Monday, November 18, 2013

Teaching Science with Kidlit: NGSS Performance Expectation 1-LS1-1

This is a very meaty PE, especially if we want to do justice to the clarification statement. I’m going to focus on uses for external parts for the next few weeks. Then I’ll bring all my suggestions together with ideas that are directly relevant to the engineering part of the PE.

1-LS1-1. Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs. [Clarification Statement: Examples of human problems that can be solved by mimicking plant or animal solutions could include designing clothing or equipment to protect bicyclists by mimicking turtle shells, acorn shells, and animal scales; stabilizing structures by mimicking animal tails and roots on plants; keeping out intruders by mimicking thorns on branches and animal quills; and, detecting intruders by mimicking eyes and ears.]

For starters, I’m going to share some ideas that can help kids understand how an animal’s body parts help it live and grow. The obvious book choice here is What Do You Do with a Tail like This? by Steve Jenkins.

Here are some other book ideas:
Snail’s Spell by Joanne Ryder
No One But You by Douglas Wood 
My Five Senses by Aliki
Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin
Dig, Wait, Listen by April Pulley Sayre

Mining the Book
Introduce What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by showing the front cover and asking students what animal they think the tail belongs to. After they make a few guesses, flip the book over to show the back cover. Now that they can identify the animal, ask them how they think the lizard might use its tail. Can they think of any ways the tail might help a lizard find food or stay safe? Record the class’s guesses on chart paper.

As you read the book, stop after each of the pages with a question about an animal body part. Encourage students to guess which animal each part belongs to. Then turn the page and read how the animals use that external body part. (In some cases, the main text doesn’t provide all the information first graders will need to understand the concept, but you can turn to the longer descriptions in the backmatter for clarification.)

To keep track of how animals use their external body parts, work with your students to create a series of data tables like the ones shown below. (In a few cases, the book lacks critical information. When you see an asterisk (*), ask students if they have ideas about how to complete the data table based on their prior knowledge. You may need to fill in details for them.)

To dig in the mud (for food)
To find food
To take a bath
To avoid getting lost (and find food )
To breathe (by lifting just its nose above the water’s surface)

To keep cool
To get a picture of the world (by listening to sounds echoing off nearby objects)
To hear
To hear (one another so they can find mates)
Humpback whale
To hear (other whales trying to communicate)

To brush away flies
To warn enemies that they are about to get sprayed
To escape from enemies
To sting (animals it wants to eat)
To hang from tree branches (so it can reach food)

To spot animals (that it can catch and eat)
To look two ways at once (so it can spot food and enemies)
Four-eyed fish
To look above and below water (so it can spot food and enemies)
Horned lizard
To squirt blood (at enemies)
Bush baby
To see (so they can find food)

To eat food
Blue-footed bobby
To dance (to attract a mate)
Water strider
To walk on water (in search of food)
To walk on ceilings to find food and escape from enemies
Mountain goat
To leap (out of the way of falling rocks or snow)

To catch food
To suck blood (so it can produce healthy eggs)
Egg-eating snake
To eat food
To catch food with its tongue
To catch food

When the data tables are complete, divide the class into six groups and assign each group one of the animal body parts discussed in What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?. Encourage each group to consider whether the animals in the book depend on the external body part to live and grow or if it just makes their lives easier or better. When each group comes to a consensus, one member should write either an L (live and grow) or an E (makes life easier) next to each entry in the data table for their assigned body part.

Review Activity
Create a worksheet with the following sentence frames:

A _________________ (animal 1) uses its tail to ________________
(job 1). But a _________________ (animal 2) uses its tail to
________________ (job 2). A _________________ (animal 1) uses
its _________________ (body part 1) to find food. But a

_________________ (animal 2) uses its _________________
(body part 2) to find food.

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