Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Adapt! This week, my class is learning about plant and animal adaptations.  We've worked through a few whole class lessons, and felt confident enough to let them do some small group work.  This unit from The Science Penguin is perfect!  You know how you sometimes just get the feeling that your lesson is amazing?  Well, I got that feeling when I was introducing the stations we used from this unit.  The kids were buzzing, I could barely finish getting directions out.  They just wanted to work!  Super cool.  We just completed one day so far - I predict this will take us another 3 days to finish....
This package has 9 lessons in it.  We only used 4.  We did one whole class, and 3 as stations work.  I put them in groups to start, but they are to work independently, and move as they finish up.  They thought it was pretty cool that they could "ditch" their group.  (Their words, not mine!)  I was pretty specific about criteria and I'm hoping these are well done.  Here's a rundown of what we did:

Match it Station
We did this whole class.  In this station, she gives you 4 habitat types and 4 feet.  You need to match the feet to the habitat and justify.  My kids were really good about giving justifications.

Read it Station
This station gives 5 fact cards for plants/animals.  Students need to read the cards and then provide two structural adaptations from each on a graphic organizer.  I did have to help some of my lower readers with the language.  This wasn't a big deal - words like "setae" really aren't common grade 4 vocab!
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Tech it Station
This kids were excited to listen to the videos with their headphones.  They love anything listening centre related.  In this station you need to watch a plant adaptations video, then write and draw about it.  You repeat with an animal adaptations video.  She provided a link to some really great videos.  Unfortunately, my rural school has terrible internet and they weren't loading.  So I had to pick some other videos for them to watch.   We'll try again with the proper videos tomorrow.
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Create it Station
I think this is the station that really sold it for them.  In this station, you are given an animal information card and a habitat information card.  You need to give that animal (who doesn't belong in that habitat, by the way) some structural adaptations so that it could live there.  They then have to label their drawing and justify.  Fun stuff!  I'll try to remember to take some pictures of these once finished to post.  I think they are going to be great!
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As I said, we are only on day 1.  This will take us a while.   But the energy was high today!!  Such a steal at $6!  I am going to have a few other stations ready for early finishers... I just haven't decided which yet.  

*I wasn't asked to give this review - I just really liked this unit and wanted to share my experience with it!

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