Friday, September 28, 2007

Animals and Science

Today we started a new unit from the Behold and See 3 science text. I use it as a very rough outline. We started by identifying all the places we've seen or might see animals. I made a stack of notecards with vocab words such as reptile, amphibian, mammal, herbivore, carnivore, migration, hibernation and many more. Then in turn Grace, Lee and Lou grabbed a card, read the word and told everything they knew about it already. I made mental notes as to which areas we need to focus and what is already part of their knowledge base. I read:

And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." (Genesis 1:24)

We named all the animals we could think of and what their baby is called. Bear cubs, swan cygnets, turkey polts, fawn, kitten, etc. I read from two baby animal books we have. Lou really enjoyed this part; Grace and Lee colored, chiming in when I would leave out a word so they could fill in the blank. This ensures they still listen even when their fingers are busy doing something else.

Classification came next. We talked about characteristics one could use to classify animals. Then we practiced research skills. Each of them had a sheet of paper with a line down the middle. One side titled "Animal", the other titled "Food". Grace did 10, Lee 8 and Lou 6. They each thought of animals and wrote them down in the left column. I made a few suggestions so they would have both vertebrates and invertebrates and omnivores, herbivores and carnivores. They were not aware of my sneakiness. Then armed with a pile of library books and our own two animal encyclopedias they went to town searching for each animal and making a list in the right column of what that animal eats. Lou stayed on task with me helping me figure out the first letter of each animal so we could look them up in the index. Lee plugged along reading about every animal, but what was on his list because every new animal in the Echinoderm book was sooooooo cool. Grace was done lickety split; she surprised me with her ability to alphabetize and use the index. Once I showed her how to skim a paragraph looking for key words she was set.
Here they are with books open all around them. Such hard workers. The animal babies book and notecards are peeking out in the bottom left corner.

Next week we'll divide the animals into three groups herbi, carni, omnivore. We'll also get study invertebrates and vertebrates.