Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Unit Resource Portfolio: Food Chains

This portfolio provides 10 instructional plans for 3rd graders based on the topic food chains. Primarily, it will focus on 3.5 of the SOL . Additionally, it will also make some connections with 3.4: animal adaptations and with 3.6: ecosystems. This project focuses on the types of relationships among living organisms and their dependence on each other for survival. The strand focuses on the life processes of plants and animals and the specific needs of each. The major topics developed in the strand include the basic needs and life processes of organisms, their physical characteristics, behavioral and physical adaptations, and survival and perpetuation of species.

The first section is the instructional plans where the unit is exposed. The unit is organized in chronological and logical order as a model or guide to teach these contents. Each day will first provide the objectives planned to be reached in that class and secondly, a sequence section where one can find the instructional procedure for that lesson plan. In this second section, an introduction activity to review content or to create background knowledge is given, followed by the activity of the day where students will actually learn new contents. Finally, a possible closure for that day is offered where the whole class is intended to revise the topic. Some of the resources suggested are going to be books, web sites, premade lesson plans and assessments with their assigned answer keys. All of them will have a link where one can visualize the information and download files if necessary.

On the other hand, the rest of the sections are mostly focused in providing sources where materials and ideas can be taken. The majority of these resources are included and used in the instructional plans. The second section is on foldables offering 3 different models with different contents used. Each model has its own instructions and photos to follow the step by step. The third section is on literature connections where a list of 10 tittles are provided. These books include both fiction and non fiction and have different reading levels. Most of them are also used in different lessons. The forth one, has web resources offering games, instructional contents and videos where students can learn and apply knowledge. Finally, the fifth section provides some sample assessments for testing the contents taught in this unit. Some of them are taken from internet, from the SOL or they where created and uploaded. All of them, provide answer keys.

Standards of Learning:

3.5 The student will investigate and understand relationships among organisms in aquatic and terrestrial food chains.
Key concepts include:
  • producer, consumer, decomposer;
  • herbivore, carnivore, omnivore; and
  • predator and prey.
Background information:
  • A food chain shows a food relationship among plants and animals in a specific area or environment.
  • Terrestrial organisms are found on land habitats such as deserts, grasslands, and forests. Aquatic organisms are found in water habitats such as ponds, marshes, swamps, rivers, and oceans.
  • A green plant makes its own food using sunlight, air, and water. Green plants are producers.
  • A consumer is an animal that eats living organisms (plant or animal).
  • Certain organisms break down decayed plants and animals into smaller pieces that can be used again by other living organisms. These organisms are decomposers.
  • A food chain, which shows part of a food web, can have an animal that eats only plants (herbivore). It can have an animal that eats only other animals (carnivore). It can also have an animal that eats both plants and animals (omnivore).
  • An animal can hunt other animals to get its food (predator).
  • An animal can be hunted by another animal for food (prey).

3.4 The student will investigate and understand that adaptations allow animals to satisfy life needs and respond to the environment.
Key concepts include:
  • behavioral adaptations; and
  • physical adaptations.
Background Information:
  • In order to survive, animals act in different ways to gather and store food, find shelter, defend themselves, and rear their young.
  • Physical adaptations help animals survive in their environment (e.g., camouflage, mimicry).
  • Various animals possess adaptations which help them blend into their environments to protect themselves from enemies (camouflage). Camouflage is the means by which animals escape the notice of predators, usually because of a resemblance to their surroundings using coloration or outer coverage patterns.
  • Mimicry occurs when a species has features similar to another species. Either one or both are protected when a third species cannot tell them apart. (Mimicry happens in both animal and plant species.) Some animals look like other animals to avoid being eaten (mimicry). This adaptation helps protect them from their predators. (For example, the viceroy butterfly tastes good to birds, but the monarch butterfly tastes bad. Because the viceroy looks like the monarch butterfly, it is safer from predators.) Mimicry can also occur as mimicked behaviors, mimicked sounds, or mimicked scents.
  • Some animals are born with natural behaviors that they need in order to survive in their environments (instincts). These behaviors are not learned but are instinctive, such as a beaver building a dam or a spider spinning a web.
  • Some behaviors need to be taught in order for the animal to survive, such as a bear cub learning to hunt (learned behavior).
3.6 The student will investigate and understand that ecosystems support a diversity of plants and animals that share limited resources.
Key concepts include:
  • aquatic ecosystems;
  • terrestrial ecosystems;
  • populations and communities; and
  • the human role in conserving limited resources.
Background Information:
  • Water-related ecosystems include those with fresh water or salt water. Examples include ponds, marshes, swamps, streams, rivers, and oceans.
  • Dry-land ecosystems include deserts, grasslands, rain forests, and forests.
  • A community is all of the populations that live together in the same place. An example of a dry-land community would be a forest made up of trees, squirrels, worms, rabbits, and hawks. An example of a water- related community would be an ocean made up of fish, crabs, and seaweed.
  • Organisms compete for the limited resources in their specific ecosystem.
  • Humans need to help conserve limited resources
Vocabulary:

3.5 Food Chain:
  • Food Chain: shows a food relationship among plants and animals in a specific area or environment
  • Producer: an organism that makes its own food, these organisms are green plants.
  • Photosynthesis: the process by which plants produce their own food.
  • Consumer: an animal that eats other organisms (plants or animals)
  • Omnivore: an animal whose diet consists of both animals and plants.
  • Carnivore: an animal whose diet consists of other animals
  • Herbivore: an animal whose diet consists on plants
  • Decomposer:an organism that decay plants and animals into smaller pieces that can be used again by other living organisms (plants)
  • Prey: an animal that is hunted by another animal for food
  • Predator: an animal that hunt other animals to get its food
3.4 Animal Adaptations:
  • Adaptation: a physical or behavior that helps an animal meet its needs in its environment.
  • Camouflage: an animal's color or pattern that helps it blend in with its surroundings.
  • Mimicry: an adaptation in which an animal looks very much like another animal or object.
3.6 Ecosystems:
  • Habitat: place where an animal or plant naturally lives or grows and that provides the food, shelter, moisture, light air and protection the plants and animals need to survive.
  • Environment: the things, both living and nonliving, that surround a living thing.
  • Ecosystem: groups of living things and the environment they live in.
  • Community: all of the populations that live together in the same place.
  • Population: a group of the same species living in the same place at the same time.

INSTRUCTIONAL PLAN

Day 1: Introduction to food chain
Objectives:
  • Incorporate the concept of food chain: a food chain shows a food relationship among plants and animals in a specific area or environment
  • Identify sequence of feeding relationship in a food chain
  • Identify some examples of food chains.
Sequence:
Prepare a food chain in index cards (each member of the food chain in a different card). Have students volunteer for the activity and give each one a selected card. To the whole class, ask: how do these things fit together? Brainstorm the ideas. Then, explain that these elements relate making a food chain. Introduce the concept of food chain as a chain that shows a food relationship among plants and animals in a specific environment. This is a sequence of organisms that give energy to one another.
To continue, give some examples of food chains for students to discuss and understand the idea of energy passing through the different elements of the food chain rather than eating one another. Exercise this by reading each example of food chain as this example: "the sun gives energy to the grass, which gives energy to the mouse, which gives energy to the owl" or " the owl gets energy from the mouse, which gets energy from the grass, which gets energy from the sun".
Activity: Divide students into groups and give each group an example of a food chain of the following list and ask them to make a drama that represents the food chain and how the energy flows from one organisms to another. Each group will act their drama in front of the class. Once the representations are finished, ask students to draw in their notebooks the food chains asking to draw arrows between organisms that show the relationship between them. Again, emphasize the idea that the arrows tells what organism give its energy to the next member of the food chain. Review the way they should read them.
Finally, explain that a food chain is formed by different elements: producer, consumer and decomposer. Ask the students to try to identify in their own food chains the function of each member. Tell them that through the unit they will be learning each part of the food chain.

Day 2: Producers

Objectives:
  • Identify that a producer is an organism that makes its own food, these organisms are green plants.
  • Identify that most food chains begin with a green plant
  • Incorporate the idea that photosynthesis is the process by which plants make their own food.
  • Identify the elements needed for photosynthesis.
Sequence:Enlace
For the introduction, share the answers from the previous class where they try to identify the function of each member of the food chain. Ask students what do they think is the function of a producer in the food chain. Also ask them: What do plants eat?
Read the book "Living Sunlight, how plants bring the earth to life". Share and discuss as a class the role and importance of plants. Explain simply how plants make their own food identifying the necessary ingredient for photosynthesis: water, sun, CO2. Show them that as a result of the combination of those ingredients, plants make sugar, plant's food, and give O2 to the environment which we need to breath. Infer that the sugar plants make is the energy that will flow from one organism to another through the food chain.
Activity: Complete the Photosynthesis recipe.


Day 3: Consumers
Objectives:
  • Identify that a consumer is an animal that eats other organisms (plants or animals)
  • Assimilate the concepts of herbivore, omnivore and carnivore
  • Identify different types of consumers between herbivore, omnivore and carnivore.
Sequence:
Ask the students, what is a consumer? Depending on what is offered, complete explaining that a consumer is an animal that eats other organisms which can be other animals or plants. Emphasize the idea that a consumer need to look for their food and relay on other organisms to obtain food.
As an activity to introduce the difference between consumers, ask the students to share what they had for dinner the day before, the teacher should write in the blackboard what they offer. Then, make them classify the food into groups; the idea is to get a group of vegetables, a group of animals or meat and a combo. Tell the students there is a scientific word for these 3 groups: Herbivore, carnivore and omnivore. Explain that this classification is the same that we use to to to categorize the different types of consumers. Explain the 3 concepts: herbivore: an animal whose diet consists on plants, carnivore: an animal whose diet consists of other animals, and omnivore: an animal whose diet consists of both animals and plants.
Activity: go to the computer lab. Make students read the information on the consumer's diets. be sure they read the information in the 3 categories: herbivores, carnivores, omnivores Then, make them play the game "animal diet" where they will classify animals into the different 3 categories (herbivore, carnivore, omnivore).

Day 4: Consumers
Objectives:
  • Assimilate the concepts of herbivore, omnivore and carnivore
  • Identify different types of consumers between herbivore, omnivore and carnivore.
  • Make a foldable that represent these concepts.
Sequence:
Revise the previous lessons by asking some of the following questions:
  • what can a consumer eat? (plants, animals, both)
  • what is a consumer? (an animal that eats other organisms plans or animals)
  • what is the name for an animal that eat meat? (carnivore)
  • what is the name for an animal that eat plants? (herbivore)
  • what is the name for an animal that eat plants and meat? (omnivore)
  • what kind of consumer is the human? (omnivore)
Activity: explain to the students that they will be making a foldable that shows the different types of diets that a consumer can have. For that, first they will have to make a research on the topic. Provide different materials such as magazines, books, websites etc on animals and its diets. Ask students then, to investigate each group (herbivore, carnivore and omnivore) by getting information and pictures of them in order to be able to make the foldable and use that data. The foldable will have to include images of animals, food they eat and inferences on similar characteristics they can find among animals that belong to the same category.
To conlude, share as a class their foldables and discuss as a class specifically the characteristics they find in common among the animals of each group. Some examples that should appear are:
  • carnivores: are good hunters, move quickly, have strong limbs for grabbing and holding, strong sharp teeth for tearing.
  • herbivores: have flatter teeth for chewing plants, they don't usually move as fast as carnivores because they don't hunt.
  • omnivores: have some traits from both plant eaters and meat eaters.

Day 5 : Decomposer
Objectives:
  • Identify that a decomposer is an organism that decay plants and animals into smaller pieces that can be used again by other living organisms (plants)
  • Identify examples of decomposers.
Sequence:
Tell the students today they are going to learn about the last member of the food chain. Review information on the functions of producer and consumer. Then, ask, what is the 3rd member of a food chain? Ask students what they know about decomposers. To complete the discussion and to correct some misunderstandings or misconceptions read as a class "Rotten Logs and Forest Fogs". Ask students to say in a think per share thoughts and feelings the reading triggered. Conclude the explanation by defining decomposers as organisms that decay plants and animals into smaller pieces that can be used again by other living organisms (plants). Show them that they are considered to be a special class of consumers that are distinguished from other consumers because their food consists of dead bodies as well as the solid and liquid wastes from consumers. Emphasize should be in showing that decomposers return matter to the living world, this matter is what plants tale in as nutrients. For that reason, decomposers play a very important role in material cycles.
Activity: go to the computer lab and give time for students to search through this decomposer website. Ask them to investigate, find characteristics, their job and role. There is also an interesting interview to a worm they could read. They should make a deep research because the following day they will be exploring a decomposer habitat. They should take down notes in their notebooks about new facts they learn. Some of the following questions can be used to guide this web investigation:
  • what new facts did you find about these kind of organisms, decomposers?
  • what did you learn about decomposers?
  • what surprised you most? why?
  • what do you think now about decomposers? did you change your mind? If so, what did you previously think?
If not, you can use this KWLI chart to be completed. (NOTE: you will have to sign up but they will just ask you for you email, it's free)
To conclude, as a class review what they have learned by sharing their answers written in their notebooks.

Day 6: Explore Decomposer
Objectives:
  • Identify that a decomposer is an organism that decay plants and animals into smaller pieces that can be used again by other living organisms (plants)
  • Identify examples of decomposers.
  • Make observation of a decomposer environment identifying examples of different types of them and relationships between them and their surroundings.
Sequence:
Tell the students that today they are going to explore a decomposer's environment. Explain the activity and safety rules before going outside. Divide the students into groups and give each group all the materials needed and the assigned worksheet.
Activity: The activity is called "Fallen Fog" and is found in page 6 of the PDF, the worksheet is after the activity. I personally, would add to this activity some drawings of the student's observations during the completion of the worksheet.
To conclude, when you return back to the class, share the answers of the assigned worksheet and ask the students to offer their experience as explorers in order to enrich one from another.

Day 7: Food Chain: predator and prey
Objectives:
  • Differentiate between predators and prey.
  • Incorporate the following concepts: prey: an animal that is hunted by another animal for food and Predator: an animal that hunt other animals to get its food
  • Identify sequences of feeding relationships in a food chain.
Sequence:
Review the contents taught so far regarding consumers, producers and decomposers. For this, students can play a food chain game where they will have to categorize the different organisms according to the role they play. The difficulty between food chains will increase. They can first read the page on "bigger food chains" before start playing as a review. (the game is found in the left upside).
Once they had captured the idea of sequence of feeding relationships in a food chain introduce the concepts of predator and prey. For this, first make them realize that food chains can be really long, they may include a wide variety of organisms. So, we can find more than one consumer. As a consequence, make them infer that one animal eats another one by asking them: what happens then between consumers? Ask if they know the scientific name for the organism that is eaten and for the animal how actually eats another one. Finally explain the difference between both concepts.
Activity: After this explanation provide some books and material for students to investigate the topic. Divide the class into smaller groups and ask them to explore and examine the material given in order to complete a Predator-Prey Worksheet. To conclude, share the answers on the worksheet and ask students to offer some feelings and thoughts on the investigation they made.

Books suggested: How animals eat - Animal Camouflage in the Ocean - Where in the wild? - Counting in the Oceans - Counting in the tundra - Counting in the rain forest.


Day 8: Food Chain in Habitat
Objectives:
  • Incorporate the concept Habitat as a place where an animal or plant naturally lives or grows which provides food, shelter, moisture, light, air and protection the plants or animals need to survive.
  • Identify examples of food chains in an aquatic ecosystem and classify them.
  • Infer how organisms interact with each other in their habitat by assimilating the concept of food chain as a food relationship among plants and animals in a specific area or environment
Sequence:
Ask the students to give a definition of Food chain from all what they have been learning so far. Brainstorm their ideas and conclude by giving the following definition: food relationship among plants and animals in a specific area or environment. Make sure they get the idea that a food chain represent the a way in which animals and plant that live in a same place interact with each other. Ask the students some of the following question to introduce the concept habitat: What things do plants and animals need to live? ask and discuss what is an habitat and its elements and define habitat as a place where an animal or plant naturally lives or grows which provides food, shelter, moisture, light, air and protection the plants or animals need to survive. Make sure they understand and infer that a specific food chain will be created for every specific habitat.
Activity: Analyzing Food Chains in an Aquarium Habitat. Divide the students into groups and give each one an aquarium to analyze. The aquarium should have a sand ground, some aquatic plants such as elodeas or eel-grass, ans some fishes make sure you have some small ones and some bigger ones that can eat the smaller ones. Hand out the worksheet for this activity so students record their answers there. Help students to see and identify this aquarium as an habitat for the fishes and plants that live there. Give enough time for observations.
To finish, share the answers and revise the contents taught.

Day 9: Food Chain in Habitats Objectives:
  • Incorporate the concept Habitat as a place where an animal or plant naturally lives or grows which provides food, shelter, moisture, light, air and protection the plants or animals need to survive.
  • Identify examples of food chains in different ecosystem and classify them.
  • Infer how organisms interact with each other in their habitat by assimilating the concept of food chain as a food relationship among plants and animals in a specific area or environment.
  • Make a foldable that represent all of the above.
Sequence:
To continue with the contents taught the previous class go to the computer lab and make students play the following games in order to identify and build different food chains in different environments, incorporating the idea that in every specific place, there is a specific food chain. Talk about this after playing the games.
Activity: Foldable. Instruct students how to make the foldable. They should choose a specific environment and its food chain and represent it in the foldable. Teacher should offer materials and examples of food chains with books or internet sources. Each member of the food chain should be classified. To finish, ask students to explain the food chain they have made in a think per share to a classmate.

Day 10: Food chain awareness Objectives:
  • Assimilate that a change in a part of a food chain might affect the rest of the food chain. Identify consequences.
  • Review contents taught during the whole unit.
Sequence:
To review all the contents given through the unit and to make students aware of the importance of taking care of the environment make students watch this instructional video and make afterwards the quiz offered. Then, as a class discuss the importance of respecting each ecosystem trying not to break down or disturb the natural way it works and flows. Show students how animals and plants depend on each other. Talk and give examples of first, second and third level consumers. Then ask students if they would have to organize a food chain regarding producers and 1st, 2nd and 3rd consumers in a pyramid how they would do it, what they would put in the base and what at the top? Then, infer the importance of having more producers than consumers showing how we need more life forms in the lower levels than in the upper levels because without this delicate balance, the pyramid would collapse and fall. If you can, show this with an real pyramid build with legos or blocks. Give common examples of how a food chain can be disturb (extinction of an animal, taking a specie to another environment where it don't belong, pollution etc). Talk about possible consequences that may occur and possible ways to take care about the environment avoiding this.
Activity: divide the students into groups and ask them to represent in a bulletin board what the discussion, including reasons why we should take care of the environment, ideas on how we can look after and protect ecosystems, and consequences if we do not do it.
The following link can help instructing the contents of this lesson, it can be given to students.


FOLDABLE RESOURCES

These 3 different formats of foldables cover some information on contents taught during the unit and have been included in the instructional plans.

  • Food Chain in Habitats: In this PDF you will find 2 different formats, one for a food chain in an aquatic habitat and another for a terrestrial habitat.
  • Consumers: This foldable is on different types of consumers.


LITERATURE CONNECTIONS

These are some books suggested for this topic:

A Desert Scrapbook.
By Virginia Wright Frierson. Illus by the author. 2002. 40p. Aladdin (978-0689850554). Gr 3-5
This is a lovely book that tells the story of an artist who visits the Sonora Desert to explore it. During her trip she sketch, paint and write all what she sees in her notebook. So, you will find some wonderful drawings of landscapes and a diversity of animals interacting with each other. Her aim was to discover the precious ecosystem in this desert so she stayed enough time in order for the animals to get used to her presence, so that she can really watch and appreciate who life develops in the Sonora Desert.

Animal Camouflage in the Ocean.
By Martha E.H Rustad. 2009. 24p. Pebble Pluss (978-1429633253). Gr 1-4
This is a book of easy reading for all ages that explains in a simple way what is camouflage by showing different examples of animal camouflage in the ocean. For each example the book offers a brief explanation on how these adaptations help the specific animal and an image of the animal hiding in the ocean. Finally, a section of glossary and internet resources is offered.

A Rain Forest Food Chain.
By Rebecca Hougue Wojahn and Donald Wojahn. 2008. 64p. Lerner (978-0761341925). Gr 3-5.
This is a very interesting book with a lot of information for students on the topic of food chains. It talks specially about food chains and food webs in the rein forest in South America. At the beginning an introduction to the topic is exposed explaining what a food chain is and how it works. What is interesting is that this book has a code for each member of the food chain (producer, 1st, 2nd or 3rd consumer and decomposer). So, the book shows different in each page has a different animal with the assigned codification and an explanation on the animal's characteristics, what they eat, etc. As the aim of the book is to shows how a whole food web work, every page in every animal section has different possibilities to choose between whether if you want to connect this specific animal with other organisms and understand their relationship. Finally a section of glossary, further readings and web resources is offered.

Counting in the Tundra.
By Fredrick Jr. McKissack and Lisa Beringer McKissack. 2008. 32p. Enslow Elementary (978-0766029897). Gr 1-3
The book starts with a presentation of the tundra biomas and where they can be find. Through the rest of the book, children can count from one to ten as they read about the different animals and features of the ocean. This summary of each animal explains the main characteristics of it and their behavioral giving examples of different adaptations. It also gives information on their environment.

How Animals Eat.
By Pamela Hickman. Illus by Pat Stephens. 2007. 32p. Kids can read (978-1554530311). Gr 3
This book describe different behavioral adaptation on how animals eat. It shows how each animal is prepare to eat and capture their preys in a specific way which is an adaptation to their own nature and needs. What is interesting is that for many animals the book provides a brief information card that points out the animal's behavior and some physical characteristics of it according to the environment where the animal lives and the preys it has to capture. Finally, at the beginning there is a food chain that it has to be combine and at the end you can find the answers.

Living Sunlight, How plants bring the earth to life.
Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm. 2009. 40 p. The Blue Sky Press (978-0545044226). Gr 3-5
This book explains the importance of sunlight and plants on earth and for humans in a very simple and dynamic way. Specially explains the photosynthesis and the importance of this process to our planet. At the end there is a note section where the process of photosynthesis is explained in a deeper way, showing each step of the process.

Ocean Seasons.
By Ron Hirschi. Illus by Kirsten Carlson. 2007. 32p. Sylvan Dell Publishing (978-0977742325). Gr 2 1-3.
This book focuses in the relationship between animals and plants who live under water, in the oceans, through the different seasons of the years. It will show feeding relationships between animals and interactions between them and their environment. Some animals adaptations are explained by showing how animals migrate to other habitats in order to survive. At the end of the book, there is a great tool for teachers and students, some food web cards that specify the prey and predator of a specific specie. Also a brief summary on how seasons change and what happens in this ecosystem is explained. Finally an ocean food web is also offered.

Prowling the Seas.
By Pamela S. Turner. 2009. 40p. Walkers Children (978-0802797483). Gr 3-5.
This book is intended to talk and explain ocean wildlife regarding food chains, specifically presenting big predators of these habitats. Each chapter represents a different predator where a wide explanation and description on it and its environment is exposed. The whole book is thought to be an investigation as a scientist would do it, so, you will find photos and thoughts of scientists doing their job. Finally, a brief description of ocean predator populations is offered together with a resource section.

Rotten Logs and Forest Floors.
Sharon Katz Cooper. 2010. 30p. Raintree (978-1410935014). Gr 3-5.
This book is all about worms and decomposer's habitat. It has an easy reading and good pictures with some good facts notes in it. The way the contents are exposed is simple and dynamic for kids. Firstly, a definition of habitat is offered but, the whole book will explain how decomposers live on dead organisms and the importance of this for plants and for the environment. It will show different animals and explain main characteristics of them and how they interact with their habitat. Finally, the book invites the readers to make an activity and a section on glossary and resources is provided.

What's for Dinner?
By Katherine B. Hauth. Illus by David Clark. 2011. 48p. Charlesbridge (978-1570914720) Gr: 1-5.
This is a book that with poems explains how some animals eat and what they eat. Each poem will talk about a different animal. Finally a more narrative and brief description is given on each animal at the end of the book.

Where in the Wild?
By David M.Schwartz and Yael Schy. Illus by Dwight Kuhn. 2011. 44p. Trycyle Press (978-1582463995). Gr: 1-3.
The main topic of the book is camouflage. At the beginning there is an explanation about camouflage and how this adaptation is useful for animals. What is interesting about it is that kids will be challenge in finding the animal in the precise moment they are hiding by their camouflage. So, on the left side of the book there will be a poetic explanation on the animal and the situation and on the right side, they will be able to check if they have found the animal. They will have to unfold and lift the page in order to see the place where the animal is located. This is an interesting and fun way to teach this physical adaptation that will catch the student's attention.


WEB RESOURCES

These are some websites which can be useful when teaching this topic:

Decomposer's Information
This site, offers a lot of information on decomposers explaining the importance of their work for the rest of the environment. It also has an interview to a worm that is intended to change wrong
thoughts perceiving worms as a useless animal. Finally, there is a section where kids can explore different kind of worms.

Everything in Food Chains.
This is one of the best websites I've found on this topic. It has different sections that concisely explains concepts such us: producer, consumer, decomposer, omnivore, carnivore and herbivore. Additionally, the site offers a variety of games in each topic that are really instructional for kids where they will have to categorize organisms or make food chains. What I found interesting about this site is that has also big food chains that include lots of organisms and most importantly, that include decomposers.

Games in Food Chain
This section of this website offers a brief introduction to animal's diets describing the concept of omnivore, carnivore and herbivore, giving some examples of animals that belong to each category. Then, students can play a game building a food chain, choosing first between 2 different habitats. What I found interesting from this site is that they include in every food chain the sun as the first link of it and that after you build the food chain and submit you answer, if it is ok, they will offer a question on what would happen if one specific member of the food chain is taken out from it. The answer is really instructional and dynamic showing how this will affect all the other members. Finally, this website offers a section for teacher where one can get some ideas.

Habitats and Food Chains.
This site offers the possibility of making a food chain on 3 different habitats. What is special about this site is that while making the food chain, students will apply the concept of food web, understanding that one animal can eat and be eaten by various other organisms. So, students will have to figure out how to enter the different members in their assigned space, depending on how the arrows show the relationship between them. Finally, there is a hint where a small chart that explains from where each member gets energy from.

Instructional Video on Food Chains
This is a National Geographic video prepare to instruct students in what is a food chain and a food web, showing how living organisms interact and the importance of maintaining the natural way these organisms interact, explaining that breaking down this order will cause chaos. It also offers a quiz that may be used after watching the video that tests students in basic concepts such as the difference between consumers, producers, decomposers, omnivore, carnivore, herbivore, predator, prey and photosynthesis. Besides, some interesting facts appear between questions.


ASSESSMENT RESOURCES:


Here is a brief list of possible assessments that can be used during this unit:
  • Food Chains in Habitat: This assessment is part of an exploring activity where students are asked to observe and aquarium trying to identify its elements and members. Some questions for inferences are asked in order to assess students in identifying the functions of these elements and the relationship among them. Additionally, knowledge is expected to be applied in the last two questions being able to identify examples of other aquatic environments and animals and by ordering a food chain. Answer keys are provided.
  • Photosynthesis: this assessment is intended to test students understanding on the components needed for photosynthesis. This assessment also provides two questions for students to make inferences and one of them is a differentiation questions, depending on student's possibilities. Answer keys are included.
  • Predator - Prey: this assessment is a chart with predator and prey characteristics to be completed by students asking them to apply knowledge. Answer keys are included.
  • Review Quiz: and Crosswords: Both assessments are taken from the same website. The quiz is very complete covering all of the concepts and points of the unit. The crossword is better for testing vocabulary.
  • SOL Test: This is a sample of the SOL Virginia as an example test for this unit. Answer keys are provided. Personally, I would add some questions or exercises different from a multiple choice such a fill in the blanks, ordering a food chain, etc.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Annotated Bib - Standard and Non-Standard Measurement

Throughout history, man has used ingenuity to make measurements.  Even with the creation of standard units, non-standard units of measurement are still effective so long as they are used to measure all objects in a given set for comparison.

Books
Cook-a-Doodle Doo!.  Auth. by Janet Stevens & Susan Stevens Crummel. 48 pages. Sandpiper. 2005. (978-0152056582). Gr. K-2.
A boisterous romp as four animal friends set out to bake a strawberry shortcake. Rooster, tired of pecking for chicken feed, remembers that his famous great-grandmother (the Little Red Hen) wrote a cookbook, and in it he finds the recipe. Turtle, Iguana and Pig volunteer to help. If left solely to the text, the rest of the comedy-cum-cookery lesson would be fairly predictable: Turtle, reading the recipe, announces they need flour and Iguana rushes outside to pick a petunia; asked to beat an egg, Iguana hoists a baseball bat. (Handsomely illustrated sidebars explain most of the directions in depth.) Rooster sets Iguana straight while Pig keeps wanting to taste everything in sight.

How Big is a Foot?. Auth. by Rolf Myller. 48 pages. Yearling. 2001. (978-0440404958). Gr. K-2.
This story is an excellent source to use with children who are beginning to learn about measurement. It enables them to see that there is a need for a standard unit of measure in the world. It is an amusing tale that will start children thinking without them knowing it!

How Tall, How Short, How Far Away?. By David Adler. Illus. by Nancy Tobin. 28 pages. Holiday House. 2000. (978-0823416325). Gr. K-2.
This graphically dynamic volume introduces the concept of measurement. Adler explains how systems of measuring developed in ancient Egypt and Rome; how measurements became standardized; the origin of the metric system; and methods of measuring length, height, and distance. Bold color and creative design (especially the backgrounds of subtly designed rulers) give the pages visual zip. At the same time, the text's simplicity makes the ideas clear and easy to follow. A good basic book for children who are learning measurement using either the customary or metric system or (more likely) both.

Measuring Penny. Auth. by Loreen Leedy. 32 pages. Henry Holt and Company. 2000. (978-0805065725). Gr. K-4.
Lisa has a homework assignment to measure something in as many ways as she can, using standard and nonstandard units. "Use your imagination!" is the last instruction the teacher gives the students. Lisa chooses her Boston terrier and the fun begins. She measures Penny and a variety of other dogs. In the process, readers learn that Penny's nose is one inch long. Her tail is one biscuit long. She is bigger than a pug, smaller than a cocker spaniel, and weighs about the same as a Shetland Sheepdog. Lisa measures how much her pet eats, how high she jumps, how much time it takes to care for her, how much money is invested in her, how fast Penny runs, and a variety of other doggie traits.

Millions to Measure. Auth. by David Schwartz. Illus. by Steven Kellogg. 40 pages. HarperCollins. 2006. (978-0060848064). Gr. 1-5.
The book traces the development of standard units of measure for distance, weight, and volume, then describes the development of the metric system in the late 1700s. A three-page appendix offers more in-depth information about the metric system. Kellogg's trademark whimsical illustrations clarify the concepts presented. As in the previous books, Schwartz presents them in a logical, step-by-step progression, with plenty of examples to provide practical context. The text is clear and brief enough for classroom presentation.

Websites
Dinosaur Train - Non-Standard Measuring
How many great white sharks long is a Brachiosaurus?

How Tall?
With the help of Curious George, students can test their skills with non-standard measurements.

Puppy Clifford - Measuring
Students use visual estimations to identify the largest or smallest object in a set of objects.

Sal's Sub Shop
Fast paced race against time to satisfy your very "particular" customers.  Standard measurements for accuracy.  Get it right and make a profit, mistakes could cost you customers.  Good Luck!

Weigh it Up
This interactive game gives students the challenge of trying to balance objects on a scale (each shape with a different weight)

For the Teacher
Virginia SOL
1.9 The student will use nonstandard units to measure length, weight/mass, and volume.

Background Information From the Curriculum Framework

  • The process of measurement involves selecting a unit of measure, comparing the unit to the object to be measured, counting the number of times the unit is used to measure the object, and arriving at an approximate total number of units.
  • Premature use of instruments or formulas leaves children without the understanding necessary for solving measurement problems.
  • When children’s initial explorations of length, weight/mass, and volume involve the use of nonstandard units, they develop some understanding about the need for standard measurement units for length, weight/mass, and volume especially when they communicate about these measures.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Annotated Bib - The Solar System

The solar system is made up of all the planets that orbit our sun. We now know that our sun is the center of our solar system around eight planets, a handful of dwarf planets, 170 named moons, dust, gas, and thousands of asteroids and comets. Our solar system is made up of eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.


Books


13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System. By David A. Aguilar. 2011. National Geographic Children's Books, (9781426307706). Gr. 3-6.

This book is great for several reasons. For one, it provides great factual information about our solar system. Secondly, it gives students a background about how we discovered our solar system. Written in 2011 this book provides up to date information about our solar system. For example, it explains to students how as of today, there are considered to be eight classical planets and five dwarf planets.

Our Solar System. By Seymour Simon. 1992. 64p. Harper Collins, (9780688099923). Gr. 3-6.

Using real pictures, this book gives students a great look into our solar system. Furthermore, this book offers great information about the planets, moons, asteroids, meteoroids, comets and the sun. With fifty amazing photographs and an easy-to-read text, this book great for introducing students to the solar system.

Planets: A Solar System Stickerbook. By Ellen Hasbrouck. Ilus. by Scott McDougall. 2001. 32p. Little Simon, (9780689844140). Gr. 2-4.

Although this is titled as "stickerbook", this book still provides wonderful facts about the different characteristics of our solar system. What makes this book really fun for students though, is that in the back there are numerous stickers of planets, comets, asteroids, etc. that students can use to recreate our solar system for themselves. This book offers a great way for students to manipulate the different planets in order.

Postcards from Pluto: A Tour of the Solar System. By Loreen Leedy. Illus. by the author. 1996. 28p. Holiday House, (9780823412372). Gr. 2-4.

This fun book gives students a tour of the solar system led by robot tour guide Dr. Quasar. The students on the tour however, are able to send postcards back home to earth to tell about their trip around the solar system. Each postcard is detailed with wonderful facts about the solar system. This book would be a great way to start off a lesson.

What's Out There?: A Book About Space. By Lynn Wilson. Illus. by Paige Billin Frye. 1993. 32p. Grosset & Dunlap, (9780448405179). Gr. 1-4.

This book answers simple questions students might have about our solar system. With colorful illustrations, this book highlights different aspects of our solar system in a fun way. This book is written in very simple text. However, this book would then be a great tool to use when differentiating instruction for weaker students.


Websites


Kid's Astronomy
This interactive site shows kids an accurate view of our solar system. Students are then able to click each of the planets to learn more information about that specific planet. Each subpage gives students background information about the names of the planets, the weight of each planet, the moons of each planet, as well as specific information unique to each planet.

Make A Solar System
This interactive sites allows students to make their own solar system using the planets, asteroids, and comets. Students are able to add each planet to the solar system one at a time. This site is a great way for students to see how the solar system works.

Planet Song
This page on National Geographic Kids has a great song about the planets written by a student! The song was then recorded and sung by recording artist Lisa Loeb! This fun song is a great way for students to learn the different planets.

Solar System
This page shows students real images of the planets, as well as the sun. Students are then able to click on each image to learn more about the planet or sun. This site is fun in that it gives students unique facts about each planet, rather than just the basic facts.

Space School Musical
This site provides nine different videos of a space school "hip-hopera" musical. The videos introduce students to the solar system through song and dance. The musical specifically follows a teenager named Hannah on a trip through the solar system. The great thing about this site, is that the musical is broken up into nine different videos so that students and teachers can chose which ones to watch.

For Teachers

SOL 4.7 The student will investigate and understand the organization of the solar system. Key concepts include
a) the planets in the solar system;
b) the order of the planets in the solar system; and
c) the relative sizes of the planets.


Background Information:
  • Our solar system is ancient. Early astronomers believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and all other heavenly bodies orbited around Earth. We now know that our sun is the center of our solar system and eight planets, a handful of dwarf planets, 170 named moons, dusts, gas, and thousands of asteroids and comets orbit around the sun.
  • Our solar system is made up of eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
  • The eight planets sorted by size from largest to smallest are: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Earth, Venus, Mars, and Mercury.
  • Pluto is no longer included in the list of planets in our solar system due to its small size and irregular orbit. Many astronomers questioned whether Pluto should be grouped with worlds like Earth and Jupiter. In 2006, this debate led the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the recognized authority in naming heavenly objects, to formally reclassify Pluto. On August 24, 2006, Pluto's status was officially changed from planet to dwarf planet.
  • A new distinct class of objects called "dwarf planets" was identified in 2006. It was agreed that "planets" and "dwarf planets" are two distinct classes of objects. The first members of the dwarf planet category are Ceres, Pluto and 2003 UB313, given the name Eris. More dwarf planets are expected to be announced by the IAU in the future.

Annotated Bib - Animal Adaptations


Adaptation is defined as a body part or behavior that helps an animal meet its needs in its environment.Regarding physical adaptations we find mimicry or camouflage, this helps animals adapt to their own environment. On the other side, behavioral adaptations help animals to respond to life needs. Among this kind of adaptation we find hibernation, migration, instinct and also, learned behavior.

Books:

Animal Camouflage in
the Ocean:
By Martha E.H Rustad. 2009. 24p. Pebble Plus, (978-1429633253). Gr 1-5.
This is a book of easy reading for all ages that explains in a simple way what is camouflage by showing different examples of animal camouflage in the ocean. For each example the book offers a brief explanation on how this adaptations helps the specific animal and a image of the animal hiding.

How Animals Eat:
By Pamela Hickman. Illus by Pat Stephens. 2001. 32p. Kids can Press (978-1554530311). Gr 1-5.
This book describe different behavioral adaptation on how animals eat. It shows how each animal is prepare to eat and capture their preys in a specific way which is an adaptation to their own nature and needs. What is interesting is that for many animals the book provides a brief information card that points out the animal behavior and some physical characteristics of it according to the environment where the animal lives and the preys it has to capture. Finally, at the beginning there is a food chain that it has to be combine and at the end you can find the answers.

Counting in the Oceans:
Fredrichk L. McKissack and Lisa Berginger McKissack. 2009. 32p. Enslow Elementary (978-0766029941). Gr 1-5.
The book starts with a presentation of the ocean biomas and where they can be find. Through the rest of the book, children can count from one to ten as they read about the different animals and features of the ocean. This summary of each animal explains the main characteristics of it and their behavioral giving examples of different adaptations. It also gives information on their environment.





Counting in the Rain Forest:
Fredrichk L. McKissack and Lisa Berginger McKissack. 2008. 32p. Enslow Elementary (978-0766029927). Gr 1-5.
Similar to the previous book, this book starts with a presentation of the rain forest biomas, its characteristics and where they can be find. Through the rest of the book, children can count from one to ten as they read about the different animals, plants and features of the tropical rain forest. The summary of each animal explains the main characteristics of each it, their behavioral and gives some examples of different adaptations. It also gives information on their environment.

Where in the Wild?
David M. Schwartz and Yael Schy. Illus by Dwinfht Kuhn. 2011. 44p. Trycycle Press (978-1582463995). Gr 1-3.
The main topic of the book is camouflage. At the beginning there is an explanation about camouflage and how this adaptation is useful for animals. What is interesting about it is that kids will be challenge in finding the animal in the precise moment they are hiding by their camouflage. So, on the left side of the book there will be a poetic explanation on the animal and the situation and on the right side, they will be able to check if they have found the animal. They will have to unfold and lift the page in order to see the place where the animal is located. This is an interesting and fun way to teach this physical adaptation that will catch the student's attention.


Web Sites:

Camouflage Game:
In this website, the students will be playing a game where they are asked to choose an animal and then, dress that animal in a camouflage way by also creating its environment. Finally, they will have to submit their representations and check out if they were ok. In case they were not, a note will appear encouraging the student to try again and explaining why it wasn't giving a clue for the correction.

Discovering Galapagos:
The website offers a whole activity where first there is a presentation of Darwin and his trip to Galapagos. Then the action begins and there are 3 different levels, each level has 2 steps, an activity and an investigation section where they show how useful are some adaptations for different animals in the galapagos. Finally, they offer a task to do a presentation after the students has finished the whole step, in order to put everything together. For this, the site offers some good tips and advice on how preparing a presentation. For example, on level 1 the students will be asked to investigate the island looking for clues to find a mysterious animal offering a vocabulary section. Besides, the children will have to keep a discovery journal and when they find each clue some questions are asked as a guide to complete the journal. On level two, the children will have to choose a type or tortoise and then match the different tortoises to their specific environment where they live in the islands depending on how they adapt to each living conditions. Finally, level 3 the students receive a letter and a box with some clues on it about a tortoise shell. They are asked 3 questions and to prove if it is authentic and if they do so, the owners of this treasure will donate the sample of this tortoise shell.

EcoKids:
This website is specifically for kids. Here you will find whole section of games where an adaptation game is offered. Also, a quiz and an activity that propose the student to write about life in the arctic is related to the adaptation game.. Under the homework help section you will find for example a whole description of the Blanchard Cricket Frog where they expose all the information on this animal such us characteristics, environment, behavioral and physical adaptations (hibernates), and where they can be find. Finally, the site provides a Biodiversity Slide Show where different animals are shown with a description on it of physical and behavioral characteristics.

Hibernation:
This site is all about hibernation and the processes of sleeping in animals. It is more instructional and in a reading way rather than in a practical way such us a game. But it has good information, examples of animals in each section and good definitions. What is practical that along the readings there are some vocabulary words highlighted that you can click on them and go to the glossary section where a definition of the term will be offered.

Teaching Adaptation Game:
This is an instructional game where a classroom is presented. First, the student will choose which animal he wants to learn about. Then, the teacher will present the animal and its behavioral or physical adaptation. Finally, the student will have to identify the clue given in the teacher's explanation in order to decide which need is been fulfilled by this specific characteristic of the animal.

For Teachers:
3.4 The student will investigate and understand that adaptations allow animals to satisfy life needs and respond to the environment. Key concepts include:
  • behavioral adaptations
  • physical adaptations.
Understanding the Knowledge:
  • In order to survive, animals act in different ways to gather and store food, find shelter, defend themselves, and rear their young.
  • Physical adaptations help animals survive in their environment (e.g., camouflage, mimicry).
  • Various animals possess adaptations which help them blend into their environments to protect themselves from enemies (camouflage). Camouflage is the means by which animals escape the notice of predators, usually because of a resemblance to their surroundings using coloration or outer coverage patterns.
  • Mimicry occurs when a species has features similar to another species. Either one or both are protected when a third species cannot tell them apart. (Mimicry happens in both animal and plant species.) Some animals look like other animals to avoid being eaten (mimicry). This adaptation helps protect them from their predators. (For example, the viceroy butterfly tastes good to birds, but the monarch butterfly tastes bad. Because the viceroy looks like the monarch butterfly, it is safer from predators.) Mimicry can also occur as mimicked behaviors, mimicked sounds, or mimicked scents.
  • Behavioral adaptations allow animals to respond to life needs. Examples include hibernation, migration, dormancy, instinct, and learned behavior.
  • Some animals (e.g., groundhogs, black bears) go into a deep sleep in which their body activities slow down due to seasonal changes and they can live off stored food (hibernation). Hibernation is a condition of biological rest or inactivity where growth, development, and metabolic processes slow down.
  • Some animals (e.g., geese, monarch butterflies, tundra swans) go on a long-distance journey from one place to another (migration) in search of a new temporary habitat because of climate, availability of food, season of the year, or reproduction
  • Dormancy is a state of reduced metabolic activity adopted by many organisms (both plants and animals) under conditions of environmental stress or, when such stressful conditions are likely to appear, as in winter.
  • Some animals are born with natural behaviors that they need in order to survive in their environments (instincts). These behaviors are not learned but are instinctive, such as a beaver building a dam or a spider spinning a web.
  • Some behaviors need to be taught in order for the animal to survive, such as a bear cub learning to hunt (learned behavior).

    Annotated Bib - Weather

    When teaching about weather, it's important to focus on both the cause and effect. The books and websites below are great resources for learning about what makes weather phenomena happen and how it affects our world as well as how we use history, patterns, and technology to forecast weather. The age-appropriate content, interactive games and simulations, and hands-on experiments contained in these resources are perfect for a second grader learning about weather phenomena.

    Books on Weather Phenomena and Forecasting

    100 Things You Should Know About Weather. By Clare Oliver. Illus. by Mark Davis. 2002. 48 p. Mason Crest Publishers. (978-1842363584). Gr. 2-5.
    The title says it all for this book-- it's chock full of fun facts about weather. However, the facts are organized into categories, making it a comprehensive resource for weather knowledge. Each topic is covered in a two page spread which means the book covers a wide variety of weather concepts. I like the book because it dives into fascinating weather topics that students wouldn't normally learn too much about such as deep freezes, rainbows, and even weather myths from groups such as the Vikings and the Mayans. The book is a fun addition to a lesson about weather and contains a ton of amazing facts that are bound to amaze kids and adults alike.


    The Big Storm. By Bruce Hiscock. Illus. by the author. 1993. 46 p. Atheneum. (978-1590786000). Gr. 1-4.
    A comprehensive look at how a storm develops and moves, this book is an amazing resource for teaching about weather. It follows a large springtime storm in 1982 as it moves from rain in the Pacific Northwest to a blizzard in the Sierras to tornados and hail in the Texas plains and finally becomes a blizzard in New York City. As the storm rolls on, the book explains what's causing it to evolve and how meteorologists can forecast what will happen next. It's a great book for helping students understand how weather events are related and why they occur.



    I Face the Wind. By Vicki Cobb. Illus. by Julia Gorton. 2003. 40 p. Harper Childrens. (978-0688178406). Gr. Pre-K to 2.
    This is a wonderful introduction to what wind is and how it works. It even debunks the popular idea that air weighs nothing. Readers simply need a few materials (a plastic bag, a hanger, balloons, etc.) in order to conduct the series of basic experiments within the book. Between experiments, readers are offered explanations of how wind does what it does and how we experience it. The simplicity of the language combined with the great illustrations and easy-to-do science experiments make this book a wonderful resource for teachers and parents alike.



    The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting. By Mark Breen and Kathleen Friestad. Illus. by Michael Kline. 2008. 144 p. Williamson Publishing. (978-0824968236). Gr. 2-5.
    This book was penned by two meteorologists and is filled with simple weather forecasting experiments for kids. It opens with directions on keeping a weather log and does a great job of provoking kids to make observations and predictions about the weather based on a series of questions. The rest of the book contains a ton of weather forecasting experiments, fun facts about weather, and Q&A with the meteorologists who wrote the book. It's a really fun way to get students to think differently about weather predicting and experiment to better understand it.


    Rain, Hail, and Snow. By Trudy Strain Trueit. 2002. 64 p. Franklin Watts. (978-0531162187). Gr. 2-4.
    This book is a great alternative to a textbook when teaching about precipitation. The language is simple but it's full of important vocabulary words and even contains a useful glossary at the end. The photography is also spectacular, from super magnified snowflakes to a forest destroyed by acid rain. I prefer this book to a textbook because it details all states of precipitation, notably in their extreme forms. The language, photographs, and fun facts help make this book a great introduction to this topic for young students.



    Useful Websites

    Discovery Online: Storm Chasers
    This enthralling game puts players behind the wheel of a storm chaser vehicle as it trails a destructive tornado. It's a fun look into the life of a storm chaser and a great way for kids to see how unpredictable the path of a tornado can be.

    Ready.Gov: Kids
    This site was created by the government to inform and prepare families for emergencies caused by extreme weather events. It's a great resource in classrooms where there is a threat of weather phenomena such as tornadoes and floods. It does a wonderful job of explaining weather events and talking about why and how we have to be prepared for them. Complete with games, checklists, and even teacher and parent materials, it's a great resource for mentally and physically preparing children for extreme weather events.

    Scholastic Interactive Weather Maker
    This interactive simulation gives kids a chance to play around with weather conditions to create various weather phenomena. As kids adjust the temperature and humidity, they watch the weather change around a little red house. The best part is that in addition to the weather animation, kids are also provided with a little explanation as to why the weather changed when the adjustments were made. It's an interesting way to help kids understand what is involved in changing weather.

    Weather Channel Kids: Weather Ed
    The teacher's resources section of the Weather Channel Kids website offers a variety of teaching resources such as lesson plans, interactive games for the classroom, and a weather encyclopedia. The games are especially great, with advanced graphics and thought-provoking challenges.

    Weather Wiz Kids
    A site created by meteorologist Crystal Wicker, Weather Wiz Kids is a comprehensive source for information on all types of weather phenomena. In addition to pages on types of weather that contain imagery and simple language, the site has weather experiments, jokes, folklore, and a Q&A section. The site also contains plenty of materials for teachers like flashcards and games. It's a great resource for students and teachers alike.

    For Teachers

    Virginia Standards of Learning 2.6 
    The student will investigate and understand basic types, changes, and patterns of weather. Key concepts include
    a) identification of common storms and other weather phenomena;
    b) the uses and importance of measuring, recording, and interpreting weather data
    • Earth’s weather changes continuously from day to day.
    • Changes in the weather are characterized by daily differences in wind, temperature, and precipitation.
    • Precipitation occurs when water, previously evaporated, condenses out of the air and changes its phase from a gas to a liquid (rain) or to a solid (snow or sleet).
    • Extremes in the weather, such as too little or too much precipitation, can result in droughts or floods.
    • Storms have powerful winds, which may be accompanied by rain, snow, or other kinds of precipitation.
    • Weather data are collected and recorded using instruments. This information is very useful for predicting weather and determining weather patterns.
    • Scientists collect weather data over time to study trends and patterns. These trends and patterns help them to make future weather predictions.

    Annotated Bib - Living or Nonliving

    Perhaps one of the simplest ways to classify things is to ask yourself, is it living or nonliving? What does it mean to be alive? Living things grow, reproduce, and have basic needs. Nonliving things don't really need anything, can't reproduce and they don't grow.

    Books:

    Animals Grow and Change (Introducing Living Things)
    . By Bobbie Kalman. 2007. 24p. Crabtree Publishing Company, (9870778732274). Gr PreK-1.

    This book takes us through the life cycle of many different types of animals. We learn that animals can be born or hatched, that some go through metamorphosis while others begin as small versions of the adult. The growing and changing that these animals do is part of why you know they are living things.

    Is it Living or Nonliving. By Rebecca Rissman. 2009. 24p. Heineman-Raintree, (9781432922726). Gr K-2.

    By learning to ask questions, children begin to explore the classification of living and nonliving things. This simple book will introduce students to the characteristics something needs to be classified as a living organism. If those criteria are not met, one can then assume that the object is nonliving.

    Living Things N
    eed Water. By Bobbie Kalman. 2007. 24p. Crabtree Publishing Company, (9870778732563). Gr. K-2.

    This book goes over water and it's role in the lives of living things. Plants need water, animals need water, most drink it, some live in it. From streams to the oceans, water and living things come hand in hand.

    Plants are Living Things. By Bobbie Kalman. 2007. 24p. Crabtree Publishing Company, (9870778732570).

    Many children will have an easy time accepting that animals are alive. This book shows how plants are living things as well. We go over the characteristics of living things, then show how a plant is able to meet the criteria. Like animals plants grow, need nutrition, and there are many different kinds.

    What's Alive? By Kathleen Zoehfeld. Illus. by Nadine Westcott. 1995. 32p. Collins, (9870064451321). Gr PreK-1.

    This book makes for a great read aloud to children. It gets them involved by suggesting they make drawings to sort and asking questions to compare themselves, a known living organism, to other "unknowns" to decide if that unknown is living or nonliving.

    Websites:


    How Plants Grow
    . This activity shows how plants, as living things, have certain needs that need to be met to be able to live and grow. After children are able to successfully grow their plant, they then experiment with the plants needs to see what happens with too much or too little of a certain thing, water, heat, light, etc.

    Plants and Animals-Living Things. Here is a game where children can put their new knowledge to the test. Their job is to take pictures of the living things on the playground. Can they find all eight?


    For Teachers:

    Virginia Standards of Learning
    SOL K.6 The student will investigate and understand the differences between living organisms and nonliving objects. Key concepts include
    a. all things can be classified as living or nonliving and
    b. living organisms have certain characteristics that distinguish them from nonliving objects including growth, movement, response to the environment, having offspring, and the need for food, air, and water.

    Background Knowledge

    • Living is used to describe anything that is or has ever been alive (e.g., dog, flower, seed, log).
    • Nonliving is used to describe anything that is not now nor has ever been alive (e.g., rock, mountain, glass, wristwatch).
    • All living things grow, breathe, reproduce, excrete, respond to stimuli, and have similar basic needs like nourishment.

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Annotated Bib - Natural Resources (Air and Water)

    Two of the most important things on our planet are water and air. Plants and animals need water and air to survive, specifically clean water and air. To be better stewards of our planet, children need to learn that natural resources are a limited thing, and that we need to do and not do certain things to preserve them for the future. How we take care of our planet today, affects how we can use it tomorrow.

    Books:

    Common Ground: The Water, Earth, and Air We Share. By Molly Bang. Illus. by the author. 1997. 32p. Blue Sky Press, (9780590100564). Gr 3-5.

    This beautiful picture book brings real questions to students in a way that is neither above their heads or condescending. Beginning with a simple story, and ending with the idea that after this, we have nowhere else to go, Bang has children begin to thing about the world around them. How can we protect the air, water, and land around us? Why is important to do so? This book is sure to get younger children thinking about a subject that is very close to home.

    The Lorax. By Dr. Seuss. Illus. by author. 1971. 72p. Random House, (9780394923376). Gr K-3.

    In his politically driven book, The Lorax, children are introduced to a world much like our own. One where plants and animals are losing their homes and resources because of the pollution brought about by mankind. The air and water in this seussian land are ruined causing a mass exodus of the native inhabitants. This book speaks to young children, and broaches a topic that in some cases may be too hard for little minds to understand. It also puts the future in the hands of the newest generation with it's powerful statement "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

    Oil Spill. By Melvin Berger. Illus. by Paul Mirocha. 1994. 32p. Collins, (9780064451215). Gr K-2.

    Here is a book that no only teaches students, but tries to get them involved. Great for a read aloud and introduction to experimentation, Oil Spill, begins in 1989 with the Exxon Valdez oil spill and teaches students the causes and effects of the oil on the ocean. This book encourages children to get involved by writing to their senators and telling them that even the smallest of people can have the largest impact.

    Tracking Trash Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion. By Loree Griffin Burns. 2007. 54p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, (9870618581313). Gr 2-5.

    While a more daunting read, this book is filled with all sorts of information about the ocean that children will love learning throughout the elementary grades. Younger students will have to be guided through as the information is plentiful and the vocabulary more advanced, but the lessons learned about ocean currents and pollution are worth the work. Children will learn the impact that we have on the ocean and ways to help reduce the burden we place on our environment.

    Using Air. By Sharon Katz Cooper. 2007. 24p. Heinemann Library, (9781403493156). Gr. K-2

    This book gives an easy to understand overview of air. We learn why it is important and how we know it is around us, even when we can't see it. It also introduces air pollution, what causes it and what we can do about it. The photographs do a good job of adding to the text and the glossary in the back is useful to students who are just starting.

    Web Sites:

    Clean Air for Kids. Here is a game that introduces young children to the air quality index. What is a green day? How about an orange day? Buster the Butterfly will help kids decide what the air quality index is at their house and if they feel that it is safe for them to play outside.

    EEK! Hole in the Ozone. A site describing the how and why of the hole in the ozone layer. We learn what caused it, when it began, and how we can fix it.

    Thirstin's Match Fun Facts Game. This is a fact matching game for kids. It would be useful to help assess a students knowledge of the topic of water conservation.

    Water Busters! Here is a game that helps children see where they could be wasting water at home and how to prevent it. Not only can they conserve water by doing these simple things, they can help their parents conserve a little money on the water bill!

    For Teachers:

    Virginia Standards of Learning
    SOL1.8b The students will investigate and understand that natural resources are limited. Key Concepts include factors that affect air and water quality.

    Background information

    • Natural resources provide us with the things we need in order to live, including food, clothing, water, air, shelter, land, and energy.
    • What we put into the air, especially the products of the fuels we burn, affects the quality of the air. Waste produced by animals, including humans, and factories can affect the quality of water. Some pollution washes from yards, streets, and farms.
    • Many natural resources are limited and cannot be renewed. Other resources are limited and cannot be renewed, but they may last a very long time.
    • Recycling recovers used materials. Many materials can be recycled and used again, sometimes in different forms. Recycling helps to save our natural resources. An example of a recycled material is newspapers that are turned into writing tablets.
    • Reusing materials means using them more than once. Examples include using dishes and utensils that are washed after use rather than using paper plates and plastic utensils and putting them in the trash.
    • Resources will last longer if we recycle them, reuse them, or reduce consumption of them.
    • The creation of parks can help preserve land. Parks have many uses, including recreation.