Giraffes—ok, so I am personally a big fan of this unique animal. At the time, I was teaching in
and I came across a program to ‘Adopt an Animal’ at the Houston Zoo – can’t you just see the light bulb going off in my head! For only $25, our school received a kit containing an adoption certificate, a photograph, a personalized Thank You letter, a fact sheet and magnet, and updates on our adopted giraffe. You can only imagine how excited our students were about this adoption (many had never even been to the zoo) –BIG HIT!
As the technology/science specialist, I would meet with the classrooms twice a week to work on our unit. The best part is that our lessons covered various subjects and standards. Some of the lessons we implemented (see attached documents for more ideas):
· Measuring and graphing our heights as compared to a giraffe
· Exploring the natural habitat of a giraffe and then recreating the habitat with a cardboard box (our 3D Serengeti)
· Investigating the life cycle of a giraffe
· Researching giraffes using unitedstreaming articles, videos, and images to be included in our final PowerPoint presentations
Quiz Builder and Assignment Builder were not yet launched when I was teaching, but these tools are a great way to assess your students! I think it is so convenient that you can print the quizzes you’ve created; this is especially handy if you have to share one computer lab with other classrooms.
See—you can take the most far-fetched idea and make it a reality in your classroom! The best part is that there are so many ways to modify this unit:
· Space (adopt a star)
· Olympics (at the end of the unit, have your students represent a country and take part in the Olympics)
· Plants (bring in a botanist—many local nurseries/research labs will do this for no charge)
· Explore the nationalities represented in your classroom (Show & Tell of artifacts and information found on unitedstreaming, use Google Earth to measure the distance between your school and another country, or even better—take part in a community of online collaborative classrooms/cross-cultural exchanges, such as ePals.com)
· And so on…
Who knew that teaching could be so creative and memorable for YOU and your students? Bonus… your curriculum standards are integrated in the lessons (how clever of you)!
Monika Davis, Discovery Education