Owl Survival Simulation Activity to use with the Novel ‘Hoot’ by Carl Hiaasen

This lesson plan was modified to be used along with the novel “Hoot” by Carl Hiaasen. It can be used as a stand alone lesson as part of your Ecology Unit.

Objectives:

  • simulate the struggle for survival of an owl family.
  • bring food back to the nest despite obstacles.
  • feed and take care of owlets.
  • live in a nest as an owlet.
  • experience how adaptations affect a species.
  • discuss the importance of resources for a community.

Lesson Plan Resources:

 

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Materials:

  • Colored Chalk (to outline nests) or painters tape
  • Black Beans 1-3 lbs (food)
  • White Beans – 5 beans (poison)
  • Additional larger Beans to represent mice, rodents, etc
  • Plastic forks (2 per owl parent)
  • Small paper or plastic cups (1 per owlet)
  • Owl Assignment Sheet – Cut up for students to pick their role

 

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Meiosis & DNA Cheat Sheets – Free

I made these cheat sheets for my 7s to help them with our Meiosis and DNA unit. These are two of the most complex topics we cover in Life Science and it helps them synthesize all of the information into one page.

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Download these free PDFs below:

DNA Cheat Sheet – 2017 – Google Docs – this covers the fundamentals of DNA at a 7th grade level

Meiosis Summary Cheat Sheet – 2017 – this covers the basics of Meiosis along with a comparison to Mitosis at each stage for a 7th grade level

 

 

Metric Ruler – Guided Practice for cm & mm

Ruler Practice (Student Copy)

Materials:

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I use this activity as a guided review of reading metric measurements in cm and mm. Each student receives one metric measurement, you can laminate and hand out individual task cards to students, or simply print and cut apart so that students can write on each card as well.

As the measurement is projected on the board, the student with that task card will come up to the board and draw a line on the ruler for to represent that measurement, and add the value. Each student will mark the measurement on their own handout as well. Advance to the next slide, and a new student will add their value to the ruler. Continue until all students have added their values to the ruler,

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Observations Worksheet

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Quantitative vs Qualitative Observations

Click link for the PDF of this worksheet: Qualitative-vs-Quantititive-Observations

This is a nice review sheet to practice identifying Qualitative and Quantitive observations. Qualitative (think quality) are observations you can’t really put a number on, while Quantitative (think quantity) are observations that are measurable or have a number value. In this exercise, I have the students also underline the word(s) that help them decide if the observation is Qualitative or Quantitative.

For fun, and to review Inferences, I have the students infer what the dog is thinking as s/he listens to the human given directions 🙂

Famous Scientists “Wanted Poster” Using Google Draw

Wanted Poster Sample- Jacques Cousteau.jpg
Sample Wanted Poster

This is one of my favorite projects of the year and using Google Draw allowed the students to work on it both in class and at home. In the past, we used a software program to design the posters, but it had a lot of restrictions as to when and where they could work on their posters. By using Google Draw, students were also able to share their posters with me and I could proofread it much more easily and offer suggestions.

We hold a scientist ‘draft pick’ when making our selections. Students come up with a list of their ‘top 10’ scientists and each student draws a number. I select a number randomly and whoever has that number gets to choose first. Once a scientist has been chosen, no one else is allowed to pick that person. Sometimes students choose to spin the “Wheel of Science” when they are not sure who to pick and will allow the wheel to pick for them.

Basic Requirements:

  1. Google Draw to design your poster – Print in color on 8 ½ x 11 paper
  2. First, middle, and last name of your scientist
  3. Picture of your scientist
  4. His/her birthday (Month, Day, Year if available)
  5. ONE sentence of why they are famous or “wanted”  
    • This sentence has to be approved
  6. Country he/she was born in
  7. Where he/she did their work – was it at their home, at a school, a lab, etc
  8. Date of death or current age if living today
  9. Summarize His/Her accomplishments in your own words:
    • One paragraph using 3 – 5 complete sentences
  10. Your name in the bottom RIGHT corner of your poster
  11. List of your sources used for information, pictures, etc on a separate Google Doc.

Choose up to 4 of the following requirements to add to your poster:

  1. A quote by your scientist
  2. 1 – 2 additional pictures of your scientist
  3. A picture of what they worked on
  4. Where they went to school/college
  5. If they had any other jobs
  6. Family information: husband/wife, children, parents, brothers, sisters
  7. What else was happening in history when this scientist was famous
  8. Did this scientist work with another scientist?
    • Who was it and what did they do?
  9. Are there any museums or other places that are named after your scientist? Where is it?

Added 12/26/16: I first posted this lesson in 2000 (as Liz Belasic) here is a version from 2002 with  additional details

D & T Activity Updated for 2016

New for 2016 – to see the older version with additional lesson details, please visit my post from last year.

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Before starting the activity, I set the stage that they are a group of archeologists and have discovered an ancient tablet at an archeological dig site. Unfortunately, the tablet is broken and as they excavate, they only find a few pieces at a time. What does the ancient table say? Scientists all over the world try to decipher the ancient text…

Materials:

  • Original Worksheet: (pdf)
  • Worksheet to compare posters (Google Doc)
  • Words to cut apart (pdf) – this year I removed the word “bone” to change it up a little
  • construction paper
  • white paper cut into 1/4ths or small index cards
  • glue sticks
  • colored pencils

This year, I wanted to try something different for this lesson. Instead of seeing how close each group came to the original phrase that was on the “tablet”, I wanted each group to analyze the findings from the other groups to compare their findings and look for similarities and differences. This would be similar to a gallery walk (see video below) but without students explaining their posters, they would view posters at their own pace and choose any 3 posters to compare for each category.

 

Note – this lesson plan is a modification of the original lesson plan from The University of California Museum of Paleontology (link)

How to edit Google Slides to meet your needs

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I have been getting a lot of requests for editing access to the Google Slides on my blog, so I wrote this tutorial on how to save and edit any of the Google Slides on my website. I can’t permit editing rights because it will change my copy of the slides and your edits will be visible to everyone that visits my blog.

How to edit Google Slides – Step by step tutorial (Public)

Hope this helps!

Thanks,

Liz

“Substituted Sammy” – what makes something alive?

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Lesson Plan: Substituted Sammy Google Slides (Public) modified from: “Substituted Sammy”: An Exercise in Defining Life, Donald F. Shebesta, The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 34 No. 5, May, 1972; (pp. 286-287) DOI: 10.2307/4443933

I love using this activity as an introduction to get my 7th grade students thinking about the idea of living vs. nonliving. How do we define life? How do we know something isn’t alive anymore? How are living things different than nonliving things? How are nonliving things different than things that were once living? What characteristics do living things have in common?

To start the lesson, we brainstorm and try to pin point what it means to be alive. Accept all answers and write them on the board.  After our brainstorming and discussion session, I draw Sammy on the board in one colored dry erase marker ( ie blue) and ask students to do the same. I explain that we are going to learn about Sammy and every time something about Sammy changes, I will draw it in a different color (ie red) and ask students to do the same in pencil.

As the story progresses, I also draw a dialysis machine, IV bag and stand, ventilator, etc… and essentially, end up drawing a robot at the end. This leads to some great discussions about what we can do now, and what we can’t do yet, in the medical field. It also brings up the discussion about the quality of Sammy’s life, at some point is he really living his life or just alive? I ask the students to give Sammy a percentage of “living” as we go through the slides, is he 50% living, 80% living, 25% living, etc and they give a wide range of answers. I then reveal it is a trick question, the answer has to be either 0% or 100%, you can’t be partially living, biologically speaking – you are either alive or not alive, there really is no quantitative scale. Quality of life is not a biological definition, instead it is an ethical issue and everyone has their own definition or belief system. (And then there is the gray area that Viruses fall into ;))

Heights Lab – How tall is the average 7th grader?

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This introductory lab is a fun way to analyze data and the students look forward to finding the results each year. Who will be taller, boys or girls? Will we be taller than last year’s class? You can really analyze the data in multiple ways, you can also add the concept of min, max, mode, and range in addition the mean, you can look for trends, and you can talk about sample size, etc…

Materials

  • Heights Lab Introduction and directions (Google Slides)
  • Data Collection (Google Sheets)
  • Heights Lab Template (Google Doc)
  • Construction paper taped to wall/column
  • Metric Tape Measures attached to wall or column over paper
  • Marker
  • Ruler

heights

 

Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEP 1 to SEP8) Consolidated

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Images above are from: http://www.nap.edu/read/13165/chapter/7#50 

This post highlights the eight Scientific and Engineering Practices and spotlights a few lessons related to each practice. I had this as eight separate posts but decided to consolidate for easier viewing.

For more details and examples about the Science and Engineering Practices, visit NSTA.

Tag: SEP8 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP7 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP6 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP5 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP4 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP3 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP2 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP1 – click for more lessons that cover this practice