Monday, December 23, 2013

Penguin Habitats

Last week we studied penguins.  You can see a bit about our week here.  Today I want to share the end of our PBL (Project-Based Learning) with you.

We spent the first couple days asking and answering questions.  As students asked questions, I wrote them on chart paper.  Prior to reading a book or looking at a website, we reviewed the questions we had asked.  When we found the answer to a question, a sharing stick was chosen, and that student recorded our answer (with the help of our information source and their friends).  

Students also completed a flip book about penguins.  They loved writing in these!  The headings included: eat, fun facts, draw and label a penguin, live.

I used a drawing book to show students step-by-step how to draw a penguin.  They did a great job!

We used a crayon to outline where penguins live.

After spending a couple days learning about penguins and getting our questions answered, we began working in small groups to build penguin habitats.  Each group was given a shoebox to create their habitat.  Students begin by painting their boxes.  Blue for the water; white for a snowy background.  Students were in groups of 3 or 4.  They did a nice job sharing the paint brushes and working together on their design!

While the paint was drying, we started to make our penguins.  For the penguin chicks, we used tan pipe cleaners and pompoms.  The adult penguins are made from Crayola Model Magic.  Both penguins had wiggly eyes and pipe cleaners for beaks.  

The penguin chicks were pretty easy.  Each student was given 1/2 of a pipe cleaner.  We used the "crazy-looking" kind that have 4 sets of really thick "fur" and pipe cleaner in between.  Students just wrapped the pipe cleaner up to form a "blob" looking shape.  They then glued a pompom on top.  I put dots of tacky glue on for them to glue the eyes and the beak.

Here is a little guy before his eyes and beak were attached.
The adult penguins were made with step-by-step instructions from me.  I'm not a very "artsy" person, so this was quite an accomplishment!  I'll do another post soon with step-by-step (with pictures), but I don't have those pictures here.  Some of them came out very flat; these students didn't seem to understand the idea of 3-D.  

After making our penguins, we put them on a paper plate labeled with the names of the group members.  Later that afternoon, after the paint in the habitats was dry, we set up our habitats for all to see.  These were placed in the hallway.  I made a little "guestbook" for people to sign and leave comments.  We also invited 2 classes to visit our room.  We shared our penguin writing with them and told them about how we created our habitats.  7 families came in to see our habitats too.  

A close-up of a completed habitat.
It was a great week of learning!  Are you going to Las Vegas this summer to I Teach K?  I'm presenting about Project-Based Learning.  You can see some of these little guys in person!  A couple of my sweet kiddos made me an extra set of penguins to bring with me.  One asked me if the penguin would get to ride in my seat with me on the plane.  I told him he would have to ride in my luggage.  He didn't seem to think that was fair to the penguin. :)

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