Wessels Living History Farm - York Nebraska Learner Resources for the 1940s
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Online Lesson Plan
Nature Notes

  Susan Kelly  

Lesson Plan by who has taught science at both the middle school and high school levels for Lincoln Public Schools. She has written assessment and curriculum for LPS and has attained a Level II assessment certification. She has also served as a student teacher supervisor for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Subject Area:
Science
Suggested Grade Level:
Grades 9-12
Learning Modality:
Kinesthetic
Multiple Intelligence:
Logical-mathematical & Naturalist
Bloom's Taxonomy:
Evaluation
What are these educational concepts? What are these educational concepts?

   

Objectives

In this lesson, students will:

  • experience nature through an out of classroom experience;
  • ask questions about objects, organisms, and events in the environment;
  • refresh their powers of observation and encourage the use of the scientific method while taking a walk in the woods;
  • make descriptive journal entries.

Introduction

StandardsWe dashed out the door
To hug
The rain

To run on grass
That was drinking
Its fill

To hear the creek gurgle its faint new
Spill

To splash and to spin
Wet to the skin,
The wetter, the better
The very much wetter, the
Very much better.

Of all the days in that
Long July
      I remember –
      Who could forget? –

That glorious day
When our world was
Wet.

From Poems Have Roots, by Lilian Moore

Science should be experienced in unlimited ways!

Keeping a journal is one of the ways scientists remember their thoughts, record their observations, and interpret what they see. In this lesson, students will have the opportunity to leave the indoor classroom and experience science outdoors!

The Resources

Links from within the Wessels Living History Farm site. [Note that clicking on these links will open a new browser window. Just close it and you'll be back to this page.] Direct the students to these pages.

  • Biological Controls for an example of a way that living organisms interact in the environment, http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe40s/pests_06.html.

Resources from outside Wessels. Direct students to these Web sites and books that are produced by others outside of the Wessels Living History Farm. [Again, clicking these links will open a new window.]

  • Ostlund, Karen, and Mercier, Sheryl. Rising to the Challenge, the Processes of Science Inquiry. S and K Associates, 1996.
  • Writing in Science, Writing Across the Curriculum. Globe Fearon Educational Publisher, 1996

The Process

  1. Make descriptive observations about the abiotic conditions; include all of your senses.
    1. Is the wind blowing? How strong is it? Is it creating sound? Where is it coming from? What does it remind you of?
    2. What is the temperature? Describe the temperature without using numbers. Is it humid?
    3. Is there water nearby? How do you know? Go to the water area. What does it smell like? What color is the water? Is it moving?
    4. Is it cloudy? What percent of the sky is covered with clouds? Which types of clouds do you see? Draw the clouds.
    5. List sounds that you hear that make you feel angry, sad, beautiful, afraid, happy, tough etc.
  2. Rocks and soil.
    1. Give a physical description of the each including color, texture, and size.
    2. Feel the soil and describe it. Is it dry? Sandy? Moist?
    3. How do the rocks feel? Describe their size.
  3. Plants, trees and shrubs.
    1. Give a physical description of the leaves, shape and size. Are flowers visible? Are there thorns, cones etc.?
    2. What do the leaves feel like? The needles? Cones? Bark?
    3. What do the plants/shrubs smell like?
    4. Are there any living organisms present? Is the environment damaged in any way?

Learning Advice

If possible, try to visit an area with trees and water.

This activity can be assigned over a three-day weekend and done on student's time.

This activity can be meaningful if done in the fall, winter, and again in the spring.


Conclusion of the Lesson

We learn about place, our world, and ourselves by making observations and study of nature. We can learn as much from experience in the field as activity in the classroom.


Assessment Activity

Prepare a sketch or poem about something you experienced while outdoors.

Have students research and collect other poems about nature.

Submit a sample outline for a simple experiment based on something you experienced while outside. What is your question? What is your hypothesis? Include a simple procedure.

Select one item from your experience and answer the following:

  1. How many kinds of living things did you find?
  2. What was the biggest living thing you found? What was the smallest?
  3. What do you think you would find if you searched the same place next month? Six months from now? Next year? Now do it and take notes!

Collect materials from the environment and create some art from them. Create a piece showing: how ugly an environment can be; how beautiful an environment can be; how your environment makes you feel; the joy or sadness of your environment.

Find living and nonliving humorous things. Pantomime the things you found. Invent ways to bring more joy into your environment.

Find something in the environment that is increasing in number and something that is decreasing – and prove it! Write a poem in which the number of words per line increases and then write one in which the number of words per line decreases.


General Notes

Use the simple assessment rubric found in the Rising to the Challenge book for grades 5-8 to assess the questions from the 'process' section above.

Incorporate student evaluation of the artwork, pantomime, or poems.


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