This project combines all four aspects of STEM.
S: Animal Habitats
T: Zoo Research
E: Planning a Zoo
M: Area and Perimeter Calculations for Zoo
This project combines all 4 parts of STEM. It is separated into 2 lessons. Lesson 1 combines science and technology. Lesson 2 combines engineering and math. I like to do both lessons over the course of a day. I use Lesson 1 during my language arts block and then Lesson 2 during math.
Lesson 1: letter to class (can be copied off or written on chart paper), computers or tablets (works best with individuals or partners), chart paper, markers, notetaking sheet
Lesson 2: grid paper (free on TpT) 2 per student, 12x12 square construction paper, scissors, markers, crayons, glue, recording sheet, optional: Cuisenaire rods
This lesson starts out with a mysterious letter being delivered to the office. I have our secretaries get in on the fun. I leave the letter and all the supplies in an envelope in the office. Then have the secretaries call my class and say that I have a delivery. Send a student to retrieve it and while they are gone, we make predictions about what it could be. We open the envelope together and inspect the contents. Then we read the letter together and discuss the project. Lesson 1 begins with research. I explain that we will be using the internet to research the best possible ways to make a zoo. On chart paper, make a web about habitats. Be sure to include kinds of habitats and what animals would live in each habitat. Discuss why desert animals could not live in jungle habitats and so on. Additionally, discuss habitat placement within a zoo. Discuss what kind of animals would need a big habitat and which ones would need a small habitat. How would the exhibits best be displayed. Could a desert be next to an arctic tundra? Etc… Have the students record important things to think about on their notetaking sheet. Next, move onto the research phase. You can choose to use the links I have provided, or have the students find their own. You can also put them into Google Classroom as well. As they are researching, they should be recording their findings. Before you let them research, go over the notetaking sheet.
Lesson 2 (1-2 math periods)
Review your research findings, these can be recorded on a chart paper. This will help the students organize their zoo once it is finished. Have the letter handy so students will know what exhibits to make. Using graph paper, students will outline, label and lightly color each exhibit. Cuisenaire Rods can be used here to help students get the idea. When finished, they will cut them out and paste them on construction paper. On the construction paper, they should label each side of their exhibits with how many units. Exhibits could be square, rectangle, or any irregular polygon. Early finishers can draw in extras like walk ways, shrubbery, benches, vendors, etc… When the zoos are complete, students will fill out the recording sheet, showing their math and reasoning.