Comparing and Contrasting a Desert Reptile and a Rainforest Mammal

 

 

 

 

By:

Aristea Theodoropoulos

 

 

Overview

This unit will compare and contrast two different groups of animals. The students will learn the differences between a mammal in the rainforest and a reptile in the desert. In particular, they will learn about the chimpanzee and the Gila monster. They will be be introduced to a variety of concepts related to environment, food chain, movement, and birth and nurturance. These concepts will be related to various big ideas and the essential questions of the unit. The students will learn the material in a variety of different ways including through prediction, observation, and provocative questioning, which will accommodate multiple intelligences.

 

 

Culminating Activity

The final performance that the unit will lead up to is having the students share what they have learned with college student guests whom the first graders have been told are interested in learning more about the field and need their expertise. Each first grader will have created a book of information comparing the two animals as part of the on-going activities. They will need to use this book as a resource of information to share with the guests.

The classroom will be divided into the two environments, desert and rainforest. The students have been divided into groups of two. Four groups be told to focus on the Gila monster, and four groups will be told to focus on the chimpanzee. Together as a class, the students will brainstorm different ways to present the information to the guests. Then, in groups of two, the students will choose how they want to present each of the four areas of information that they have learned about their animal over the course of the unit. As well as presenting the information to the guests, the students will also be asked to present their information to a video cameraman. This is to keep a record of the class project.

 

 

Essential Questions

One of our big ideas that this unit is built around asks the question of why some animals are able to live and survive in certain environments, but not others. This leads the students to trying to find an understanding of the different ways that animals can adapt to their environment. We will compare the habitats and the bodies of the chimpanzee as a mammal and the gila monster as a reptile as two examples to work with when determing answers to these questions.

A second essential question that this unit will be based around asks the students to think about whether the processes that all animals go through are similar or different. This is the root of the comparison and contrast that will be done between the animals in this unit. In this way the students will complete an in depth examination of the characteristics of categories of animals. This will also lead the students to attempting to find further connections between humans and animals.

 

 

Rationale

The students need to learn about the basic characteristics of the chimpanzee as a mammal and the Gila monster as a reptile to give them a better understanding of the catagorization of animals. They need to know that these groups of animals are derived from their differences in characteristics. This will lead them to gaining an understanding of relations between animals and humans in the world. Being able to compare and contrast among these animals will allow students to be able to make comparisons and contrasts among many other animals. The students also need to understand that all animals go through certain processes to maintain existence. It is important to understand that no matter how different animals may be from one another, they all share the common goal of survival.

 

 

Initiatory Activities

As an introduction to this unit, the students will be asked why they think it is possible for some animals to live in extremely hot temperatures and others to live in extremely cold temperatures. This will bring them to the essential question of why some animals are able to live in some environments, but not others. The students will be lead to think about where humans are able to live and why we live in the environment that we do. The students will be given a quick introduction to the chimpanzee and the Gila monster as animals that they will be learning about. The students will be asked to write predictions about whether they think these animals would be able to live in the same or different environments, including their ideas about how the animals might be related or unrelated to humans. They will be asked to think about what characteristics of each animal might affect the environment where they are able to live. This will lead them into really thinking about the essential questions of the unit, which will also be reinforced throughout the unit lessons.

 

 

On-Going Activities

During each lesson the students will be gaining more information, worksheets, and other assignments that they can add to their book comparing the chimpanzee and the Gila monster, which will be used for the culminating activity. The students will be advised from the start of the unit that they will need to be working on their books to present this information about the animals during the final activity. Their books will include at least one page for each animal for each of the following topics: where/how the animals live, eat, move/protect themselves, and give birth to/care for their young. Each lesson that is presented to the students will be based on one of these topics, resulting in at least one book page being made during or after each lesson. The teachers will guide the students in doing this.

The students will also be learning how to ask meaningful questions and conduct an interview. They will be learning how to take notes and write down important details. They will be learning how to use this information to later be interviewed in the same way during the culminating activity.

 

 

Use of Technology

The initiatory activity includes a use of technology because the students will be watching a short video clip to show them what the Gila monster looks like. This is because, while many of the students are familiar with what the chimpanzee looks like, many have never been exposed to the Gila monster before. Having them watch an actual Gila monster on a video will probably give them the best idea of what exactly they will be learning about. We will also allow the students to have the opportunity to look at a website on the computer with video clips of chimpanzees.

When teaching the students about the sounds that the animals make to communicate with one another, chimpanzee sounds that were found on an electronic encyclopedia will be recorded an used as part of the lesson. This will give the students a much better idea of how chimpanzees actually communicate and what sounds they actually make if they have never heard them.

For the culminating activity, the students will be making their presentation for a video cameraman, as well as for the guests who will be asking them questions. They will need to be sure that they are presenting the information in a clear, concise way so that others can watch the video and learn from it later. Prior to the activity, the students will be taught the skills that they will need to be able to complete this activity using this form of technology.

 

 

Assessment

After each lesson, the students will have a page of information to make a book about what they learned during the unit. Effort, creativity, and the information they chose to include on each page of their book will be assessed after each lesson is completed. Each student’s completed book will be assessed as a whole for the same criteria after the culminating activity. Each lesson also includes other specific assessments, such as worksheets, categorizing activities, and writing and drawing assignments, which give an indication of how much the students are understanding.

Throughout the unit, anecdotal assessment will also be used to keep track of how much students seem to be learning from the lessons. Periodic spot checks will be done to find out if students have a complete understanding of the concepts they are working with. Records of each student’s progress will be kept by the teachers in a journal, so that they can be referred to as part of the final evaluation.

The final assessment of learning, along with the assessment of the completed books, will be the evaluation of the students’ presentations. The teachers will monitor how the students choose to present their information and answer questions that are asked by the guests. The video can also be reviewed to decide if the students understood the concepts and were able to present them in a logical manner.

We will be able to assess our own performance by the responses to the lessons that the students make in their books and during their final presentations. We will be able to tell if the students have understood the concepts in this way. Reflections will be written after each lesson so that we have the opportunity to think about and evaluate a lesson.

 

 

KWL

What do the children know?

Due to the results of our inquiry project we were able to determine what exactly the children knew about animals before teaching it to them. Their responses to our many questionnaires informed us that they knew mainly of dogs, cats, and lions, but had very little grasp on any other animals. Previous lessons that we taught about living and non-living, mammals, and reptiles also helped us to discern their knowledge of the subject matter.

What do the children want to learn?

It was also clear that the children were interested in animals from their inquiry responses. In particular, they found interest in animals outside of their immediate community. Reptiles were among the few.

What did the children learn?

Through our previous lessons, the children first learned the difference between living and non-living things. They then learned that there exists different categories of animals and that these categories are derived from the animal’s differences in characteristics. They learned to distinguish between mammals and reptiles based on these differing characteristics. They learned that all mammals have fur, are warm-blooded, and take care of their babies much in the same way humans do. They learned that reptiles have rough, scaly skin, are cold-blooded, and lay eggs.

 

 

Initiatory Activity

Title:  Introduction to the Chimpanzee and the Gila monster

Names:  Aristea Theodoropoulos

Cooperating Teacher:  Miss Anderson

Grade Level:  1st Grade

Topic:  The students will be introduced to the unit about the chimpanzee as a mammal and the Gila monster as a reptile.

Rationale:  It is important for the students to be prepared to learn about the unit subject matter.  They should be given an opportunity to make predictions about both the animals and the unit itself.  The students should be given some background information before they move to more complex topics in future lessons.  They should be familiar with the essential questions of the unit so that they have a focus during the unit.

Prior Knowledge:  The students have been introduced in previous lessons to the categorization of animals as mammals and reptiles.  They have been taught the characteristics of the animals that make up each of these categories.  They know about many animals that they have read about in stories, learned about in movies, or learned at home, which for many includes knowledge of monkeys.  Many of them have knowledge of lizards, but most do not know what the Gila monster is.

Core Curriculum Standards: 

Objectives:  By the end of the lesson, students will be able to write predictions about whether they think the chimpanzee and Gila monster would be able to live in the same or different environments, including their ideas about how the animals might be related or unrelated to humans.  The students will be able to be involved in a discussion in which they talk about key points that will be important themes in the unit.  In doing this, the students will be prepared to learn more about chimpanzees and Gila monsters in future lessons. 

Hook:  The students will be asked why they think it is possible for some animals to live in extremely hot temperatures and others to live in extremely cold temperatures (Ex. How is it that some animals can live in places that burning hot, while others can live in places that are freezing and snowy?).  This will bring them to the essential question of why some animals are able to live in some environments, but not others.  The students will be lead to think about where humans are able to live and why we live in the environment that we do.

Lesson Narrative: 

1.      The students will be given a quick introduction to the chimpanzee and the Gila monster as animals that they will be learning about.  Pictures and videos of the chimpanzee and the Gila monster will be shown.

2.      The students will be asked to write predictions about whether they think these animals would be able to live in the same or different environments, including their ideas about how the animals might be related or unrelated to humans.  They will be asked to think about what characteristics of each animal might affect the environment where they are able to live.  This will lead them into really thinking about the essential questions of the unit, which will also be reinforced throughout the unit lessons.

Closure:  The students will be told that they will be learning about these two animals for the unit during the next two weeks.  They will be told that they will have to be observering and listening closely to everything they are taught for the next two weeks so that they will be able to learn to make predictions, conduct interviews, and present information to special guests who will be coming at the end of the unit.  They will be told about the culminating activity so that they know what their learning is leading up to.

Individualization:  The students can make their predictions in a way that they feel most comfortable with, whether it be drawing or writing about something.

Materials:  paper, pencils, crayons

Imagination:  The students need to use imagination to think about whether the animals would be able to live in similar environments and what would happen if they switched environments.  They need to be able to think abstractly and imaginatively when thinking about the essential questions that were posed.

Education for Democracy:  In order for the discussions during this lesson to be productive and meaningful, the students will need to listen to each other and cooperate as a class.

 

 

Lesson 1

Title: Chimpanzees Live in the Rainforest

Grade Level: 1st Grade

 

Topic: The students will be learning about the habitat of the chimpanzee. They will learn about the rain forests, where they are, and where most chimpanzees are found. The students will learn why it is that some animals are able to adapt to certain climates and habitats and others are not. This will include the topic of warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals. The students will also be taught about how chimps live together, where they sleep, etc.

Rationale: It is important for children to be aware that there are different climates around the world and that not all animals can live in every climate. It is important for them to understand that some animals can adapt and adjust better to certain climates than other animals because of the way their bodies work. It is also important for students to understand that some animals are warm-blooded and some are cold-blooded so that they can get a better understanding of how their own body works. They will better be able to compare and contrast between the different categorizations of animals by using themselves and the chimpanzee as examples.

Prior Knowledge: The students have been introduced to the chimpanzee’s categorization of mammal. Most will be able to understand that because the chimpanzee is a mammal, it has the quality of being warm-blooded, which they were taught in a previous lesson. This will hopefully lead them to have a better understanding of how the animal is able to adapt to the climate that it lives in.

Core Curriculum Standards:

Objectives: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to show on a map where the rainforests are that the chimpanzee lives. They will know about the characteristics of the different layers of the rainforest and be able to show which layers chimpanzees live in.

Hook: Tell the students that they are going to learn about where the chimpanzee lives. Show them a picture of the chimp to remind them what animal they will be learning about. Read the students the book Welcome to the Green House. Before reading the book, ask the students to notice the different types of animals that live in this place. Ask them to think about what kind of place this might be, where they think it might be located, and why these types of animals might live there.

Lesson Narrative:

  1. 1. Ask the students what the "green house" was in the book. Introduce the students to the term tropical rainforest. Ask the students if they know what a rainforest is, connecting their knowledge to what they just learned in the book. Show the students more pictures of rainforests. Introduce the term climate. Describe the climate of the rainforest and why it was called a "green house" in the book. Compare the climate of a rainforest to a humid, sticky day, right after it has rained and to a bathroom after a warm steamy shower. Discuss why the chimp would live in a place such as the rainforest.
  2. 2. Show the students where there are rainforests on a big map. Relate where the rainforests are to where they live. Have the students color the parts of the world where rainforests are found on an similar smaller map worksheet. Have a volunteer come up and stick a chimp cutout on the big map in exactly which rainforests where chimpanzees would be found. Have the students also mark this on their worksheets.
  3. 3. Discuss the different layers of the rainforests, and what each would be like. Show the students a big diagram of what the layers of the rainforest look like. Have the students stick chimp cutouts on the parts they would find chimpanzees living in. Have the students draw chimps or write the word chimpanzee in the layers of the rainforests where the animal belongs. Talk about other details of living, such as where chimpanzees would sleep and how many live together as a group.

Closure: Remind the students about the question that we had asked in a previous lesson about why it is that some animals are able to live and survive in some areas (climates) but not others? Ask them "Now that you have learned that the chimpanzee lives in the rainforest, why do you think a chimpanzee is able to live in a rainforest but would not be able to live in another climate (such as a cold or dry place)". Ask them if they think there are any qualities of the chimpanzee as a mammal that would would help it live in the rainforest but not in another place (ex. what it eats, how it protects itself, warm-blooded vs. cold-blooded). Tell them that after the next lesson, they might be able to answer this question a little bit better when the learn about where the reptile called the Gila monster lives because it lives in a very different place from the chimp.

Individualization: Describing the climate of the rainforest in so many different ways, by reading the book, showing the plant in the green house, and relating it to their own past experiences with weather, helps those who did not grasp the concept in one way, find another way to understand it. Also allowing the students to either draw a picture of a chimp or write the word chimpanzee in the layers of the rainforest where they belong allows students to choose the method that they are most comfortable with.

Materials: picture of a chimpanzee, Welcome to the Green House by Jane Yolen, pictures of rainforests, big map with rainforests colored on it and chimps cutouts, map worksheets for each student, big diagram with layers of rainforests and chimp cutouts, rainforest layers worksheets for each student

Imagination: The students need to use imagination to picture what the climate of a tropical rainforest might be like because they’ve never been to a rainforest. They also need to be imaginative when thinking about where the rainforests might be around the world because many of them have never been away from their community and it is hard for them to conceptualize that there are other countries far away where chimpanzees live.

Education for Democracy: The students will learn the importance of listening to one another in a group. They will need to listen carefully when each student is placing the pictures of chimps on the layer of the rainforest that they belong so that they can then write/draw them on their own worksheet.

Click here to see a Sample of Student's Work

 

 

Lesson 2

Title: Gila Monsters Live in the Desert

Grade Level: 1st Grade

 

Topic: The students will be learning about the habitat of the gila monster. They will learn about the deserts, where they are, and where most gila monsters are found. The students will compare and contrast the habitats of the chimpanzee, which is a mammal, and the gila monster, which is a reptile, reinforcing why it is that some animals are able to adapt to certain climates and habitats and others are not. This will again include the topic of warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals.

Rationale: It is important for children to be aware that there are different climates around the world and that not all animals can live in every climate. It is important for them to understand that some animals can adapt and adjust better to certain climates than other animals because of the way their bodies work. It is also important for students to understand that some animals are warm-blooded and some are cold-blooded so that they can get a better understanding of how their own body works. They will better be able to compare and contrast between the different categorizations of animals by using themselves, the chimpanzee, and the gila monster as examples.

Prior Knowledge: The students have been introduced to the gila monster’s categorization of reptile. Most will be able to understand that because the gila monster is a reptile, it has the quality of being cold-blooded, which they were taught in a previous lesson. This will hopefully lead them to have a better understanding of how the animal is able to adapt to the climate that it lives in. They will be able to compare the gila monster as a reptile to the chimpanzee as a mammal, including comparing their habitats, because they learned about mammals, especially the chimpanzee, in a previous lesson.

Core Curriculum Standards:

Objectives: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to write about the climate of the desert and what it would be like to live there. They will know that the gila monster and chimpanzee live in completely different climates and be able to show characteristics of the different climates. They will show understanding of why certain animals can live in certain climates. They will be able to draw on a map where deserts are and where the gila monster lives.

Hook: Tell the students that they are going to learn about where the gila monster lives. Show the students the picture of the gila monster to remind them what animal they are learning about. Show the students a box of sand and a cactus. Ask them if they know of any place where it is very hot, sandy, with only certain plants and animals living there that are actually able to stand the extreme temperatures. Ask them to think about what kind of place this might be, where they think it might be located, and why these types of animals might live there.

Lesson Narrative:

  1. Introduce the students to the term desert. Describe the climate of the desert (A desert is an extremely hot, dry place where very few plants and animals live, etc.). Show them pictures of the desert and have them imagine what they might feel on the hottest day of the summer with no water or shade around anywhere. Make a quick comparison of the climate of the desert to the climate of the rainforest, which they learned about in the previous lesson.
  2. Show the students a map of where deserts are located, which will be on the same previous map of the rainforests, but with deserts represented by a different color. Have one volunteer come up to the map and stick a cutout of the Gila monster on the map in the desert that they would be found. Have them draw the deserts regions onto their same smaller map worksheets that had the rainforests on them from before and pinpoint where the gila monster lives.
  3. Ask the students whether they think the chimpanzee would be able to survive in a desert climate (show picture of the chimp again). Ask them why they think the gila monster is able to survive in the desert even though the chimpanzee is not.
  4. Present a blank t-chart (like the one below) comparing a rainforest habitat and a desert habitat and help the class fill in characteristics that they have learned. Place the picture of each animal (chimp and Gila monster) above the column in which each animal lives, desert or rainforest. Connect the animals’ habitats to characteristics of each animals which they think would allow them to live in their environments (ex. What they might eat, how they might protect themselves, warm-blooded vs. cold-blooded).

 

Rainforest

Desert

Wet, moist climate

Hot temperatures

Many trees and plants

Many different animals

Dry climate

Very hot during the day, very cold at night

Few plants (cactus)

Few animals

 

 

Closure: Discuss with the students exactly why it would be hard for these animals to switch environments and still survive. Have the students imagine what it would be like if they switched homes with the gila monster. Have them draw a picture of themselves living in the desert and write a story about what it would be like for them to live in the desert and what they think would happen.

Individualization: Allowing the students draw a picture of themselves living in the desert and then write a story about their experience in the desert allows the ones who feel they can express themselves better with drawing to excel there and the students who are most comfortable writing to excel and pay more attention to that area of the assignment.

Materials: picture of a gila monster, sand and cactus, big map with rainforests and deserts colored on it and gila monsters cutouts, map worksheets for students (which they already have marked rainforests on), blank chart for differences between rainforests and deserts, paper, pencils, crayons

Imagination: The students need to use imagination to picture what the climate of a desert might be like because they’ve never been to a desert. They also need to be imaginative when thinking about where the deserts might be around the world because many of them have never been away from their community and it is hard for them to conceptualize that there are other places far away where gila monsters live. They also must use imagination when writing their own story about what it would be like for them to live in a desert.

Education for Democracy: The students will need to come up with the characteristics of the rainforests and deserts together as a class in order to complete the chart. Many of the discussions about why these animals live where they do and how it is possible will need to be done together as a class, which requires the students to listen to each other and cooperate as a class.

Click here to see a Sample of Student's Work

 

 

Lesson 3

Title:  Animal Shelter Service Project

Grade Level:  1st Grade

 

Topic:  The students will be learning about why it is important to adopt homeless animals from a shelter if it is possible to do so.  They will learn how they can help with certain causes, such as this one, by being active in their community.

Rationale:  It is important for children to know about issues in their community.  It is also important for them to feel as if they have the power to help change situations in their community.  This will make them feel like they too can make a difference and be heard.

Prior Knowledge:  The students have been introduced to a great deal of information about animals through lessons about mammals, reptiles, and specific lessons about the chimpanzee and the gila monster.  They will know about the different habitats, eating habits, movement/protection, etc. of some animals.  Many of the students have had some experience with pets and pet adoption, as was found through an inquiry project we did about animals.

Core Curriculum Standards: 

Objectives:  By the end of the lesson, students will be able to create their own flyer asking people be aware of the importance of adopting animals from the shelter.  They will have also become an active part of their community.

Hook:  The students are going on a trip to an animal shelter.  After the trip, discuss with the students the situation with the animals at the shelter.  Get reactions from the students to their experiences on the trip.

Lesson Narrative: 

  1. Find out if the students have any previous experience with adopting an animal from an animal shelter.              Discuss with the students reasons for adopting a homeless animal.

  2. Ask the students to brainstorm ideas about what they could do to help the animal shelter.  Have them come up with ideas for a poster or flyer which they could reproduce to give to the shelter and hang up around the community, which would promote the importance of adopting animals from the shelter.  The teacher will choose three flyers out of the class for the students to vote on.  The one they vote on will be sent to the animal shelter with a letter explaining the project.  The rest of the students’ flyers will be photocopied and saved to distribute at a later date.

Closure:  Make sure the students know exactly where and how their flyers will be put to use, and that the one flyer and letter will be sent to the animal shelter.  Tell them that when they visit The College of New Jersey at a later time, they will also be putting their flyers up around campus.

Individualization:  The students will be creating their own flyers and letters, which allows them to express themselves as they wish with each.  They can use more pictures or words or whatever they feel most comfortable with to express themselves when they make their flyer.

Materials:  paper, pencils, crayons, name and address of animal shelter

Imagination:  The students need to use imagination to come up with interesting ways to make people interested in their flyers and what they are trying to express.

Education for Democracy:  The students will all need to make a flyer and vote on the best one to be sent, which means they all need to put in their best work so that a great product will result.  They also will need to all write letters so that they can be combined together later to be sent to the shelter from the class as a whole.  

Click here to see a Sample of Student's Work

Click here to see the Service Learning Bulletin Board

 

 

Lesson 4

Title:  What Does the Chimp Eat?

Grade Level:  1st Grade

 

Topic:  The students will be learning about how the Chimpanzee acquires energy and the resources it needs to do so.  In this, they will also be learning the difference between predator and prey, and plant eating, meat eating, and all eating animals.

Rationale:  It is important for the children to acknowledge the chimp as a component in the food chain of life.  They need to be able to make the distinction between those that are weaker and those that are stronger and relate it to the concept of survival.  It is also important for the children to be able to compare and contrast the diet of the chimp with that of their own in order to recognize the strong similarity of human and ape.

Prior Knowledge:  The students are aware of the Chimpanzee’s environment.  They know of the different plants and animals that reside in this environment.  Therefore, they might be able to predict what the chimp eats and how it goes about getting it. 

Core Curriculum Standards:

Objectives:  The students will be able to recognize that all animals need food for survival.  They will be able to identify the foods of the chimp and the processes in which the chimp endures to acquire them.  The students will be able to relate these processes to the processes of human beings.  They will be able to perceive the chimp as an intelligent and strategic creature.  The students will be able to differentiate from predator and prey.  The students will be able to categorize the chimpanzee as an omnivore.

Hook:  I will ask the children, “Why do we need food?”  I will emphasize the word “energy”.  I will then ask, “What are some of the foods we eat?”  “Do you think a Chimpanzee eats the same foods as we do?”  “What kind of foods do you think they eat?”  I will have them sing a song I wrote explaining what chimps like to eat.   Click here to go to the "Chimp Food Song"   I will then make a formal list consisting of fruits, berries, flowers, leaves, grass, bark, nuts, fig, insects (termites), small pigs, and antelopes.

Lesson Narrative:

1.      I will ask the children, “How are some of the ways we get food?” “Do you think chimps get food the same way we do?”  “How do you think chimps might get food?”  I will list the correct responses and tell them that they spend much time in trees searching for food and just like us, squeeze fruit to see if its rip enough to eat.  I will tell them they use rocks like hammers to break open nuts and pods.  I will tell them that they drink by cupping water in their hands from lakes and rivers and by using leaves to scoop up rainwater in the holes of trees.  I will then read them an excerpt from Tano and Binti, which describes their clever strategies of acquiring water and termites.

2.      I will tell the children that the pig and the antelope are called the chimp’s prey, or food.  I will have them repeat the word prey.  I will then say, “When the chimp hunts these animals it is called a predator, or hunter.  I will have them repeat predator.  I will say, “So, here the chimp is the predator and the pig and antelope are the prey. Do you think anything tries to eat the chimp?”  I will introduce the leopard.  I will ask, “So when the leopard hunts the chimp, is the chimp the predator or the prey?”  I will tell them that now the lion is the predator, or hunter, and the chimp now the prey, or food.

3.      I will tell the children that there are three groups of eaters.  Animals that eat plants called, herbivores, animals that eat other animals called, carnivores, and animals that eat both plants and animals called, omnivores.  I will write these down on the board with there descriptions.  I will then ask, “Which kind of eater do you think the chimp is?”  (Omnivore)

Closure:  I will have the children draw a picture of the chimp and any other animal that we discussed today.  I will have them label the chimp the predator or the prey according to the picture.  I will also have them label the other animal accordingly.        

Individualization:  Those who need assistance in spelling can copy down the new words I put on the board and use them in a sentence.  For the drawing exercise, those at a higher level can choose to write more about their picture, while others may just label their animals as “predator” and “prey”.

Materials: Song, book, poster board, drawing paper

Imagination:  The students will use their imagination as they think of the way chimps get their food.  They will imagine how the chimps attack their prey and are attacked by predators.  They will envision a scene as they draw their predator and prey.

Education for Democracy:  The students will be able to witness a hierarchy of power within the tropical forest food chain.  They will see how the chimps share food in hopes that they are shared with in the future, just as people.  The students will need to cooperate and sing the song in unison to make it powerful. 

Click here to see a Sample of Student's Work

   

 Lesson 5

Title:  What Does the Gila Monster Eat?

Grade Level:  1st Grade

 

Topic:  The students will be learning about how the Gila Monster acquires energy and the resources it needs to do so.  In this, they will be reinforcing their knowledge of predator and prey, and herbivorous, carnivorous, and omnivorous animals.

Rationale:  It is important for the children to acknowledge the Gila as a component in the food chain of life.  They need to be able to differentiate between the eating habits of a reptile and a mammal, the Gila and the Chimp.  It is also important for the children to be able to compare and contrast the diet of the Gila with that of their own in order to recognize the strong contrast between human and lizard. 

Prior Knowledge:  The students are aware of the Gila’s environment.  They know of the different plants and animals that reside in this environment.  Therefore, they might be able to predict what the Gila eats and how it goes about getting it. 

Core Curriculum Standards:

Objectives:  The students will be able to recognize that all animals need food for survival.  They will be able to identify the foods of the Gila and the processes in which the Gila endures to acquire them.  The students will be able to compare these processes with the processes of the chimp.  They will be able to perceive the Gila as a stronger member of the desert food chain.  The students will be able to reinforce their knowledge of predator and prey.  The students will be able to categorize the Gila as a carnivore.

Hook:  I will bring the children to the carpet and say, “We learned about the foods of the chimpanzee, but what kinds of foods do you think the Gila Monster eats?”  I will present a mouse to the class along with some baby eggs.  I will ask, “Does this look appetizing to you?  Because it’s one of the Gila’s favorites!”  I will take out the list we did for the chimp, and create a column for the Gila.  However, the Gila’s list will consist of mice, the eggs of snakes and lizards, insects, young birds, and small animals.  I will ask, “From looking at the list, do chimps and Gila’s eat many of the same foods?” “Do you think the Gila is a herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore?”  (Carnivore) 

Lesson Narrative:

1.      I will ask the children, “Do you think the Gila gets food the same way as the chimp?”  “How do you think Gila might get food?”  I will list their responses and tell them that the Gila is the only poisonous lizard in the world, and it uses its poison to kill other animals for food.  I will tell them that it injects this poison through biting, however, their poison usually isn’t strong enough to kill humans. 

2.      I will tell the children that eggs, snakes, fish, and other small reptiles and mammals are the Gila’s prey.  I will ask, “Does anyone remember what prey means?” After clarification, I will say, “So, when the Gila hunts these animals, what does that make the Gila?” (Predator)  “Do you think anything tries to eat the Gila?”  I will tell them that large birds, snakes, and other reptiles hunt the Gila for food.  I will then ask, “So, when a snake creeps up from behind and bites the Gila, is the Gila now the predator or prey?” (Prey) I will tell them that if a snake were to bite the Gila’s tail off, it could just grow a new one.  I will ask, “What do you think the Gila does if it can’t find food?”  I will tell the children that it can live on the fat stored in its tail, but only for a short time. 

3.      I will have the children play a matching game in which I will have three columns on the board: Gila   Both   Chimp.  I will place four pictures of food on each of the tables.  I will have the children discuss under which category each should go.  I will then have them each take one and come up one at a time to tape their picture under the column they decided on.  For instance, a picture of an insect would go under “Both” because both Gila’s and Chimps eat insects.  

Closure:  The children will be given a worksheet where they will be able to circle which food out of four does a herbivore eat, which food out of four does a carnivore eat, and which food out of four does an omnivore eat.   Click here to see "Kinds of Eaters" worksheet

Individualization:  Those who need assistance in spelling can copy down the new words I put on the board and use them in a sentence.  Those who enjoy working in groups can decide where their foods go on the board together, and those who like working individually can decide by themselves. 

Materials:  Mouse, eggs, chimp’s poster board, chalkboard, food pictures, tape

Imagination:  The students will use their imagination as they think of the way Gila’s get their food.  They will imagine how the Gila attacks its prey and are attacked by predators. 

Education for Democracy:  The students will be able to witness a hierarchy of power within the desert food chain.  They must work cooperatively to create the two lists for the Gila.  The students must compromise to decide which column each of the foods on their table goes under. 

Click here to see the Lesson in Action

 

 

Lesson 6

Title:  Interview with Scientist

Grade Level:  1st grade

 

Topic:  The students will be learning about other animals that are from the same categories that the students have been studying and the similarities and differences between these animals and the ones they have studied.  The students will be learning about a mouse and a turtle. 

Rationale:  The students need to be able to ask inquiring questions in life.  The students also need to be able to learn how to apply the information they have been learning to other information in the world.  The students need to have some visual and hands on experiences with animals and how to interact with them.

Prior Knowledge:  The students have studied mammals and reptiles.  They have also been studying the Gila monster and the chimpanzee. 

Curriculum Standards:

Objectives:  The students will be able to learn interview skills.  The students will learn how to interact with animals.  They will also learn how to use past information to compare to current information.  The students will be able to learn about the mouse and the turtle along with their characteristics and how these two animals fit into the animal categories.  The students will be able to notice some similarities and differences between the mouse/turtle and the chimpanzee/Gila monster. 

Hook:  The students are going to be interviewers today and they are going to be asked to come up with some question they can ask the “scientist” (a collage biology major who had presented animals for the first graders at Antheil Elementary School) about the animals that he is presenting. 

Lesson Narrative:  The students are going to ask the “scientist” questions about the animals that he is presenting to them.  They will be taking notes on what the scientist says.  The notes can be anyway the students like; they can draw pictures or write sentences.  The students will be able to go up and see the animals that the “scientist” is presenting at the end of the interview in groups. While the “scientist” is presenting the characteristics of a mammal and a reptile will be reviewed.  After the “scientists” has finished we will discuss some of the observations the students made about the animals.  Then we will talk about some of the similarities and differences they noticed between the mouse and turtle and the chimpanzee and Gila monster. They will talk about what they found interesting and what they learned. 

Closure:  The students will write the “scientist” a letter thanking him for coming to the school.  In the letter they will tell the “scientist” what they learned and compare they information to the animals they have learned.  Was anything the same or different to the animals they have been learning?   The students can also include a question they have on the animals or anything we have been learning about.   

Individualization:  The students can take notes any way they feel comfortable.  They can write or draw.  The same occurs when the students are writing the letter to the scientist. Those students who are more advanced or confused can ask the “scientists” different questions they might have.  This will give the teachers an opportunity to see where children may need clarification or what they may be interested in.  The students are also able to physically see the animals and how the animals move, etc.  This helps make the information real to all of the students. 

Materials:  Scientist, mouse, turtle, paper crayons

Imagination:  The students will be imagining themselves as interviewers.  They will be using imagination when writing the thank you letters to the “scientist” when thinking of different questions to ask and relating all of the animals to one another. 

Education for Democracy:  All of the students are working together to find the most information they can about the animals and comparing that information to what they have learned.  The students will have to respect one another and listen to one another when asking questions.  The students will also need to be patients and wait to look at the animals.   

Click here to see a Sample of Student's Work

Click here to see a Picture of the Interview

 

Lesson 7

Title:  Chimpanzees and their Babies

Grade Level:  1st grade

 

Topic:  The students will be learning about the chimpanzee and how it gives birth to and takes care of its babies.  The students will also learn the similarities between humans and chimpanzees when taking care of their young.  The students will relate the information to past information learned about mammals. 

Rationale:  To understand the characteristics of a mammal, in particularly the chimpanzee, the students need to learn about the basic characteristic of giving birth and taking care of their young.  The students need to know the similarity and difference between humans and chimpanzee in order to understand the relation humans have to animals, specifically chimpanzees. 

Prior Knowledge:  The students have studied the characteristics of mammals.  The students have also been studying the chimpanzee and its environment. 

Curriculum Standards: 

Objectives:  By the end of the lesson the student will be able to talk about how a baby chimpanzee is born and how the mother takes care of the baby chimpanzee.  The students will also understand the idea of an animal born alive.  The students will be able to compare how a baby chimpanzee is taken care to a human baby and mammals in general. 

Hook:  The students are asked if they can tell how a human mother takes care of her baby.  What are the things she does?  What would the mother feed the baby?  How does she take care of the baby?  A human baby and mother are very similar to a chimpanzee mother and baby.  They act very similar in many ways and they are both mammals.  Ask the students if they remember what a mammal is.  How do you think a mother chimpanzee takes care of the baby chimpanzee?  I will show a picture of a mother and baby chimpanzee. 

Lesson Narrative:  The students will then create a list of things that a mother chimpanzee does to take care of her baby.  The mother feeds the baby milk, she protects the baby, cradles the baby in her arms (students will be asked to show how they would cradle a baby), makes its nest to sleep in, teaches it how to find food, carries the baby, etc.  The students will be told some interesting facts about the baby chimpanzee.  For example the baby chimpanzee stays with the mother for about 5 to 6 years and even when the chimpanzee gets older the mother will always be around.  The baby chimpanzee eats once every hour.  The students will hear some of the sounds that chimpanzee’s make from the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia and told that this is a way for chimpanzees to communicate.  A young chimpanzee is able to make at least 31 different sounds.  The students will then be read an excerpt from the book The Chimpanzee Family Book by Jane Goodall.  Afterwards the students will discuss with their partner how they would take care of their baby chimpanzee if they were a mother chimpanzee or caretaker.  Where would the baby sleep?  What would it eat?  Was it born alive?  Do you protect the baby?  How long would the baby stay with you?  Etc. 

Closure:  The student will then go back to their seats and write and draw a picture on how they would take care of their baby.  Some students will share what they have done with the class. 

Individualization:  The students will be able to compare the information learned to personal experiences.  The information will be discussed and written so the students will have an opportunity to see the key points.  The students will be able to discuss some of the information with their partners.  When working on the activity the students can draw, color, write words, or complete sentences.  The students may do what makes them comfortable. 

Materials:  book, paper, crayons, recording of chimpanzee sounds

Imagination:  The student will be using imagination when trying to think of how the mother chimpanzee takes care of her young.  They will also be using imagination when listening to the chimpanzee sound.  The students will be imagining themselves as the chimpanzee’s mother/caretaker and the things that they would do to care for the baby chimpanzee. 

Education for Democracy:  The students have the opportunity to work with their partner and listen to each other’s ideas.  The students are also thinking about how they would care for the baby chimpanzee.  This gives them a sense of responsibility.  The students are also learning how to listen to one another an respect one another when presenting their ideas of how they would care for the baby chimpanzee in front of the class.  

Click here to see a Sample of Student's Work

 

Lesson 8

Title: Gila monster and its Babies

Grade Level: 1st Grade

 

Topic: The students will be learning about how the Gila monster has and takes care of its young. The students will learn about the characteristics of an egg and the importance of the egg for the baby Gila monster. The students will compare the Gila monster to the chimpanzee and how mammals take care of their young.

Rationale: The students need to learn how the Gila monster has babies and takes care of its young because it is one of the basic characteristics of the Gila monster. The students need to understand that different groups of animals have and take care of their young differently, specifically reptiles and mammals.

Prior Knowledge: The students have been taught about reptiles. They have been learning about the Gila monster and the environment that it lives in.

Curriculum Standards:

Objectives: By the end of the lesson the students will be able to tell how a Gila monster has and takes care of its babies. They will also be able to tell why the shell/egg the reptile hatches out of is essential to the Gila monster. The students will be able to relate the information to reptiles and cold blooded animals. The students will be able to compare the Gila monster and reptiles to the chimpanzee and mammals.

Hook: The students will be shown a picture of a baby Gila monster hatching out of an egg. They will then be asked questions on what do they think is happening in the picture. What does the egg look like? Do they know of any other animals that hatch out of an egg? Do they see the mother Gila monster in the picture? Where is the mother Gila monster?

Lesson Narrative:

1. The students will then be told about how a baby Gila monster is born and the characteristics of a baby Gila monster. I will ask the students if they can think of anything that is different between the baby Gila monster and the baby chimpanzee.

2. I will show a chart comparing the baby Gila monster and baby chimpanzee. Together with the students we will talk about the importance of the baby Gila monsters egg and compare it to a baby chimpanzee being born alive. The shell protects the egg from drying out while still allowing oxygen to come in. The egg has all of the nutrients the lizard needs to survive.

3. The students will then create their own group of Gila monster eggs. Each student will make their own egg and write a few words or sentences about how the Gila monster has and takes care of its babies. They will show how the babies are born, how old it is, what it eats, how it will survive, etc.

Closure: The students will play a flash card game telling the difference of the characteristics of a mother chimpanzee and its young and a mother Gila monster and its young.

Individualization: The students who have difficulty visualizing the birth of a baby Gila monster will find the picture of the baby Gila monster helpful. The students will also be able to work individually and create their baby Gila monster egg. The students who feel comfortable writing complete sentences on the Gila monster will be able to and those who feel comfortable drawing will also be able to.

Materials: picture of baby Gila monster hatching, picture of adult Gila monster, paper Gila monster eggs, comparison chart of baby Gila monster and baby chimpanzee

Imagination: The students will be using their imagination to create their Gila monster eggs. They will also be using imagination on how the Gila monster hatches out of the egg.

Education of Democracy: The students are each creating their egg with the common goal of creating the mother Gila monster with her eggs. The students also need to respect one another when presenting their Gila monster egg.

Click here to see a Sample of Student's Work

 

 

Lesson 9

Title:  Movement and Protection of the Chimpanzee and Gila Monster

Grade Level:  1st Grade

 

Topic:  The students will be learning about how both the Chimpanzee and Gila Monster travel from one place to another.  In this, they will also learn how these animals use their bodies for means of protection against everyday enemies.

Rationale:  It is important for the children to compare and contrast the movement of two very opposite animals with each other and with their own bodies.  It is important for the children to realize that movements are not randomly chosen, but instead, adapted to compromise with the animal’s environment.  The children should also be aware that most of these movements serve as the animal’s key to survival. 

Prior Knowledge:  The students know many personal characteristics of both the Chimpanzee and the Gila Monster.  The students have learned about their different habitats and feeding habits.  With knowledge of what the animals’ surroundings permit, the students might be able to predict how they move.  With knowledge of the animals’ diets, the students might be able to predict how they protect themselves, and consequently, if they spend more time in the role of the predator or the prey. 

Core Curriculum Standards: 

Objectives:  The students will be able to interpret the movement of the Gila and Chimp through song.  They will be able to act out their ideas of each animal’s movement.  The students will be able to compare and contrast the movement and defense strategies of the animals.  They will be able to convey their knowledge of protection through a picture of one of the animals in battle.  Lastly, the students will be able to identify the enemies of the Gila and the Chimp. 

Hook:  I will have the children come to the carpet as I will play them two songs on my guitar, one conveying the movement of a Gila monster and the other of a chimp.  First, I will say, “When I play this song the first time, I want you to think in your heads of how the Gila monster might be moving.” After I am finished I will say, “Now when I play the second time, I want you to move the way you think the Gila is moving in the song.”  I will do the same for the chimp.  I will then ask them to give me words describing how they thought the Gila and the chimp moved.  I will compare their ideas and list them along with the real movements of the animals. 

Lesson Narrative:

1.      I will ask the children, “Now that you know how the Gila moves, how do you think it protects itself?”  After they state their ideas, I will write the correct ones on the board and add any not mentioned.  I will then ask, “If you were a chimpanzee, what are some of the ways you might protect yourself from other animals, like perhaps a tiger?”  I will do the same as for the Gila as they state their ideas, separating their movements with a line.  The board should look something like the following:

Gila

Chimp

Poisonous bite 

Attacks enemy from front

Raises front of body and sticks out purple tongue

Makes circle around enemy to trap it

Bites quickly and hangs

Warns others of enemy by facial expression

Does not care to warn others

Warns others of enemy by communicating

Stays under sand to avoid enemies

Stays in trees to avoid enemies

2.      I will introduce the word “enemy” and ask, “What do you think the Gila’s enemies are?”  I will tell them large birds, snakes, fish, other large reptiles and mammals.  I will ask the same for chimps.  I will enlighten them on the misfortune that humans are an enemy and explain to them why.  I will tell them that old male chimps become wild when they are captivated (explain word), however, females are calmer and agree to live with humans faster. 

3.      I will have students go back to their desks and draw a picture of a Gila or a Chimp actively protecting themselves during a battle. 

 

Closure:  Students will complete a worksheet in which they will be asked to circle which animal that the Gila would attack.  I will have them to the same for the chimp.  Click here to see "Enemies" worksheet

Individualization:  The drawing exercise allows the students to express themselves at different levels.  Those at a higher level can choose to write more about their picture, while others may be able to express themselves better by describing it verbally.

Materials:  Guitar, chalkboard/poster board, drawing paper, worksheets

Imagination:  The students use their imagination while pretending to move like the Gila and Chimp.  They must imagine the processes of which the animals attack.  They will imagine a particular battle of the Gila or Chimp to draw their protection pictures. 

Education for Democracy:  The students will need to cooperate with one another in order to role-play effectively.  They will work together to make the list of movements and defense strategies for the Gila and Chimp.

  

 

Lesson 10

Title: Culminating Activity

Grade Level: 1st grade

 

Topic: The students will be teaching and explaining to the guest speakers about the chimpanzee and Gila monster and all of the different information they have learned these past two weeks. The students will be using the books that they have created containing materials they have worked on in the previous lessons to help them remember important information on the animals.

Rationale: The students need to be able to use the past information they have learned from previous lessons and bring all of the information together. The students need to be able to explain the information they learned in order to demonstrate their understanding of the unit.

Prior Knowledge: The students have been preparing for this day from the beginning of the unit. They have learned about mammals and reptiles. The students have learned about the Gila monster’s habitat, what it eats, how it gives birth and takes care of young, and how the Gila monster moves and protects itself. The students have learned about the chimpanzee’s habitat, what it eats, how it gives birth and takes care of young, and how the chimpanzee moves and protects itself. The students have also visited an animal shelter where they have had the opportunity to interact with animals and help animals find homes. They have also interviewed a "scientist" who has taught them about a turtle and a mouse and compared that to the animals they have been learning. The interview helped reinforce their concepts on mammals and reptiles. It also let the students experience what it is like to interview someone, ask inquiring questions, and make careful observations. Each lesson taught to the students had some way for them to record the important ideas they needed to remember and then was made into a book for them to later use in the culminating activity.

Curriculum Standards:

Objectives: By the end of the lesson the students will be able to present the information learned in the past two weeks. They will be able to refer back to the books they have made. The students will be able to speak clearly and confidently in front of others.

Hook: The students today will be experts. In groups of two the students will present the information they have learned to the guests any way they choose.

Lesson Narrative: The students will help set up the room. One side of the room will be decorated as if it was a rainforest and the other side of the room will be decorated as if it was the desert. The students must then put together their center to present their information. The guests will walk around the room asking the students different questions and interviewing them. The camera man will be walking around with a guest and video tape the students. The video tape will be used as one form of assessment and a way to keep record of the wonderful memories and fantastic jobs the students did.

Closure: A discussion will be held on the carpet with the students relating the initial essential questions that were posed during the initiatory activity. The students will be asked what they enjoyed these past two weeks and especially what they enjoyed today.

Individualization: The students are working in groups of two; this gives the students the ability to help one another. The students are also using any way they choose to present their information. This gives the students to wish to excel to go above and beyond, while allowing the students who may need some extra help to work in the ways they feel most comfortable.

Materials: Decorations for the desert and rainforest, student’s completed books, any materials the students choose to present their information, guests, video recorder, camera man

Imagination: The students will be using imagination to present their information. The students can be as creative as they wish. They are using imagination in decorating the classroom to look like a rainforest and desert.

Education for Democracy: The students will be working with one another to present their information. They will learn how to work with one another in groups of two, listen to others ideas, and compromise. The students will be working together as a class to decorate the classroom in the two different environments and prepare for the guests.

Click here to see Pictures from Culminating Activity

 

 

Resources

 

Teacher resources:

DaVolls, Andy and Linda. Tano and Binti; Two Chimpanzees Return to the Wild.

Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994.

Freedman, Russel. The First Days of Life. Holiday House, Inc., 1974.

Goodall, Jane. The Chimpanzee Family Book. The Jane Goodall Institute fro Wildlife

Research, Education and Conservation, 1989.

Johnson, Sylvia. Animals of the Tropical Rainforest. Learner Publications Company,

1976.

Napier, Prue and John. Monkeys and Apes. Time-Life Films, 1976.

Pratt, Kristin Joy. A Walk in the Rainforest. Dawn Publications, 1992.

Pringle, Laurence. The Gentle Desert; Exploring an Ecosystem. Macmillion Publishing

Co., Inc., 1977.

Selsam, Millicent. Animals as Parents. New York: William Morrow and Company,

1965.

Simon, Seymore. Deserts. William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1990.

Smith, Trevor. Eyewitness Juniors; Amazing Lizards. Dorling Kindersley Ltd., 1990.

Snedden, Robert. What is a Reptile?. Belitha Press Limited, 1994.

Sutton, Felix. Deserts. Wonder Books, 1965.

Ware, Kay. Reptiles and Amphibians. Maxton Publishers, 1957.

Wolff, Robert. Animals in Africa. The Lion Press, 1969.

Yolen, Jane. Welcome to the Green House. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1993.

 

Materials for lessons:

Initiatory activity: Paper, pencil, crayons

Lesson 1: picture of a chimpanzee, Welcome to the Green House by Jane Yolen, pictures of rainforests, big map with rainforests colored on it and chimps cutouts, map worksheets for each student, big diagram with layers of rainforests and chimp cutouts, rainforest layers worksheets for each student

Lesson 2: picture of a gila monster, sand and cactus, big map with rainforests and deserts colored on it and gila monsters cutouts, map worksheets for students (which they already have marked rainforests on), blank chart for differences between rainforests and deserts, paper, pencils, crayons

Lesson 3: Song, book, poster board, drawing paper

Lesson 4: tour of animal shelter, paper, pencils, crayons, name and address of animal shelter

Lesson 5: Mouse, eggs, chimp’s poster board, chalkboard, food pictures, tape

Lesson 6: The Chimpanzee Family Book by Jane Goodall, paper, crayons, recording of chimpanzee sounds

Lesson 7: picture of Gila monster, picture of baby Gila monster hatching, paper Gila monster eggs, comparison chart of baby Gila monster and baby chimpanzee

Lesson 8: scientist, live mouse, live turtle, paper, crayons

Lesson 9: Guitar, chalkboard/poster board, drawing paper, worksheets

Lesson 10 (Culminating Activity): decorations for the desert and rainforest environments, the students’ completed books, any materials the students chose to use to present their information, guests, video recorder and cameraman

 

 

 

Click here to go back to My Homepage