This cross curricular unit will be based around the grade 2 science unit for living things. In it students will learn about the various types of animals and their defining characteristics (such as mammals have fur and are warm blooded, birds have feathers and lay eggs etc.) and will incorporate elements of Science, Language, Visual Arts, and Physical Education. Students will be divided in to 6 small groups or pods with each pod representing a different major animal group (Mammals, Birds, Fish, Reptiles, Amphibians, and Insects). It would be a good idea prior to the beginning of the unit to poll student interest in animals so the students can be placed in a group that will fit their areas of interest (particularly for the insect group) as this will help avoid conflict of students being in a group that they don’t like.
As a culminating activity, students will apply the knowledge gained throughout the unit to complete a research poster on a chosen animal. This process will be carried through to language class where students will learn basic research skills such as how to find information for appropriate sources on the internet as well as books. The visual arts will also play a role in the culminating activity as students will learn colouring and shading techniques throughout the unit that will allow them to complete a drawing of their chosen animal to be included in their presentation.
For the Introductory activity, once students have been placed in their animal groups, they will be responsible to choosing an animal to represent their group (i.e. the mammals group chooses a Polar Bear, the birds group chooses an eagle etc.). With their groups they will then brain storm a list of ideas that make their animal representative unique and give reasons to the class why they chose them.
As a means to study the life cycle the class will be monitoring a jar of caterpillars and chart their metamorphosis into butterflies
Finally, Physical Education will be incorporated through activities designed to give the students a better understanding of how their own bodies move by having them mimic the movement styles of animals. These movements will first be practiced and then incorporated into familiar games such as red light, green light and charades to provide new twists on known activities.
The day after each animal group is introduced in Science, the read aloud story in language will featuring an animal from that group. For example the day after fish are introduced then the story in language will be the rainbow fish. Linking questions will be posed to the class after the story to tie it back to concepts introduced the day before.
During each science lesson Anchor charts will be created with the aid of the class to help learn the characteristics of each animal group or habitat. These charts will be posted around the class so they can be actively viewed by the students over the course of the unit. These charts will also contain a short list of examples of each animal group or locations around the world to represent the various habitats.
As a means to check student understanding, at the end of each Science class a fact trivia game will be played. In their animal table groups students will be asked to provide a new fact they learned during the lesson. If the fact has not been mentioned by the previous group, than the group providing the fact gets a point. If the fact has been mentioned, than no point will be awarded. In the interest of fairness it is recommended to cycle through the groups to ensure that every group gets at least one opportunity to present the first fact of the game. The group with the most points at the end of the unit will be allowed to select the games played in the final Physical education class of the unit.
As a formative assignment the students will be responsible for creating a game of 20 questions with their animal groups. Students will select a list of 5 animals and generate a list of questions that could be used to guess the other groups’ animals based on the information learned through the unit.
At the end of the unit students will be able to reflect on what they learned in the unit as well as their favourite part.