Monday, February 7, 2011

What color is a Polar Bear?!

We completed our study of Polar Animals last week.  Students dived into this unit.  We began with the study of Penguins.  We created a Schema/New Learning Chart to monitor our study.  I had introduced students to misconceptions back in November, so we created a spot for misconceptions.  I couldn't have planned a better learning opportunity. On Day One of our study, a student shared her schema:  Polar Bears are enemies to Penguins.  I added to a post-it and placed it under Schema.  I just couldn't wait for a student to realize that this was, in fact, a misconception.  The next day we read National Geographic for Kids Penguins.  I was reading about Penguins' enemies...Did you know that rats are enemies to some types of Penguins?!  As I was reading, I would add New Learning Post-its and revisit the Schema section.  I reread the student's statement on Polar Bears.  I paused for a minute and said "That's interesting.  This book mentioned several enemies, but never said anything about a Polar Bear.  I wonder why?"  I could see the kids thinking hard and all of a sudden a hand flew up.  He knew the answer...They can't be enemies because they live on the opposite sides of the world!"  That student got a "kiss my brain!"
 Though I do not have a picture of our Schema/New Learning chart, I do have a photo of our Penguin Tree Map.  We finished Penguins with an "All About Penguins" writing.  Inside the adorable penguins are the student's writing pieces.  (Thanks Mrs. Chitwood for creating the wonderful display!)

Now what color is a Polar Bear?  After several snow days, we finally were able to work with Polar Bears.  Students are always fascinated with this beautiful creature.  They just cannot believe that the skin of a Polar Bear is black and it's fur is actually colorless.  With our Polar Bear study, students created their own personal Polar Bear tree maps.  We displayed the tree maps with our Polar Bears.  To remind students that the Polar bear has black skin, we trace a Polar Bear on black construction paper and go over it with chalk.

We finished Polar Bears with a measurement and writing activity.  Students learned that the paw of an adult male can be up to 18 inches in length.  We created life-size paws and completed another "All About" writing.  As you can see I am out of room and have not displayed these.  I think I am going to turn them into a class book. 
It was such a fun unit!  Now we are studying Heart Health in celebration of Valentine's Day, using a Picture Perfect Science unit.  I will post photos soon.


Sarah Paul said...

Thanks for the polar bear ideas! We just finished our unit but I'll be using your ideas next year for sure. :)


PS. I have some other polar bear stuff on my blog if you want to take a look. :)

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