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Running head: RATIONALE

Education 535 Assignment #1 Rationale (Julie, Winnie, Sharondeep, Supreet)


Introduction
For the purposes of this assignment, we chose to focus on the Grade 1 curriculum for
science. Specifically, we chose to look into the Needs of Animals and Plants unit. We focused
our study on animals and the concept of survival. This led to the overarching question: When an
animals environment is no longer the same, how does the animal adapt to change?. We believe
that this is a good question because it allows children to delve into questions and topics that are
intriguing and engaging, such as the interruption of an animals lifestyle, adaptation to such
change, and basic survival.
This inquiry topic raises importance to the world because it discusses different
environments and how changes take place within them and require animals to adapt to new
conditions for their survival. As the kids discover these facts and more, they begin to
comprehend that the world around them is constantly changing and is extremely varied in its
conditions. Furthermore, through the childrens continual interaction with their local
environment and observation of how animals in their backyard adapt to environmental changes,
students are able to make many connections between their learning and the world around them,
as well as see the relevance of their new-found knowledge to both themselves and those around
them.
Subtopics within this inquiry topic may also include various environments, such as
desert, ocean, arctic, or rainforest, the different foods that animals eat and need to survive,
human effect on animals, and the difference between domestic and non-domestic creatures.
Topics and subtopics such as these also encourage a great amount of inquiry and collaboration
among the students and allow them to learn from one another and build off each others ideas.

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Furthermore, research into these subject areas allow kids to explore the different disciplines
involved, such as zoology, oceanography, conservationism, environmentalism, and meteorology.
Overall, we believe that the topic of animal survival will be appreciated by young learners, as it
is extremely open to experimentation, hands-on opportunities, creativity, collaboration, and,
above all, inquiry.
Curriculum Ties
Our topic connects to the Government of Albertas Grade 1 Curriculum Overview in
many ways:
Science:

Interpret the effects of seasonal changes on living things (Government of Alberta,


2008): The science curriculum is very interrelated as we can discuss seasonal changes, its
effect on living things, and the adaptations that take place as a result.

Describe some common living things and identify their needs (Government of
Alberta, 2008): Within the topic chosen, students are meant to learn about living things
and what is necessary for them to live and grow. We chose to focus our attention on how
living things, namely animals, survive. This includes discussing what they need to live
and how those needs are met.

Recognize that other living things have senses and identify


ways that various animals use their senses (Government of Alberta, 2008): The
concept of senses is also integral to our topic as it can be used as an inquiry question to
challenge the children and allow them to see how animals use their senses to adapt to any
changes.

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Bring focus to investigative activities, based on their own questions and those of
others (Government of Alberta, 2008): Students will develop their research skills as
they use the large variety of resources available to them to investigate various
environments and animals and discover more about the changes that they go through as
they adapt to a new environment.

Demonstrate positive attitudes for the study of science and for the application of
science in responsible ways: Due to the large amount of inquiry, collaboration, and
interdisciplinarity in this particular topic, students will hopefully become engaged in their
research and want to find out more about animal adaptation on their own time and come
to see science as fun, rather than simply a required part of school.

Mathematics:

Develop number sense (Government of Alberta, 2008): Students will encounter,


interpret, and compare many different mathematical statistics during their research in this
subject area to develop their number sense. As an example, they may read about the
amount that certain animals need to eat every day, the distance that animals may travel on
a regular basis, or the temperature of certain environments that the animals live in.

Use direct and indirect measurement to solve problems (Government of Alberta,


2008): As students encounter various statistics in their research, they may need to
physically measure out substances in their classroom in order to fully comprehend the
amounts that their research indicates. For example, you could compare the statistics of
how much water one animal drinks in comparison to another. You could calculate the
difference in measurement, and physically measure it out in your classroom so that the
students could actually visualize the amounts that they are reading about.

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Language Arts:

Students will listen, speak, read, write, view and represent to explore thoughts,
ideas, feelings and experiences (Government of Alberta, 2008): Students will read,
write, and, most importantly, collaborate and discuss in order to get a better sense of what
they know, what they want to know, and how they are going to attain that knowledge.

Students will listen, speak, read, write, view and represent to comprehend and
respond personally and critically to oral, print and other media texts (Government
of Alberta, 2008): Students will discuss and explore certain books, videos, websites, and
other resources pertaining to this topic. This will allow for a more critical understanding
of the topic at hand and will help students collaborate and share ideas.

Students will listen, speak, read, write, view and represent to manage ideas and
information (Government of Alberta, 2008): Students will complete extensive
research and gather information in order to learn how to organize their data and share
their ideas.

Students will listen, speak, read, write, view and represent to respect, support and
collaborate with others (Government of Alberta, 2008): Students will communicate
their findings, suggest ideas to their peers, listen to others ideas, and represent their
learning. As a result of these strategies being employed in the classroom, peer teaching
will take place and students will take home new information that they learned from their
classmates.

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Connection to Alberta Governments Ministerial Order

Our inquiry question is also an excellent topic for young children because of its many
connections to the Ministerial Order. First of all, it pushes students to become Engaged
Thinkers and Ethical Citizens with an Entrepreneurial Spirit (Government of Alberta, 2013).
According to the Inspiring Education document, these terms mean that students are able to
[think] critically and [make] discoveries, [build] relationships based on humility, fairness and
open-mindedness, and [create] opportunities and [achieve] goals through hard work,
perseverance and discipline (Government of Alberta, 2010). The great amount of inquiry,
collaboration, and engagement involved with our topic encourages kids to achieve all of these
goals and more as they discover all that they can about animal survival. Our topic also strive[s]
for engagement and personal excellence in [students] learning journey (Government of Alberta,
2013). As mentioned previously, this particular inquiry question delves into a number of
disciplines, including not only science, but also language arts and mathematics. As a result, the
students in the class are able to connect to the discipline that they thrive in the most, or are the
most interested in, and become personally engaged in the topic of animal survival through their
interests and academic strengths. This statement also proves that this inquiry topic employ[s]
literacy and numeracy to construct and communicate meaning (Government of Alberta, 2013).
It is fairly obvious that the subject of animal survival allows literacy to easily enter the picture
through the great number of resources that kids have access to, such as books, websites, videos,
and more, as well as through their communication and collaboration with one another. However,
numeracy is much more subtle. It may not seem glaringly obvious at first, but numeracy can also
be found all throughout this topic. For example, as they conduct their research, kids will be
reading statistics about how much animals eat, what the temperatures of certain environments

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can reach, how long animals can live, and populations of certain animals in different areas.
Teachers can also encourage numeracy in projects surrounding this topic simply by getting kids
to count how many animals they see in a picture or by pushing them to make their own
estimations as to how much water certain animals drink in one day. Yet another connection that
this inquiry topic has to the Ministerial Order is that it allows students to discover, develop, and
apply competencies across subject and discipline areas for learning, work and life (Government
of Alberta, 2013). Looking into the specifics of this statement in the Governmental document,
kids will know how to learn: to gain knowledge, understanding or skills through experience,
study, and interaction with others and think critically: conceptualize, apply, analyze,
synthesize, and evaluate to construct knowledge (Government of Alberta, 2013). As kids begin
to delve into the large variety of resources available to them in this topic, such as books,
websites, videos, and more, the great amount of inquiry and collaboration that is generated as a
result will encourage them to become engaged in their research. In turn, they will absorb all
kinds of information and begin applying their new-found knowledge to different disciplines and
areas of their life so that they can discover and create new pieces of knowledge to share with
their comrades. Furthermore, these new discoveries will generate further questions among the
kids, which will encourage them to identify and solve complex problems, manage
information: access, interpret, evaluate and use information effectively, innovate: create,
generate and apply new ideas or concepts, and apply multiple literacies (Government of
Alberta, 2013). For example, students may first be introduced to the topic of animal survival by
examining smaller, specific questions directed at them by the teacher, such as:

How can we tell when something is alive?

What basic needs do animals have to have to survive?

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How do animals use their senses to survive?

How does the weather interrupt the survival of certain animals?

Do all animals have the same needs for survival?

What interrupts animals survival in different environments?

These answerable and relatively simple questions can be answered through research and basic
collaboration between the students and the teacher. However, after they discover these answers,
their curiosity may be piqued, and they can begin to examine broader, more complex or nonanswerable questions, such as:

Do you think humans benefit animals or cause risks on their behalf?

Is it possible for animals to never become extinct?

How would animals lives be different if they lost certain senses? How would they adapt
to these changes?

Questions such as these push kids to become creative, discuss, analyze, do further research into
certain disciplines with a wide variety of resources, create new ideas, and use their knowledge
and strengths from several disciplines to come up with a unique, personal answer. These complex
questions also encourage kids to demonstrate good communication skills and the ability to work
cooperatively with others, as they share their ideas with one another and encourage their peers
to come up with new answers during both small and large group discussions (Government of
Alberta, 2013). As they become more and more interested in this subject of animal survival, they
may also be encouraged to create opportunities through play, imagination, reflection,
negotiation, and competition, with an entrepreneurial spirit that connect to or incorporate their
learning and new-found knowledge (Government of Alberta, 2013). Activities such as these may
take place in the home, at school, or even in the community. Finally, our topic connects to the

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last point in the Ministerial Order, which is that students can identify and apply career and life
skills through personal growth and well being (Government of Alberta, 2013). The research
involved in this particular subject allows children to learn about many disciplines, as well as
identify some information that is vital to specific careers, such as a zoologist or conservationist,
among many others. As a result, they begin to understand some of what is involved in those adult
career paths, and may perhaps one day consider looking into it with more detail. Furthermore,
this topic allows the kids to learn several life skills, such as how to do research and collaborate
with ones peers to come up with new ideas and answers for complex problems.
Resources
Here are a variety of sources to choose from, including videos, nonfiction research books,
picture books, websites, and teacher resources, that instructors and students alike can look into
and explore as they delve into the topic of Animal Survival:
Non-fiction/ Research book Resources:

The Animal Book Steve Jenkins

Rainforest Thomas Marent

Planet Arctic: Life at the top of the World Wayne Lynch

Polar Obsession Paul Nicklen

Surviving: How animals adapt to their environment Allesandro Minelli & Maria Pia
Mannucci

Animals in Winter Susanna Riha

Animals Migrating : How, When, Where, and Why Animals Migrate Etta Kaner & Pat
Stephens

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Great Migrations : Whales, Wildebeest, Butterflies, Elephants, and Other Amazing


Animals on the Move National Geographics Kids-- Elizabeth Carney

Great Migrations : Amazing Animal Journeys Laura Marsh

Survival at 120 Above Debbie S. Miller

Extreme Animals : The Toughest Creatures on Earth Nicola Davies

Life-size Aquarium Toshimitsu Matsuhashi

Life Size Zoo Teruyuki Komiya

These resources are a great way to introduce your unit, as they allow students to use research
to discover the different types of animals that are living in various environments all around the
world. To get your kids interested in these particular resources, it may be helpful to go over some
of these books with your students and then explore, lesson by lesson, the topic of animal survival
in different environments. Furthermore, this list of resources can be a great tool for self
discovery, where students explore these books and look over them on their own to conduct
research. It is also important to note that these resources would best be used if the students
delved into the graphics and illustrations available in them, rather than the actual writing. This is
because these books all contain rather heavy text and are filled with information that would not
be very suitable for students in Grade 1. Finally, although we would not suggest using all of the
different environments around the world for your inquiry project, we have nevertheless listed
various types here in our resource list in order to provide a choice. You could find out which
environments and animals your students are most intrigued with and choose accordingly.
Read-aloud/ Picture Books Resources:

The Very Hungry Bear Nick Bland

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What's for Dinner: Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World Katherine B. Hauth

Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit : A Book of Changing Seasons Il Sung Na

Verdi Janell Cannon

These fictional books can be used as a great hook for kids to get interested in how animals
survive based on their basic needs and how they adapt to their environments. They are fun
picture books with great illustrations and poetic writing to hook your students into the topic of
animal survival. These types of resources will also allow your students to become more curious
about animal survival, as the illustrations will get them excited and push them to come up with
various questions in regards to the topic. This generation of excitement and inquiry can then be
used to further their research.
Video Resources:

Beavers http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/tdc02.sci.life.colt.beaver/beavers/

Animal Atlas - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4xFDjy3uT8

The Magic School Bus: Various episodes can be used


o All Dried Up - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvqYa2lzF9E
o The Magic School Bus Takes a Dive - https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=GmsAYGjenEA
o The Magic School Bus Gets Swamped https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUpNpbauM7k

The Needs of an Animal: Song - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4UDf3tF_O4

Videos can provide a fun and engaging way to explore animal survival and adaptation with
your students. These videos are a great resource that discuss all kinds of animals and their

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adaptations. Longer videos can be used to show while students are eating their lunch or as they
are coming in from recess or lunch. These videos can be a great way to introduce and show your
students what animals do to survive and can make the learning more meaningful for those who
are more visual learners.
Online Research/Exploration for Kids Resources:

PebbleGo : http://www.pebblego.com/login/

National Geographic: Animals (website) http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/

Discovery Kids Website - http://discoverykids.com/category/animals/

Build your Wild Self - http://www.buildyourwildself.com/

Kids Biology - http://www.kidsbiology.com/animals-for-children.php

Ecosystems Science and Management: What Animals Need to Live http://ecosystems.psu.edu/youth/sftrc/lesson-plans/wildlife/k-5/animal-needs

Rainforest Alliance - http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/kids

While conducting an inquiry project, these online research resources may be helpful to your
students, as they allow the kids to discover and explore different animals and their survival
needs, and ultimately come up with a research project. These tools are very primary-student
friendly and can help your kids to gain excellent research skills. They also incorporate and
integrate technology in a fun manner. These resources also include games, activities, and fun
facts for students so they can explore the topic of animal survival in a variety of ways in their
online research.
Teacher Resources:

The Art and Science Connection: Hands-on Activities for Primary Students Kimberley
Tolley

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Teacher Vision: Animal Adaptation-- https://www.teachervision.com/ecologicaladaptation/animals/6989.html

Teacher Vision: Animals - https://www.teachervision.com/animals/teacherresources/6596.html

Education World - http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/sites/sites075.shtml

Scholastic Teacher - http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/building-researchskills-grades-kx20131

Blogs : Mrs. Myers Kindergarten Blogspothttp://mrsmyerskindergarten.blogspot.ca/2014/10/how-i-plan-and-implementprojectinquiry.html?m=1

Teachers Notebook - http://www.teachersnotebook.com/product/mhenson/research-forthe-primary-child-freebie

Teaching Ideas - http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/science/createyourownanimal.htm

E is for Explore (blogspot): A One Stop Resource for Teachers http://eisforexplore.blogspot.ca/2012/06/animal-adaptations.html

Macmillan McGraw- Hill : Teacher Resources http://activities.macmillanmh.com/reading/treasures/stories/olteachres/2204090.html

First Grade Animal Research (Weebly) http://firstgradeanimalresearch.weebly.com/animal-facts.html

These teacher resources are a great way for teachers to explore and develop lessons on
animal adaptation and survival. They allow teachers to not only explore and learn about animal
survival and adaptation, but also to develop their teaching strategies. They provide worksheets
and group activities that can be supplemented to this unit, as well as projects that will help teach

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students about different ways in which animals adapt to their environment. Although there are
various lessons provided, we would suggest using these as a guideline and not using these exact
lesson plans for your own students. It is important to build your lessons in accordance to your
own students, how your students learn, and your own personal teaching style.
Understandings Gained
When considering the inquiry question, students must gain topic specific understandings
in order to arrive at an answer. Students must first consider what exactly determines whether
something is alive or not. From this starting point, they will then research and slowly come to
understand how an animal meets its needs in a particular environment. Through doing so,
students will be able to describe the physical and behavioural characteristics of a particular
animal, as well as the characteristics of the environment in which the animal lives. These niche
understandings are tied directly to General Learner Outcome 1-11 outlined in the Government of
Albertas Grade 1 Curriculum Overview: "Students will describe some common living things
and identify the needs of those living things" (Government of Alberta, 2008).
Following this process, students will then be challenged to understand the changes that
have occurred in different environments in the past, as well as the possible changes that may yet
occur. Students must consider whether or not an animal will be able to survive those
environmental changes and how some animals have adapted to change in the past. In the end,
students will have used their own knowledge as well as personal thoughts and original ideas to
gain a greater understanding of adaptation, including why and how it occurs, and if it may occur
again someday.
Finally, by attempting to answer the inquiry question, students will also gain a larger
understanding of the interconnectedness of animals, humans, and different environments of the

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world. This question introduces young learners to the concept of human effects on environments
and animals, including both the positive, such as conservation efforts, as well as the negative,
like climate change or urban sprawl. Overall, students will consider the general concept and
understandings surrounding change, including the necessity of changing to fit one's environment,
and the detriments of unsuccessful adaptation.
Significance to Students
Our inquiry question matters to students for several reasons. First of all, students will be
naturally drawn to the topic because of their general interest in animals; many kids will have pets
at home or will have otherwise encountered animals, such as birds or squirrels, on a regular basis
in their own backyards. Another reason that this topic will matter to students is that it will widen
students understanding of animals to more than those that live in their communities. Students are
constantly being exposed to the nature and environments that surround them on a daily basis, and
so will hopefully be willing and excited to learn more about other environments that exist around
the world. A third reason that our topic will matter to students is that our inquiry question will
challenge and empower students to not only consider what human influence has taken place on
the world and surrounding landscapes, but also what they themselves can do to influence the
environment and different animals. Thoughts on this subject will allow students to think
critically and actively be involved in and around the environment they live in, which may one
day even inspire them to pursue scientific disciplines, such as conservationism, for a future
career.

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References
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https://education.alberta.ca/media/828330/gr1view.pdf
Bittman, E. (2012, June 23). Animal Adaptations. In E is for explore!. Retrieved from
http://eisforexplore.blogspot.ca/2012/06/animal-adaptations.html
Bland, N. (2012). The very hungry bear. Toronto: Scholastic Canada Ltd.
Cannon, J. (1997). Verdi. San Diego: Harcourt Brace.
Capstone Digital. (2015). PebbleGo. Retrieved from http://www.pebblego.com/login/index.htlm
Carney, E. (2010). Great migrations: Whales, wildebeest, butterflies, elephants, and other
amazing animals on the move. Washington, DC: National Geographic Children's Books.
Cole, J. (Writer), Degen, B. (Writer), Jacobs, L. (Director). (1994, Oct 22). All dried up
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Davies, N. (2009). Extreme animals: The toughest creatures on Earth. Cambridge, MA:
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Discovery Communications. (2015). Animals. In Discovery kids. Retrieved from
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Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4xFDjy3uT8


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Nicklen, P. (2009). Polar obsession. Washington, DC: Focal Point.


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