In this unit of study students will explore the world of minibeasts and along the way they will discover the important role that these creatures play in our lives. They will decide whether the world would or could survive without their chosen minibeast and will present their conclusions to the class. Students will investigate the characteristics and habitat of a minibeast of their choice and create a table-top minibeast zoo for the classroom. At the conclusion of the unit they will invite visitors into their classroom to visit their zoo.
In this unit, students use the Showing Evidence and Visual Ranking Tools to enhance their learning, and to help them compare perspectives and form conclusions.
View how assessment is used in this unit plan. These assessments help students and teachers set understandable goals, monitor student progress, provide feedback, assess thinking, performance and products and reflect on learning throughout the activities.
Students’ Prior Knowledge
Teachers’ Professional Learning
1. Preparing for the Unit
2. Introducing the Unitit
Throughout the unit read books and websites to students that illustrate the way minibeasts affect our lives. Include information that refers to the food chain, the characteristics of minibeasts, their habitats and their place in the ecosystem.
Are the little things in life as important as big things?
Creating and Exploring
What is the best environment for a minibeast?
What is a minibeast? Is a mini-beast really a mini beast?
The wondering wall is an ideal place to also display the Curriculum Framing Questions so that students can keep referring to them as they are wondering and learning.
Minibeast Wondering Journal
In addition to the wondering wall students keep a wondering journal to individually record things they have learnt and wondered. Encourage them to record thoughts that are memorable to them as they participate in the unit. These may be facts, ideas, images or conversations.
5. Defining and Sorting
What is a minibeast?
What differences between the animals do you notice?
6. Listing and Deciding
How do minibeasts affect our lives?
Wondering Wall - Continue daily visits to the wondering wall to maintain interest and challenge students to keep asking questions, thinking and searching for answers.
Are the little things in life more important than the big things?
How does knowing about the food chain help us answer our Essential Question?
What is the role of minibeasts in the ecosystem?
What are the characteristics of a minibeast?
9. Assessment Task
1. basic information about their minibeast - image, facts, habitat, place in food chain, sustenance needs, predators
2. arguments for why it should not be eradicated
3. arguments for why it should be eradicated
4. their opinion
In order to assist students to prepare their argument and supporting presentation the teacher may employ a number of strategies and tools.
Preparing, Thinking and Questioning
Project Name: Save the Flies
Prompt: Should we save the fly?
Sharing and Presenting
Once all group presentations have been made, have students use the Visual Ranking Tool to rank the minibeasts in order of importance. Student should form conclusions based on what other students have presented, a judgment of the facts and how powerful their persuasion has been. Have groups then compare their ranking and justifications with another group.
How do minibeasts affect our lives?
Project Name: Manage My Minibeast
Question: Which minibeasts will affect my occupation?
10. Creating and Presenting
To complete the unit the teacher may have students reflect on the activities of the day and the unit using photos and recording. Students could write an article for the school newsletter or local newspaper. The teacher may also have students write a reflective piece for their MiniBeast Wondering Journal, classblog or for display.
The teacher will also bring students back to the Essential Question through a final time of pondering/wondering.
Have we answered our Essential Question?
Are some little things in life more important than big things?
Students with special needs
English as a second language (ESL) students
Anne Baird, Deirdre McKenzie and Tanya Chalmers participated in the Intel® Teach Program which resulted in this idea for a classroom project. A team of teachers expanded the plan into the example you see here.
© State of Victoria 2006
Anne Baird, Deirdre McKenzie and Tanya Chalmers attended an Intel Teach to the Future Essentials Course and provided the idea for this portfolio. Copyright is owned by the Crown in right of the State of Victoria. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for study or training purposes, subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source and no commercial usage or sale. Reproduction for the purposes other than those indicated above requires the written permission of the Department of Education and Training. Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and copyright should be addressed to the Liability Management Manager, Department of Education and Training, 2 Treasury Place, Melbourne, VIC, 3002
The State of Victoria accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any part of this material and bears no responsibility for any modifications made.
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Year: Levels 2, 3, 4 (Level 3, Victorian Essential Learning Standards)
Subject: Science, English, Information and Communications Technology, Thinking Processes
Time Needed: 10 – 12 weeks x 100 minutes per week