Great lesson. I'm sure the kids love learning about penguins, and I especially like the Antarctica graphic organizer.
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These activities were written for a group of gifted students who were reading Mr. Popper's Penguins.
- Copies of Mr. Popper's Penguins for each student
- Graphic organizers provided with this lesson
- A blackline master outline of a penguin
- Books, videos, and websites on Antarctica and Penguin species
- Copies of Sholastic's Rhyming Dictionaries
- Reading for details
- Using Inference
- Synthesizing information
- Comparing and contrasting habitats
- Describing features of their local habitat
- Understanding Animal Adaptations
- Analyzing fact and fiction in a fiction text
- Using literal and interpretive comprehension skills, students will keep a log of all descriptive clues about the penguins Mr. Drake sent to Mr. Popper.
- Next, students will study the characteristics of 17 species of penguins to determing which species Mr. Popper was raising. Students may begin their research on the Sea World Penguin Site, http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/penguin/physical-characteristics.htm [www.seaworld.org] or the Penguin Perfection site:http://www.freewebs.com/rockhoppers-rock/ [www.freewebs.com]
- Once students have determined that the penguins are Adelie penguins, have them research their Antarctic habitat. Use the Antarctica graphic organizer to record their research. Students may use books, videos, and websites you provide to complete this work.
- Next, have students research how Adelie penguin's physical and behavioral adaptations enable them to survive in the harsh Antarctic environment. (Use the Penguin Adaptation graphic organizer.) The following website has information you can use to supplement classroom books, videos, and resources: http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/science/cold_penguins.htm [www.coolantarctica.com]
- After completing their research students will compare and contrast the habitat of their local community with the Antarctic habitat. They will then be challenged to determine what they would have to do to enable an Adelie penguin to survive in their neighborhood. Students may present their research in a PhotoStory, PowerPoint, Video, or Google Earth Tour. They must include detailed information about the habitat Adelies need and the specific features of how they will create an environment in their community for them.
Create a rubric with the students so they will understand the important elements they must include in their work. Ensure one element of the rubric describes high quality expectations for their finished product. (scientific accuracy, provides for all the needs of the Adelie penguin, powerful writing, high level fluency for any recorded portions...)
Additional extension possibilities for your gifted learners:
1. After students research all 17 species and their habitats, challenge them to determine which one would be closest to the habitat of their community, or which species would require the fewest adaptations to survive in their community?
2. For students that love to write rhyming poetry, consider this extension.
Have them complete a Penguin Species Research page for each species of penguin. (If they need support to write creative poetry, consider having them take the online Poetry Writing Lessons from Jack Prelutsky at: http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/poetry/jack_home.htm [teacher.scholastic.com] )
Next, challenge them to write a poem for each species. The poem must include 3-5 distinguishing features of the species. Anyone reading the poem should be able to identify the species it describes. Type the poems and attach them to a black line outline of a penguin that the student has colored to match the species. Students may not use the name of the species in the title or body of their poems. The student in the photo attached to this lesson is holding samples of her penguin species poems. Students could also make a PowerPoint quiz using their poems.
Graphic organizers will be scored for accuracy.
The rubric will be used by the student to self assess his or her project. Then the class or teacher can also share how they would score the project using the rubric.