Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ecosystems and Actual Size

I've been blogging a lot about what I've been doing with the younger students, so I thought it might be time to show some of the activities I've been doing with my older kiddos.  While centers work really well for the K-2 set, my 3-5th graders have their share of activities as well!

My fourth graders were studying ecosystems, and the teachers asked if I could highlight that in one of my lessons.  I found this FABULOUS series of books we have here in the library (I keep finding these hidden gems I had no clue were here when I was a classroom teacher!)...."What If There Were No..." by Suzanne Slade.  They're more about food chains and webs, but that's where our state standards focus, so it was perfect!

Here are the four we have here in our library that I based my lesson from:
 What If There Were No Bees?: A Book about the Grassland EcosystemWhat If There Were No Sea Otters?: A Book about the Ocean EcosystemWhat If There Were No Lemmings?: A Book about the Tundra EcosystemWhat If There Were No Gray Wolves?: A Book about the Temperate Forest Ecosystem

I loved the fact that it actually showed you what it would be like if one of the "key" animals disappeared.  For example, in the sea otter book, it kept showing how the sea urchins were increasing and what the ocean looks like in places where sea otters actually don't live anymore!

So, it inspired me to make a fun activity for the kids.  I created cards, based off the animals from the webs in the books, and using dry erase markers, they created food webs on the library tables for a follow-up activity.  You can imagine their shock and joy to be able to write on a table! (wiped off with Clorox wipes afterwards!).  It was a definite hit!

Another book I did with grades 2-5 was "Actual Size" by Steve Jenkins.
Actual Size 
I just love his books!  After reading it, my second graders used linking cubes that were an inch long to measure out the animals mentioned in the book (as well as a few extras).  The older kiddos used rulers, yardsticks, and measuring tape to go outside and draw using sidewalk chalk, their best representations of the animals.  It was a pretty cool activity!

If you'd like to look at these activities further, click on the pictures below.



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