National Lakeshore Michigan
Students will use their senses, prior knowledge and imagination to identify as many living organisms as possible in specific habitats, while constructing a story about the interaction of those living organisms with each other and the surrounding environment.
Students will learn to use their senses in three different habitat settings on the local school grounds to identify specific living organisms in those environments. Each student will then use these organisms to create a story about the interaction of the organisms in their specific habitats, the activity will conclude with each student reading their story aloud. The class will evaluate the story based on the agreed upon criteria.
Diversity in each habitat is a concept that can be reinforced by allowing each student the chance to spend totally alone time in what is called a "magic spot." These spots will be located on the local school grounds or on the school forest property if one is available. Examples might include a wetland, upland or meadow near your school. In their "magic spot" students will explore the idea of organisms interacting with each other to form an ecosystem. This is a good time to tap into the students' creative urge to write by having them describe this interaction.
The major purpose of this activity is to allow the students the opportunity to use their scientific knowledge in an individual creative way. This activity will culminate in the students reading stories to the class and evaluating the stories themselves.
Notebook and writing utensil with any field guides or resource material needed to identify basic organisms in those habitats being used. Dry, warm clothing, boots and something dry to sit on are also recommended.
1. Students will be dropped off in each of three specific habitats near the school. Students will be at least 100 yards from one another to assure total privacy and eliminate any communication.
2. Students will choose a spot in which to sit. They will occupy that spot for 15 minutes in each of the habitats. They will record in their notebooks as many of the living things in that habitat as they can in that time period.
3. Students will then return to the room and be allowed the rest of the period to begin constructing a creative story relating the living organisms with each other. The same procedure should be used for each of the three habitats.
4. Remind the students to emphasize the interaction and importance of each organism to each other and how their interactions are important to the success of the ecosystem.
5. Criteria for evaluation will then be agreed to by each student and a rubric devised to use for that evaluation.
6. Students will then read their stories to the class for evaluation.
Students will use the rubric to evaluate the stories.