A Collection of Science Activities


 
Developed By
Elaine Breton
Multiage Program
George J. Mitchell School
Waterville, Me. 04901
Tel.(207)873-095
e_breton@fc.wtvl.k-12.me.us

 

Plant Diagram

Getting to the Root of It

Book It!

Donít Bug Me

Dear Eric Carle,

I spy!

 

Task Title:"Plant Diagram

Grade Level:  K-2

Time Requirement:  45 minutes ? 1 hour

Curriculum Areas/Performance Indicators as listed in the Maine Learning Results document:
Science & Technology:
Students will:
A2  Describe characteristics of different living things.
C1  Demonstrate that living things are made up of different parts.
C3  Explore magnifying devices and how they allow one to see in more detail.
L6  Use objects and pictures to represent scientific and technological ideas.
English Language Arts:
 Students will:
 E1  Tell about experiences both orally and in writing.
 H3  Record and share information gathered.

Task Description:
The teacher will provide students with flowering plants from the Mitchell School playground area.  Students will serve as botanists as they complete 2 sketches of the plant provided.  The first sketch will be drawn using only the naked eye, while attending to as much detail as possible.  The second attempt will include the use of a magnifying lens to capture as much detail as possible.  The student will label each plant part using the following vocabulary:  root, stem, leaf, flower.  The students will to record their observations as the 2 completed sketches are compared to one another in writing.  These observations will then be to be shared orally with a fellow "botanist".

Student Products and Performances:
1. Two complete and labeled plant diagrams
2. Plant exploration using magnifying device
3. Written observations of sketch comparison
4. Oral presentation of lab report with peer

Teaching Materials/ARC Equipment Resources:
1. Drawing paper, pencils and crayons
2. A variety of plants from playground areas
3. Magnifying lens (one per student if possible)

Evaluative Criteria
Three separate scoring rubrics will be used to assess the student products/performances.

I. Product Rubric- Completed Plant Diagrams Scoring Rubric
Each completed sketch will be assigned 50 points.   A possible combined score can equal 100 points.  Each sketch must include:
 ___ (5 pts. each) recognizable plant parts for each of these plant parts: root, stem, leaf, flower (possible 20 pts.)
___ (10 pts.) evidence of labeling attempts for each plant part
___(5 pts. each) for the use of plant words correctly used:  root, stem, leaf, flower  (possible 20 pts.)

II. Performance Rubric- Use of Magnifying Device

___(10 points) Student will demonstrate correct use of  magnifying lens in order to observe assigned plant parts.
___(10 points each)  Second student sketch will demonstrate  increased appearance of each plant part.  (possible 40 points)
___(10 points each)  Second student sketch will demonstrate  increased detail for each plant part.  (possible 40 points)
___(10 points) Student will read written observations orally to a  peer.

III. Evaluation of Written Observations
The written piece will be assessed using the Waterville Developmental Writing Guide (K-5) in order to assess the 3 components of message, graphophonics and mechanics.

Task Title:  "Getting to the Root of It"

Grade Level:  K-2

Time Requirement:  45 minutes ? 1 hour

Curriculum Areas/Performance Indicators as listed in the Maine Learning Results document:
Science & Technology:
 B1  Identify ways that organisms depend upon their environment
K3  Make observations
K4  Participate in brainstorming activities
E2  Describe some physical properties of objects
C3  Explore magnifying devices and how they allow one to see in more detail
English Language Arts:
E1  Tell about experiences both orally and in writing.
H2   Formulate questions to ask when gathering information
H3  Record and share information gathered

Task Description:
The teacher will organize a whole group discussion in which students will discuss a variety of types and purposes for the root structures of plants.  A guided discussion must touch upon: 1) the roles of the root in sustaining life for the plant, 2) predictions regarding what would happen if the root were injured/removed from the plant, 3) physical looks of a variety of root structures (ie. main root, root hairs, etc.), and 4) discussion around what plants need in order to grow and reproduce.  This information can also be presented in the form of a read aloud using a number of pieces of student literature available to support this topic.
Once this background information has been provided, each student will be given an opportunity to look at a variety of root structures using a microscope.  Each student will describe the physical attributes of the root structures while the information is recorded by the teacher on chart paper.  Students will review/read aloud the chart once this activity is completed.

Student Products and Performances:
1. Written description of the physical characteristics of plant roots
2. Plant root investigation using magnifying device (dissecting microscope)
3. Student participation in group discussion of plant roots

Teaching Materials/ARC Equipment Resources:
1. Chart paper and magic markers
2. A variety of plant roots from playground areas
3. 3 dissecting microscopes
4. microscope slides of root hairs (available through ARC)
5. Variety of student literature related to topic

Evaluative Criteria
 Student Performance will be evaluated according to the following criteria.  Level of participation/understanding is determined by completion of all three components demonstrated by student using teacher observation practices for assessment.

High Level of Participation/Understanding
____Student will be expected to participate a minimum of three times during both the whole group discussion and student brainstorming of responses to teacher questions related to root structure, physical appearance and purpose.
____Student will be expected to correctly use microscope one or more times while observing prepared slides.
____Studentís observations of slides will reflect 2 or more root-related comments to be recorded on chart paper by either student or teacher.

Acceptable Level of Participation/Understanding:
 ____Student must participate at least once during both whole group discussion and student brainstorming of responses to teacher questions related to root structure, physical appearance and purpose.
____Student will be expected to correctly use microscope at least once while observing prepared slides.
____Studentís observations of slides will reflect one root-related comment to be recorded on chart paper by either student or teacher.

Unacceptable Level of Participation/Understanding:
____Student chooses not to participate in any part of whole group discussion or student brainstorming of responses to teacher questions related to root structure, physical appearance and purpose.
____Student uses microscope inappropriately during observation of prepared slides.
____Student does not make comment(s) to be recorded on chart paper.

Task Title:"Book It!"

Grade Level:  K-2

Time Requirement:  60-90 minutes

Curriculum Areas/Performance Indicators as listed in the Maine Learning Results document:
Science & Technology:
C1  Demonstrate that living things are made up of different parts
C3  Explore magnifying devices and how they allow one to see in more detail
E2  Describe some physical properties of objects
E3  Group objects based on observable characteristics
K3  Make observations
K6  Discover relationships and patterns
L1  Describe and compare things in terms of number, shape, texture, size, weight, color, and behavior
L6  Use objects and pictures to represent scientific and technological ideas.

English Language Arts:
 E1  Tell about experiences both orally and in writing.
 H2   Formulate questions to ask when gathering information
 H3  Record and share information gathered
 

Task Description:
 Students will take on the role of "plant surgeons" as they dissect a variety of wild flowering plants provided by the teacher.  The teacher will ask students to sort out this collection of plant parts into plant part groups (seeds, roots, stems, leaves, flowers). Once this part of the lesson is completed, students will discuss their reasons for placing the plant parts into the various groupings.  Their justification should include the similarities and differences of physical characteristics among the items in each group.  The teacher will encourage the use of expected plant terminology. As each group is reviewed, students can use magnifying lens to make accurate observations of plant details.  The plant cell model and dicot flower model will also be presented as teaching tools for listing characteristics and describing functions of each plant part.
Next, the student will be given a set of 5 prepared book pages (samples provided in "Additional Resources" section of this document) which name and describe a plant part and its primary functions.  The students will correctly pair a member of each plant part group to the matching description book page.  Once all correct matches have been checked by the teacher, the student can use clear adhesive tape to adhere the plant part to the corresponding plant page. Additional pages will serve as the front cover, title page and dedication page of this book and will be illustrated by the student. The end product will result in a book about plants using real specimens.  This book will then be shared in read alouds with peers, teacher and family members.

Student Products and Performances:
1. Dissection a flowering plant
2. Investigation of plant cell model and dicot flower model for the purpose of background knowledge
3. Participation in group discussion of plant parts
4. Sorting plant parts into groups using reasoning skills
5. Completed booklet describing plant parts and functions including real plant specimens
6. Sharing the completed plant book with peers, teacher and family members

Teaching Materials/ARC Equipment Resources:
1. Colored 8 x 10 oaktag paper (8 sheets per student)
2. Crayons, markers or colored pencils
3. A variety of wild flowering plants from surround school area
4. Magnifying lens (optional)
5. Prepared book pages naming/describing plant part and its function (attached)
6. Plant cell model
7. Dicot Flower Model

Evaluative Criteria
The scoring guide for these 2 pieces totals 100 points.  Suggested ranges of achievement are as follows:
90-100 Superior Product/Performance
80-90 Adequate Product/Performance
70-80 Minimal Expectations Met
Below 70 In need of further support for concept attainment

Student Performance
____(10 pts.) Student correctly dissects flowering plant into 5 assigned parts
____(5 pts. each) Student sorts plant parts into each of the 5 designated plant part groups (possible 25 points)
____(10 pts.) Student participates in discussion regarding physical characteristics of plant parts
____(10 pts.) Student reads aloud completed booklet to a minimum of 2 audience groups

Plant Book-Student Product
____(5 pts. each) Each plant part is adhered to the correct plant book   page (possible 25 pts.)
____(10 pts.) Completed book cover to include: author, matching illustrations
____(5 pts. each) completed matching title page and completed dedication page for plant book

Task Title:"Donít Bug Me"

Grade Level:  K-2

Time Requirement:  60-90 minutes

Curriculum Areas/Performance Indicators as listed in the Maine Learning Results document:
Science & Technology:
Student will:
C1  Demonstrate that living things are made up of different parts.
C3  Explore magnifying devices and how they allow one to see in more detail.
D4  Describe ways in which individuals of the same species are alike and different.
K3  Make observations.
L5  Make and read simple graphs.
Mathematics:
   Student will
 A1  Demonstrate an understanding of what numbers mean.
 C2  Make tallies and graphs of information gathered from immediate
 surroundings.
I1  Classify sets of objects into two or more groups using their attributes.

English Language Arts:
    Student will:
 E1  Tell about experiences and discoveries, both orally and in writing.
 H3  Record and share information gathered.

Task Description:
 Students will be given treasure boxes (magnifier boxes) and taken out on an "Insect Hunt".  Once students have been successful in capturing an insect inside each magnifier box, the insects will be taken into the classroom temporarily so that data can be collected/recorded. The data will be organized in a variety of ways.  Each student should sketch their insect being sure to include and label the following animal parts: head, thorax, abdomen, 6 legs, antennae, and wings if there are any.
 First, a tally chart can be used in order to get a  total for the number of insects being borrowed from Mother Nature. Secondly, a bar graph can record how many members of each insect group were discovered (ie. ants, beetles, moths, etc.) Thirdly, a Venn Diagram can be created to separate winged insects from those without wings.  The Venn Diagram will also be used to describe ways in which individuals of the same species can be alike and different.
Once all of these charts have been completed, the insects should be returned to the outdoors.  The students will take turns making observations and sharing discoveries orally in a group discussion.

Student Products and Performances:
1. Insect sketch
2. Tally chart
3. Bar graph
4. Venn diagram
5. Group discussion
 

Teaching Materials/ARC Equipment Resources:
1. Drawing materials
2. Magnifier boxes
3. Chart paper for graphs and diagrams
4. Butterflies of North America displays
5. Insects

Evaluative Criteria
Assessment Checklist-
The student must complete all tasks listed in order to achieve minimum expectations.

Students will:
 ___collect an insect using a  magnifier box.
 ___sketch insect including all assigned parts labeled.
___participate in adding data to tally chart.
___participate in adding data to bar graph.
___participate in adding data to Venn diagram.
___orally share observations/discoveries made about data collected.

Task Title:"Dear Eric Carle, "

Grade Level:  K-2

Time Requirement: three 30 minute sessions

Curriculum Areas/Performance Indicators as listed in the Maine Learning Results document:
Science & Technology:
Student will:
A3 Explain, draw, or otherwise demonstrate the life cycle of an organism.
C1  Demonstrate that living things are made up of different parts.
C3  Explore magnifying devices and how they allow one to see in more detail.
D3  Draw or describe ways in which an organism can change over its lifetime, sometimes in predictable ways.
D4  Describe ways in which individuals of the same species are alike and different.
K3  Make observations.
Mathematics:
Student will:
C2  Make tallies and graphs of information gathered from immediate
 surroundings.
English Language Arts:
Student will:
B4  Distinguish between fiction and nonfiction.
E1  Tell about experiences and discoveries, both orally and in writing.
E2  Respond to stories both orally and in writing.
G1  Dictate or write stories or essays which convey basic ideas, have sequences that make sense, and show evidence of a beginning, middle, and ending.

Task Description:
(Session 1)  The students will listen to the teacher read aloud Eric Carleís, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and will then begin an investigation of the butterfly so that they can create/send a letter to Eric Carle pointing out what pieces of his book are fiction and which are non-fiction or scientific errors.
 Students will be given nets (if the season permits) in order to capture a few butterflies from a nearby field. This insect collection can be placed carefully in jars for a brief period of investigation.  Photographs or drawings of these butterflies can also be done at this time. The Insect Metamorphosis Demonstrations and the Butterflies of North American Displays will also provide nice models for "real butterflies".
(Session 2)  A detailed drawing of the real butterfly specimens need to be compared to the illustration of Eric Carleís butterfly.  A paragraph dictated or written by students, can be drafted following this comparison. A Venn diagram can be constructed in order to organize this comparison. The life cycle of the butterfly will be reviewed using the Insect Metamorphosis demonstration or any nonfiction piece of literature explaining the stages of this process. Further comparison can include use of prepared slides of a butterfly wing with the use of a microscope.  Another paragraph can be drafted at that time to compare the real terminology vs. Eric Carle depiction of those stages (Note:  E. Carle refers to the crysalis stage as a cocoon in his book).
(Session 3)  Once enough information/feedback has been gathered and recorded, a letter will be drafted and brought to completion (using writing process stages).  This letter can be sent the old-fashioned way or via e-mail at Eric Carleís website.

Address:  Eric Carle
P.O. Box 485
Northampton, MA 01060
Or,
http://www.eric-carle.com
 

Student Products and Performances:
1. Sketches/Photographs of butterflies
2. Venn diagram comparing real and illustrated butterflies
3. Various drafts reflecting discoveries made during comparisons
4. Completed Letter to Eric Carle

Teaching Materials/ARC Equipment Resources:
1. Drawing materials
2. Dissecting microscopes
3. Microscope Slides:  butterfly wing
4. Butterflies of North America displays
5. Chart paper for student dictation
6. Insect nets
7. Insect Metamorphosis demonstrations
8. Clear plastic containers with lids
9. A copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Evaluative Criteria
 The studentís performance will be assessed using the criteria listed below.  All tasks must be completed in order for student to attain required score.

___listened to read aloud of  The Very Hungry Caterpillar
___attempted made to capture butterfly specimen carefully
___completed sketch of real butterfly
___participated in class discussion of similarities/differences between 2 butterflies one or more times
___worked cooperatively with other group members during draft of letter to Eric Carle
___attempted (one or more) to participate in the completion of letter put through writing process stages

Task Title:"I Spy! "

Grade Level:  K-2

Time Requirement: two 45 minute sessions

Curriculum Areas/Performance Indicators as listed in the Maine Learning Results document:
Science & Technology:
Student will:
A1  Identify the differences between living and non-living things.
A2  Describe characteristics of different living things.
A4  Design and describe a classification system for objects.
C1  Demonstrate that living things are made up of different parts.
E3  Group objects based on observable characteristics.
K3  Make observations.
Mathematics:
 Student will:
 I1  Classify sets of objects into 2 or more groups using their attributes.
English Language Arts:
   Student will:
E1  Tell about experiences and discoveries, both orally and in writing.

Task Description:
 (Session 1) The student will participate in an outdoor version of the popular game, "I Spy!"  In a 5 minute period of time, the student will list on paper (using words or drawings) all that they see in the surrounding area.  This list can include anything (ie. pavement, fencing, plants, clouds, etc.)  Once students return to the classroom they will share the list as the teacher records each item on a 3 x 5 card.  These cards will be displayed on a bulletin board or comparable space.  The teacher will then read from a dictionary a working definition of "life" or "living" in order for students to formulate an understanding of the characteristics necessary for an item to be living or non-living. The students will then apply this concept to the cards listed on the bulletin board in order to sort all of the cards into the 2 established groupings.
(Session 2)  Once all the living things have been identified, the group of "living things" can be further divided into subsets of "plants" and "animals".  The teacher will use either the dictionary or a piece of student literature to explain and list the characteristics related to each of these 2 new groupings.  Students will be expected to use this information as they justify the placement of each card under the selected heading.  When all the cards have been placed, students will report out the observations made.

Student Products and Performances:
1. Student listing of "I Spy" items
2. Sorting cards into the categories of "living" and "non-living"
3. Sorting cards from the group of "living things" into subsets of "plants" and "animals"
4. Stating observations of data collection and sorting

Teaching Materials/ARC Equipment Resources:
1. 3 x 5 cards, magic markers
2. Student notebooks or clipboards/pencils
3. Field magnifying lens
4. Chart paper for student dictated observations

Evaluative Criteria
 Achievement Standards:
 5-6 pts.-High Level of Participation
 3-4 pts.-Acceptable Level of Participation
 1-2 pts.-Unacceptable Level of Participation

___Student generates list of 20+ items during "I Spy" activity
___Student shares "I Spy" list with classmates as teacher records on   3 x 5 cards
___Student participates in sorting of cards into "Living" and "Non-Living" members at least twice
___Student states one or more characteristic of a living thing
___Student successfully places 2 or more cards correctly under the headings of "Plants" and "Animals"
___Student states justification for each card placement


This curiculum project was funded by the Colby Partnership for Science Education, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Bell AtlanticFoundation.