I love to see photos of and hear about fabulous things teachers are doing in their classrooms. Some amazing teachers agreed to share their ideas for life science with all of you. ::applause::
Carrie G. from Iowa City, Iowa
During our Living Systems unit we learned about food chains. For decomposers (“grinders”), we made compost jars. We used red worms. Students researched habitats (temperature, soil, wetness, darkness – cut, black trash bags around jars), nutrients, anatomy, etc.
For record keeping over the 100 days we observed them, we recorded dates & what we fed , how many worms, changes in anatomy (clitellum ring– & eggs) , habitat observations like mold & mites, and of course babies!!
This was my first experience with composting so I learned all the dos and don’ts along with my 5th graders. The students brought in food & organic materials like paper, egg shells (aid in digestion ), etc. We did use some food left over from the lunch room too.
Life Cycles Zoo
Brittany C. from Dallas, Texas
At the start of our Life Science unit, I set up what my students call our “Crazy Organism Zoo.” They think we should charge admission for visitors! We use these organisms for first-hand observations of all Life Science concepts we cover including ecosystem interdependency, comparing life cycles, traits and adaptations, food chains and the carbon dioxide-oxygen cycle.
The students make observations of the organisms almost daily, and it really brings life science to life for them! The organism zoo includes an AquaFarm (fish on the bottom, plant growth on the top), African Dwarf Frogs, Texas Land Snails, aquatic snails, earthworms, Life in a Rotting Log kit, and many insects.
This activity focuses on comparing life cycles with a focus on differentiating between complete and incomplete metamorphosis. We have darkling beetles, super worms, crickets, praying mantises, and butterflies. The students observed each insect and recorded their observations. Since all the organisms are at different stages of their metamorphosis, I also have life cycle cards hanging on the wall.
From their observations, they have to decide what type of metamorphosis each organism is going through, cite their evidence why, and determine the current stage of metamorphosis the organism is in as well as what the next stage will be. I also have them examine the life cycle of our growing plants and our frogs and compare those cycles to the stages of metamorphosis.
By the end of our unit, students were able to see every stage of complete and incomplete metamorphosis in action. They especially enjoyed the mealworms. Most of them had no idea a mealworm turned into a beetle and were quite fascinated by its pupa stage. Students come to class every day excited to see what our organisms are up to, and I enjoy seeing all the connections they make during their observations.