|African Adventure Safari: Grade 4-5, Life Science Project
Learner naturalists help safari guests learn about diversity, interdependence, and wonder of life in the African wild.
Learners use ICT to gather information and create a safari field guide and a multimedia presentation allowing them to share their learning with a wider audience. Additionally, they are encouraged to extend their learning by creating a webssite to share what they have learned with a broader audience.
Higher-Order Thinking Skills
After collecting information about African animals, learners synthesize information to “become” that animal and take on their perspective. Learners take knowledge of what they have learned from their research and apply it to the creation of a field guide and multimedia presentation. Classroom discussions lead to higher levels of thinking prompted with Curriculum-Aligned Questions. A K-W-L chart encourages investigative thinking throughout the project.
Varied Teaching and Learning Strategies.
- Prior Knowledge: Prior knowledge is assessed at the beginning of the project with a brainstorming game to get learners thinking about African animals. Next, a Know-Want to Know-Learned chart elicits questions based on learners' curiosity. Finally, learners create a chart of prices for familiar items, such as food and clothes. This initial knowledge is transferred to their investigation of the project theme question: What is the price of life?
- Graphic Organizers: Visual organizers are incorporated throughout the project. The project begins with group and class created lists to accompany the brainstorming process. K-W-L charts, class made and individually made, are referred to throughout the project and then revisited when the project is over to celebrate the knowledge gleaned about African animals. A storyboard planning sheet helps learners with the design of their multimedia presentation.
- Cooperative Grouping: Learners work in collaborative teams to brainstorm African animals and discuss the Focus Question. Cooperative teams work together to offer peer feedback on their field guide work. Learner teams also collaborate to complete the website.
- Peer and Teacher Feedback: Teachers meet with learners for discussions to give specific, individual feedback as they are researching their African animals. Rubrics communicate progress when final products are assessed. Learners exchange feedback when they share drafts of their field guide writing.
- Recognition: Learners get recognition through the publication of their field guide. Learner slideshows are shared with other classes, parents, and invited guests through a virtual safari showcase. The learner’s follow-up paragraphs and reflections are viewed by parents and other classmates as portfolio pieces. Learners also receive recognition through their website.
- Questioning: Discussion of Focus and Content Questions provides questioning throughout the project. As learners fill out the K-W-L chart they are repeatedly asked, What do you know?, What do you want to know?, What did you learn? further probing them to think at higher levels.
- Modelling: The teacher models the research steps and presents models for exemplary work with a learner sample presentation and field guide. A class K-W-L chart is completed and modeled before learners work on individual charts.
- Classroom Management: The learners use computer templates and storyboard planners to create their field guide pages and multimedia presentations. This allows for quick and easy assembly.
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