Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Animal Discovery!

One of the content areas we study in third grade is living things.  This includes basic needs, classification, adaptations, and the food chain.  It's a fun unit in itself, as it lends itself well to hands on activities and well, let's face it, most kids love learning about animals.

One of the assessments our district requires is one that makes direct connections to this unit.  The premise is that students "discover" a new animal, and using what they've learned about adaptations, basic needs, and classification,  they place their newly discovered species into a category, providing justification for that decision based on what they've learned.

We decided to take it one step further.  I mean, these "required assessments" should be made as useful as possible, right?

So we created a technology element.  Once the kids have made their discovery, and classified their animal, they bring said animal to life.

They complete a story board organizer that includes the following slides: title, classification, adaptations, food chain, and about the scientist.  They take their animal from paper to screen (we used a program called Pixie this year, but next year, I plan on using the iPads for the entire project and will be using something else.) and ultimately end up with a 45 second movie about this new species.

This required that the kids become fluent in Pixie, but also become familiar with some of the more advanced features.  What I love seeing is when the first few students "get it" and are able to finish their project, how willingly they stepped up to help their classmates finish as well!  Collaboration rocks!

To further expand their audience for this project, we invite families in to share in our discoveries!  My intention is to get each animal video up onto YouTube, and when that's done, I'll like it up here so you can also enjoy their discoveries!

That's one of my favorite things about technology, you can always find a way to add a new dimension to a current experience!

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