figure out!  I will keep you informed on each step of the process!)

Valentines Day

On Valentine's Day, we created a collaborative piece of art to celebrate love.  The kids told us what they thought love was and I wrote it in the hearts.  (I got the idea of using toilet paper tubes to make hearts from pinterest).  Their definitions of love were so sweet!

The finished piece.  We still need to create a label for it.
Each of them got a box of conversation hearts.  First they grouped them and graphed them.  They shared the information their graphs gave them with their friends at their tables.  Then they recorded all of the sight words that they could find on the candies.

Families sent in fruit so we could put it all together to create a friendship fruit salad.  I was amazed at the generosity of all you parents!  We had three giant bowls and tubs filled with fruit salad! It was delicious!  I wish I took a picture of the finished product but here are the containers of fruit brought in along with some other yummy treats sent in for us to enjoy!

I have to say, I was quite blown away by the creativity of the valentine boxes and bags that were a family project! 

Mrs. Ogden brought some amazing kids from the Jr. High over to help us with our party!  They also helped the kids pass out valentines into each others holders.  I am so thankful that they came!  The kids loved having them join us!  We had such a great day celebrating love and our friendships together!