Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nature Works Virtual Field Trip

Live on youtube Friday, December 4th at 12:00 pm (Eastern Time, 40 minutes), your class can explore China's Great Forests! Students (grades 3-8) investigate what the giant panda and earth's climate have in common as they learn about the carbon cycle and compare/contrast reforestation and deforestation. 

RSVP here to participate for FREE!: 

If you cannot "attend" the event live, you can sign up for the virtual field and will be notified as soon as the video is available. Then you can show your students when ever convenient for your lesson plans and school schedules! 

This field trip fits in with a unit on adaptations, ecosystems, natural resources and geography. Students view live footage of 2 provinces in China—Sichuan and Yunnan, traveling up "towering mountains, majestic forests and other iconic landscapes."

While examining the geography of these provinces, students learn about the other animal species that share the same ecosystem as the giant panda: golden snub-nosed monkeys, and the elusive and odd-looking takin. They find out that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

They also get to see how scientists work with local communities to protect nature and create new wilderness. 

They discover the benefits of reforestation and how it can decrease carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, minimizing climate change and improving air quality. You can challenge your class to evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity in an ecosystem!

Students also explore the pros and cons of deforestation after they investigate reforestation. Example below:
Conservationists: Forests are home to many species of plants and animals.
Logger: My job is to cut down trees and without this job I cannot provide for my family. 
Pharmacist: Many medicines come from our forests and many are yet to be discovered.
Farmer: I clear away land by burning a few acres of trees to grow crops for my family to eat.
Environmentalist: Forests help moderate climate change by taking in carbon dioxide during the day.  Too much carbon dioxide leads to an increase in greenhouse gases, which causes changes in our climate.
Restaurant owner: I need paper and meat products to meet my customers’ demands.

  • Reforestation video that is a great pre-event lesson to share with students (featured above): 

  • Reforestation lesson plan that relates to the video + the Dec. 4th live event:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wildlife Trade: Affecting Animals and Their Ecosystems

International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) Animal Action Education is providing teachers with hands-on, inquiry based lessons on animals, their adaptations and good citizenship for grades K-8. Students learn about how commercial wildlife trade is one of the biggest threats to wildlife. Animal preservation lesson plans, printables and teaching resources, available at We Are Teachers:

Use of Animals in Trade:
Traditional Medicine and Religion

Video (3rd-5th) featured above:

Students investigate: “Why do people trade in wildlife?” and “How do our choices as consumers affect animals?” They discuss why people would want wildlife products? These products do not benefit the animal. How would they benefit humans? They also explore how wild animals are sold as pets and taken from their natural habitat. Students are provided with a free magazine. Student magazine

Students learn that not only is wildlife trade affecting certain animal species, it can affect an entire ecosystem! Grades 3-5 Lesson plans

Some of the Inquiry Lessons featured in the pack:

Dog Sniffing Scavenger Hunt: Dogs are used to detect wildlife products. In this activity students put their nose to the test, searching around the room for an onion hidden in a clean sock.
Science Meets Art- Animal Diagram and Poem: Students research an animal and investigate how its features help it survive. Then they write verses for adaptation poems provided by IFAW.
Ecosystem Cups: Students stack cups and create an ecosystem pyramid. They take cups away and discover how the removal of one animal can cause an ecosystem to fall apart.
Geography Project- An Exotic Pet's Journey: Students collaborate in groups and use a map's scale (provided) to determine how many miles an animal travelled from its home. Students compare an animal's natural environment to it's life as a pet. They write down what humans cannot provide wildlife animals with if they were kept as pets.
Keep Wild Animals Wild Informative Comic: After reading a comic about the use of sea turtle shells as hair clips, students are encouraged to create their own comic about an animal of their choice.
Pet Store Skits: Students take on one of these characters: store owner, customer who wants to buy a wild animal for a pet, a member of the student Animal Welfare Club, a wild animal that the store sells, and a reporter. The skits tell the story of what happens when the customer comes into the store to buy the animal but runs into a protest being covered by the local news.
Design a Pamphlet: In pairs, students make their own pamphlets to persuade others that keeping or trading in wild animals as pets has negative effects for the animals, people, and the environment.
Culminating Project: Students figure out a way to get the word out about wildlife trade: mural, assembly, video (anything they can think of)

Keep Wild Animals Wild is available at three levels of instruction.

Students ages 5 to 7 (grade K-2) are introduced to the concepts of what makes an animal wild and how people can observe and appreciate wildlife responsibly.
o   Lesson plans
o   Student magazine
o   K-2 Video

Students ages 8 to 10 (grade 3-5) learn about wildlife trade, how it is relevant to them, and how they can take action to help protect wild animals from wildlife trade.
o   Lesson plans
o   Student magazine
o   3-5 video

Students ages and 11 to 14 (grade 6-8) also learn about wildlife trade and its relevance to their world.
o   Lesson plans
o   Student magazine
o   Classroom poster
o   6-8 video

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Square Explosion

Give kids scissors and a paper square and see what they can create!

Stacking Squares

This art activity comes from Lucky To Be In First. Students measure, cut, and paste squares in descending order. Each square is 1/2 an inch smaller than the preceding square. Also check out Spiral Triangles!

Note: You could also have children figure out the area and perimeter of each square on a separate sheet of paper.
1. area = 25, perimeter = 20
2. area = 20.25, perimeter = 18
3. area = 16, perimeter = 16
4. area = 12.25, perimeter = 14
5. area = 9, perimeter = 12
6. area = 6.25, perimeter = 10
7. area = 4, perimeter = 8
8. area = 2.25, perimeter = 6
9. area = 1, perimeter = 4

Geo Art

Students are given isometric dot grid paper. They connect dots to create polygons, overlapping their lines to create a unique design. When they're finished they color in their shapes. How many different polygons can they find within their design?

Jasper Johns Math / Art

What's Your Equation? (Painting - Numbers in Color)
This lesson is inspired by Art in the Big Green Room.
Students choose 4 meaningful numbers to them. Ex: age, people in their family, pets, etc.
They create a grid with their numbers in the center of each square.
Then, they create a math equation (using their 4 numbers) and solve it.
They hand off their design and magic number (solution) to a peer.
Can their peer figure out their equation?!

Make Ten (Painting 0-9)
This lesson comes from MC2 (Feel the Energy).
Students overlap 3 numbers (outline only). The three numbers must add up to 10.
They color in their design.
Then, they hand it off to a peer.
Can their peer figure out the three numbers used to make ten?!