The Loch Ness Monster: Thematic Unit

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Thematic Teacher
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Thematic Teacher


Just when you think the Loch Ness Monster has been thoroughly debunked, another scientific expedition sets out to study the matter. Recently there have been a flurry of articles lamenting the fact that no new sightings have occurred in the last year! I've never taught any theme that generates more student interest, excitement, and personal involvement than themes related to natural mysteries. This integrated, thematic unit causes passionate discussion among students, in the classroom, on the playground, and in the neighborhood! It's a GREAT unit for the first few days of school, to leave for a substitute (detailed plans included), or to use sometime during the year when everyone needs a break from the routine.

Materials include

>Photography in the Wild, Study Cards

>Student Newspaper at two reading levels (grades 3-4, and grades 5-6)

>Reading, Math, Social Studies, and Science worksheets

>Vocabulary Bookmarks, Study Cards, and games to reinforce new words

>Research Cards

>Tracking Nessie Game Board

>Drawing Lessons (5)

>Art Project--read and follow directions

>Student Task Cards

Students will research Nessie sightings on the internet (or from books and articles you provide, as well as the included research cards), and create a class data base of sightings from the last 1,450 years. They will analyze, sort, and group the data base to learn more about scientific investigations. Then each student will write a newspaper account of the sighting they have researched. They will present their article to the class as a news broadcast, using the art project to illustrate their presentation.

The Loch Ness Monster was one of ten subjects selected by students, as something they would like to study if they could have a choice. I have taught this unit (although not always with these materials) with children from first grade to eighth grade, and it has never failed to stir up a flurry of scientific argument that often continues long after the unit ends!

Other Thematic Units for this grade level:

Cave Paintings and Petroglyphs

Art of the Pennsylvania Dutch

Total Pages
95 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. For example, draw a bar graph in which each square in the bar graph might represent 5 pets.
Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units-whole numbers, halves, or quarters.
Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Use operations on fractions for this grade to solve problems involving information presented in line plots. For example, given different measurements of liquid in identical beakers, find the amount of liquid each beaker would contain if the total amount in all the beakers were redistributed equally.
Partition shapes into parts with equal areas. Express the area of each part as a unit fraction of the whole. For example, partition a shape into 4 parts with equal area, and describe the area of each part as 1/4 of the area of the shape.
Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.


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