The First lesson
This lesson will provide students with vocabulary and strategies necessary to complete and understand the purpose of the field journal. We will read a chapter on ecology and some of the terminology utilized in this area.
Goal: To help students to comprehend what is ecology?
Students will be able to explain what is studied in the field of ecology
Students will be able to explain what a is bio-blitz
Students will be able to describe what is a field or a nature journal
Presentation: Teacher will explain the purpose of the unit and the importance to developing nonfiction writing skills. The teacher will model some organizational skills needed to create a data bank of observations and information research. An example of information is taking a leaf from the field and drawing it labeling its parts, documenting color, texture, and where it was found. Also one may add a personal connection, something that comes to mind when one encounters this plant.
Practice: Students will be provided with several stations of information on ecology, a station to build their field journal, a station for a personal writing piece on their take on nature. While they are engaged at the stations the students will mimic the organizational skills introduced by the teacher and will commenced to build their data bank.
Conclusion: Students with the teacher will go outside and chose a square of the backyard to conduct a bio-blitz and describe what life they can find in their particular square. They will record the data utilizing some of the strategies already introduced.
Homework: Students will choose a plant that they may find in their school or home backyard for study. They must have a drawing, name and a brief description of the plant.
Explanation: in this lesson students will be exposed to new vocabulary and strategies for observation and data gathering. This should address the need to increase and strengthen students' scientific inquiry skills and understanding. In addition, nature journaling will be introduced as a means of a field journal. The aim of this activity is to develop the students' awareness of the world that surrounds them. They will be asked to record observations, perceptions and predictions (possible explanations on habitat relationships). The learning about ecology will increase my students' awareness on how organisms' relationships support biodiversity. My intention is to introduce to them how human actions can increase or decrease biodiversity and the importance of biodiversity to sustain life as we know it.
The second lesson
Students will be able to write good descriptions of their surroundings
Students will be able to draw some elements in nature
Presentation: Teacher will read a description previously written of a place in nature that the students have not visited. Together with the group teacher will create a description of the classroom; prompting students to construct sentences.
Practice: Students will take a look at their bio-blitz done in the previous class and add any desire details they may recall they missed (three minutes). Following, with a partner, students will ask a series of questions that will enable to visualize each other bio-blitz better. Students will share with the rest of the class.
Conclusion: Students will work on a drawing of all or some of the elements of their bio-blitz.
Homework: Make a detailed drawing of the plant students are studying individually.
Explanation: The students will have a choice of ways to record their observations. They can utilize prose, poetry, drawings, photographs, tape recordings. They should also include information gather from other sources to enhance their observations. Finally, they must include a connection to environmental impact of human activity of the area they observe. I hope to help them compare and learn from each other journaling strategies to increase their ability to communicate their observations and perceptions and to make connections that are based on sound scientific principles. Journal writing should enhance the students' ability to do: scientific observation, creative and technical writing, layout and presentation of ideas, perception and analysis, reflection, questioning, and synthesis (Leslie & Roth, 2000).
The third lesson
Students will be able to describe morphological and functional characteristics of the plants living in the square they have been observing.
Presentation: Teacher will read samples of descriptions of the flora encounter in New Haven, including visual representations and any other examples of descriptive data collection.
Practice: Students will be able to work on the data they have been collecting for homework. They need to describe their chosen plant to a partner and submit their drawings and information to share with others. In pairs they will create a poster about each other plant to exhibit in the classroom.
Conclusion: Students will describe the process to learn to write about nature and they will share any questions they have and everyone else is responsible to help answer the question.
Homework: Student gathers information about the plant they are studying in terms of functional characteristics, such as reproduction, nutrition etc.
Explanation: This lesson will focus on individual projects that are very specific to help deepen the understanding of the students on research, both the inquiry process and developing a background of information that supports their observations. As my students complete their projects and journals other lessons will address their specific needs skills and understanding.