Sunday, October 23, 2016

Water Features

Now that I teach STEM three times a day, every day, I can delve into our curriculum documents a whole lot more.  This year I realized that we have not been teaching water forms in the way we needed to teach them.

Of course we were talking about rivers, lakes, streams, oceans, etc.  What I discovered was that we were not talking about the types of water found in these locations.  I'm talking fresh water, salt water, and brackish water.

How in the world can I share this information with the kids in a PBL?  A colleague of mine started brainstorming with me about how we have all of these types of water systems in North Carolina, so we could make it relevant for the kids.

Why not have them research animals that live in various water ecosystems in North Carolina and have them create a diorama?  We came up with a PBL:

You are a Marine Biologists setting up a new aquarium that features animals that live in North Carolina. The paperwork for your planning stage just arrived, but the box tipped over and the paperwork is mixed up!  You must determine which animals will need to go in each habitat in the aquarium very quickly!  The animals are due to arrive in an hour!  You will be given an animal name and a water habitat.  You will need to research the animal and see if it will survive in the water habitat file you have been given.  If it will not survive, you will need to find the correct water habitat.  For all animals:
-Determine if the animal will survive in the given habitat.  If it will not survive, where does it need to be placed?
-Find at least 5 facts about your animal.
-Locate a place in North Carolina where that animal would be able to survive.
-Create a 3D model of the water habitat and your animal using box (make a diorama).

Students went to town on this project!  We repurposed some boxes from the Chromebook boxes we had just received and I gave students construction paper, markers and glue.  At the end of their hour, I asked the students about they type of ecosystem it required to live.  If students answered correctly, I gave them a printed picture of their animal, which they glued into their diorama.  If they were incorrect, we had to hurry to adapt the ecosystem to be the type they needed.  

All of my classes did a great job!  I had them list their five facts about each animal 
on the paper I provided them.

Then, we hung their beautiful artwork in the hallway for all to see!

The third graders loved this activity and learned a lot about how waterforms affect the wildlife and how all of the waterforms are connected.

How do you teach about land and water formations?

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