Thursday, May 17, 2012

Endangered Species Project: The Research Stage

We've finally started the endangered species project. Throughout the next two weeks students will read and collect information about the endangered species they chose to study using a myriad of resources.

Models: I will read and show students past endangered species slide shows, story books and videos to give students models they can follow for their project research and presentation work.

Library: While students were anxious to go to Google and other search engines to research their animal, I began the research effort in the library. I told students that one great aspect of using our school library as a resource is that the librarian has collected a large number of well written books about endangered species over the years.  The books are written with many reading levels in mind, and provide wonderful information about the animals.  One child remarked that some books might have outdated information. I agreed that when it comes to population, current habitats and efforts to preserve that current websites would be better.

Video: Using a tip from a visiting author, students will watch one video about their animal and take notes for their introductory paragraph, slide or line.  The author encouraged us to look for unusual behavior to write about in order to make an engaging lead for the beginning of their story. Students will also choose one or two short videos to embed into their written online presentations. Later they will create their own public service message video as part of their presentation.

Internet Resources: I will guide their research using the Internet. I've created a resource website filled with great Internet resources.  I'll help those students who need to search in different ways online for specific information.

Zoo/Museum Visits: I'll encourage students to visit museums and zoos with family members to collect information and observe the animal they are studying.  I'll encourage them to take photos and videos at the site.

Skype: I'd like to try Skype Educate if we have time allowing students to converse with experts working in the field to save the animals they are researching.

Illustration/Sculpture: We'll discuss how drawing and sculpting an animal helps one to imagine that animal with greater precision and detail. Then we'll use the art materials available to draw and sculpt the animals we're studying.

Once we complete the research stage, we'll move into the presentation creation and writing.  Students have a menu of options for their project including a fiction story based on fact, a slide show, video, factual report or a combination of one or more of the options.  What's important is that they create their presentation with lots of information and a focus on the audience they will present to and the message they want to strongly convey.

Stay tuned. . .