Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rainforest Inquiry Unit

Rainforest Unit, 3rd Grade
Essential Questions:
-          How do elements of the environment affect the rainforest?
-          How do my actions affect the environment?
-          What actions can I take to help improve the environment?
-          How is our impact on the rainforest represented on a smaller scale within our community?
This unit is about the ways the rainforest is affected by elements of the environment.  We touch on animal interactions within the rainforest (food chain) and the outside factors that affect the rainforest (like deforestation).  Students will learn the impact of their actions on the rainforest.  They will also learn what actions they can take to help conserve the rainforest.  The final project to check for understanding will involve the students developing a “green” program and researching what small steps can be taken in the classroom and community to improve the environment.  The experiences in this unit include writing persuasive letters, examining trends over time, and indentifying relationships between living things.
-          Students can explain the water cycle, the food chain, CO2 cycle and negative effects of pollution and deforestation.
-          Students can apply the knowledge they will gain through this unit to act to improve the environment.
-          Students will have perspective from the content of this unit to know how their actions affect the environment.
-          Students can empathize for animals in the rainforest who are losing their homes and to people who have fewer resources than they probably do.
-          Students will have self-knowledge to know the effect their actions have on the rainforest.  They will also know that they are probably not short on resources, but others are and conservation can help other places.
Third Grade Social Studies Standards:

-          Identify the impact of culture as it relates to living in a community.
-          Explain how people, places and environment influence living in a community.
-          Identify the impact of production, distribution and consumption on community life.
-          Give examples of the impact of science and technology on community life.
-          Gives examples of civic ideals and practices related to living in a community.

Third Grade Language Arts Standards:

  • Chooses to read independently
  • Uses a variety of reading strategies
  • Reads silently
  • Acquires new words and develops vocabulary
  • Selects books at an appropriate reading level
  • Reads fluently with expression
  • Reads for various purposes
  • Reads for meaning
  • Uses comprehension / critical thinking strategies
  • Chooses to write independently
  • Uses writing process to compose independently
  • Organizes and writes thoughts in logical sequence
  • Incorporates correct spelling into writing
  • Writes with appropriate use of mechanics
  • Expresses ideas clearly when speaking
  • Makes meaningful contributions to discussions
  • Listens attentively

Third Grade Library Media Standards:
  • Understands the concept of keywords
  • Differentiates between fact and fiction
  • Identifies main idea from selection read aloud
  • Uses both text and visuals to understand literature
  •  Selects resources based on interest, need and appropriateness
  • Respects others’ ideas and backgrounds and acknowledges their contributions
  • Practices proper care and handling of print and non-print media and equipment
Third Grade Science Standards:

Strand I: Construct New Scientific and Personal Knowledge
1.1 Generate reasonable questions about the world based on observations.
2.2 Develop solutions to unfamiliar problems through reasoning, observation, and/or investigation.
2.4 Develop strategies and skills for information gathering and problem solving.
3.2 Work with a team when doing science and share findings with others.

Strand II: Reflecting on Scientific Knowledge
1.1  Develop an awareness of the need for evidence in making decisions scientifically.
2.1 Demonstrate scientific concepts through creative expression such as the language arts and fine arts.
3.2 Develop an awareness of and sensitivity to the natural world.

Strand III: Using Scientific Knowledge in Life Science
2.3 Describe life cycles of familiar organisms.
5. 1 Explain common patterns of interdependence and interrelationships of living things.
5. 2 Identify the basic requirements of all living things for survival.
5. 4 Describe positive and negative effects of humans on the environment.

Strand V. Using Scientific Knowledge in Earth and Space Science
1. 5 Describe uses of materials taken from the earth.
1.6 Demonstrate means to recycle manufactured materials and a disposition toward recycling.
2. 2 Trace the path that rain water follows after it falls.
2. 3 Identify sources of drinking water and describe uses of water.

Skills Learned:
- Working cooperatively as a group to brainstorm ideas
- Writing Persuasive Letters
- How to make a concept web using a non-fiction book
- Examining point of view in writing
- Designing a service announcement or flyer to improve community awareness
- Water Cycle
- CO2 Cycle
- Field trip to Nature Preserve: The School of the Wild where children learn about wildlife and the local environment
- Zookeeper comes in to discuss how the animals live and what resources they need


Students develop a going green project in groups to implement in school and the community.  It will be a program that they will design and present to the principal and possibly other classes.  They will design ways to get the information to other people such as brochures and posters. 

Skills that are checked for understanding:

-          Students know how to do persuasive writing. Is there evidence that the child is trying new writing ideas from the minlessons, such as the one on persuasive writing.
-          Students know the impact of their actions on the environment.
-          The students’ knowledge of at least one of the following topics is present in their final project: CO2 cycle, water cycle, food chain in the ecosystem, pollution, and deforestation.
-          Teacher will be kidwatching while the students progress through the unit to constantly check for understanding.
-          Are children interacting with their group members to effectively complete the project?


-          Cowcher, Helen. Rain Forest.  New York. Sunburst, 1988. Print. ISBN 60-606-04780-8
-          Pratt, Kristin Joy. A Walk in the Rainforest. New York. Dawn Publications, 1992. Print.
ISBN 1-878-26553-9
-          Marent. Rainforest. Dorling Kindersley Publishing Inc. 2010. Print. ISBN 0-756-66599-X
-          Canizares, Susan. Rainforest Colors. Scholastic, Inc. 2004. Print. ISBN 0-4391-5515-0
-          Base, Graeme. Uno's Garden. New York: Abrams for Young Readers, 2006. Print. (Math Curricular and Deforestation Fiction)
-          Povey, Karen D. Garbage. Detroit, MI: KidHaven/Thomson Gale, 2006. Print. (Garbage; what happens when it leaves your house? NF)
-          Thompson, Colin. Tower to the Sun. North Sydney, N.S.W.: Random House Australia, 2010. Print. (Futuristic, polluted, industrialized world Fiction)
-          Van, Allsburg Chris. Just a Dream. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990. Print. (A boy refuses to recycle until he has a terrifying dream about a planet crowded with trash Fiction)
-          Winter, Jeanette. Wangari's Trees of Peace: a True Story from Africa. Orlando [Fla.: Harcourt, 2008. Print. (True story of environmental activist Wangari Maaithai who finds that the forest in her hometown in Kenya is being cut down and her efforts to replant Historical Fiction)
-          http://www.epa.gov/kids/
-          Area, By Topic. "EE-Link Is Also EE-News and EE-Jobs!" Web. 07 Dec. 2010. <http://eelink.net/pages/EE-Link Introduction>. (Teacher Resources and Lesson Plans on Environmental Education)
-          "Kids Home Page." ClarkHome. Web. 07 Dec. 2010. <http://www.clarkswcd.org/Kids/KidsHome.htm>. (Informational site covering Conservation Soil/Water/Wildlife)
"Ollie Saves the Planet - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink for a Sustainable Environment." Ollie's World - Interactive Sustainability Resource for Kids. Web. 07 Dec. 2010. <http://www.olliesworld.com/planet/index.htm>.(Interactive Website for Kids Involving sustainability and resources along with teacher rescources)
-          Water as a Natural Resource
o   Water Smart: Water as a Natural Resource: Take away water from Earth and what do you have? Not much! That is the focus behind Water as a Natural Resource. This program raises awareness about the value of clean water on Earth. Students learn about the concepts of non-point source pollution and wastewater. They can also see how the water cycle links and provides a life source for all creatures. We examine how wetlands, watersheds, and ecosystems are affected by poor water quality. Different forms of water pollution are presented. Most importantly, a long list of examples is shown so that students can take an active role in preserving good water quality and reducing water waste. A true/false quiz at the program conclusion provides instant measurement of learning. Discovery United Streaming: http://player.discoveryeducation.com/index.cfm?guidAssetId=3832B29E-A46D-47EC-9A0B-7062296E8C12&blnFromSearch=1&productcode=US
o   “Water Smart: Water as a Natural Resource.” Welcome to Discovery Education. 2010. Web. 07 Dec. 2010. <http://my.discoveryeducation.com/>.

-          Ozone and Pollution
o   Weather Smart: Ozone and Pollution: Ozone is both good and bad for us, depending upon where it is. The two lives of this invisible gas are revealed in this enlightening program. We see that ozone is a natural part of our environment and protects us from ultraviolet radiation when it is high in the atmosphere. But when humans create ozone as a by-product of our activities, it becomes a big problem. Ozone affects the air and water quality and is responsible for acid rain. Animation shows what the "Ozone Hole" is, where it is, and why we should be concerned about it. Students learn that it is impossible not to pollute, but it is possible to reduce pollution. Tips that all of us can use to decrease air pollution are presented. Supporting materials stimulate investigation and give students ideas for measuring their own air quality. http://player.discoveryeducation.com/index.cfm?guidAssetId=E3203C99-D00E-42EE-8836-5B9BB6E7FDFE&blnFromSearch=1&productcode=US
o   “Weather Smart: Ozone and Pollution.” Welcome to Discovery Education. 2010. Web. 07 Dec. 2010. <http://my.discoveryeducation.com/>.

-          Endangered Species

o   Where Have All the Animals Gone? Endangered Species: The greatest threat to many animals today is caused by humans. Pollution, loss of habitat, human population growth, over hunting, black market activities, including poaching and exotic pet trade, have all affected many animals that are perilously close to extinction. Fortunately, many humans are making strong efforts to protect and help the living things that share this planet with us.
o   "Where Have All the Animals Gone? Endangered Species." Welcome to Discovery Education. 2010. Web. 07 Dec. 2010. <http://my.discoveryeducation.com/>.

-          Deforestation

o   Rainforest trees are being cut down for timber or to make room for plantations, a practice which threatens the natural environment and wildlife. This destruction may result in the eradication of plants that can be used to make medicines.
o   Citation: "Deforestation." Welcome to Discovery Education. 2010. Web. 07 Dec. 2010. <http://my.discoveryeducation.com/>.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Where I'm From

I am from learning to ride a bike in my house,
        from the arms of Michael Jordan,
        from toy photoshoots,
        from Lincoln Ave.
I am from shedding bark trees,
        from a yellow room,
        from side walk chalk study guides,
        from Hood Ave.
I am from Delton,
        from candy dishes and ice cream sandwiches
        from caged birds chirping,
        from bright blue eyes.
I am from the deepest heart,
        from the most drive,
        from everywhere.