This activity reinforces non-fictional writing and artistic creativity. Students have the option of conducting research on an insect
bug they deem most intriguing. Depending upon student abilities level, they are to establish 8 to a maximum of 15 key questions to investigate.
Duration: Beginning in mid-September through month-end October. This time frame affords students time to visit the library and to conduct on-line research. Estimate that this writing effort will run for 3 ½ to 4 weeks, three days per week, 55 minutes per writing session. Allow room for possible deadline extensions.
Expository Writing Prelude. Grade 3 marks the beginning of young learners not only learning how to write engaging, non-fictional pieces, but how to take notes. Explain and model how to use non-fiction text features to find research info. Demonstrate how to record key words, facts, and brief descriptive phrases using Post Its. Show students how to keep a running list of newly-discovered, decipher word meaning using reading context clues, and how to use a dictionary to look up the definitions. Additionally, model and encourage students to make use of an outline. Within the allotted time frame, students should have acquired enough basic info to begin composing their first report draft. (The finalized report should be completed by Week 8; where required, extend the completion date, providing additional support to those students who need it).
Building Scientific Vocabulary
Throughout the implementation of this unit, I introduce my students to key, scientific vocabulary, emphasizing that they are learning "sophisticated, collegiate" terminology often used by entomologists. I routinely incorporate the lingo into daily classroom discussions. As a result, my students begin to embrace and make accurate use of the language. When creating their reports, encourage students to make use of scientific terminology. The following vocabulary represents a good starting point, to be expanded upon and included on a Science word wall as the unit progresses.
A Hands-On Complement
. Have students use their artistic a savvy to create a 3-D replica of their select insect in its habitat. A child's or woman's size shoebox, magic markers, acrylic and/or tempera paints, crayons, glue guns, recycled materials, and arts and crafts supplies can use to create the select insect and its habitat. (My students came up with ingenious insect creations that I proudly displayed during first quarter Parent/Teacher conferences.) Students are required to read their reports before the class, reading their work with demonstrated understanding, prosody, and poise.