What’s In Your Backyard? May 8, 2014Posted by bsciencecenter in Science Center.
Tags: habitats, investigation, Miss Pavlicek
One of my favorite acitvities with my elementary students is called “What’s In Your Backyard?” Our third grade students learn about plant and animal habitats as part of the life science curriculum. We start of the lesson by talking about what kinds of things scientists do (ask questions, discover, explore, create, build, and observe). Then students talk about what it means to “observe” something and how they use their 5 senses as part of their observation skills.
As a class, they brainstorm and make a list of animals that are found in their bakyard (the habitat they are most familiar with). I ask the students “how do they know that particular animal lives in your backyard?” We list the clues or evidence that animals can leave behind in nature that cues us in to the fact that they are around.
There are several numbered stations spread out around the classroom, which include artifacts or evidence that nature has left behind in their backyard (examples include feathers, footprints, antlers, nests, scat, acorns, woodpecker holes in a tree, trash).
The students then observe each object, record data about this object and answer why they think the item was left in their backyard.
At the end of the lesson students share their answers and have group discussions about why they think the object was in the backyard.
This activity helps students with observations skills, brings nature indoors and changes the way a student looks at the outside world. An exttension for this acitvity is taking the class ouside for a nature walk to look for similar clues or items in their schoolyard.