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Main Curriculum Tie:
What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?, by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page; ISBN-10: 0-618-
Background For Teachers:
This lesson is to be used after the students have been exposed to
many classifying activities. They should be familiar with grouping and
simple classification keys.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
Have students rip and fold a piece of paper in their journal to create a flip chart. Ask students to think of an animal they know well, one that they can picture in their mind and describe. Explain that students are going to create a character sketch of the animal. They will describe what the animal looks like, acts like, and places where it would live. This sketch should give information about the animal without ever saying the name of the animal. Give students time to complete their animal sketch. Encourage them to include LOTS of detail and write in complete sentences. After completing the animal sketch, have students write the name of the animal on the inside of the flip chart. If they finish early they can draw a picture as well. *If you want to carry this into more writing practice students can revise and edit as partners and then present to a group.*
When all students are done, have them share their animal sketches. Students stand up and walk around until the teacher says stop. They turn to the person closest to them and take turns reading their sketch and having the other student guessing the animal.
Wolfe, P. (2001). Brain matters: translating research into classroom practice. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, VA.
The brain processes abstract information best after experiencing real things first and then symbolic representations. To analyze and compare information, the brain needs to be able to base it on an experience. When learning science, students need to be presented with real-life experiences and meaningful context that build a base for the abstract written problems we usually pose on tests.
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