Before heading out for summer break, my partner Wendy Pavlicek and I put together a pair of videos designed to drive an engineering challenge for our Grade 2 students who will be investigating habitats next year. The challenge is designed to meet the Massachusetts disciplinary core idea elements in life science and engineering:
- Plants and animals depend on their surroundings to get what they need.
- Animals obtain food they need from plants or other animals. Plants need air, water, and light. Plants do not eat food; instead, they make their own “food.”
- Different places on Earth each have their own unique assortment of living things.
- Solutions can be conveyed through visual or physical representations
The first video introduces students to the engineering challenge with the help of EcoTarium’s wildlife director, Johanna Black. She graciously offered her time on an extremely busy field trip day to set the stage for our student inquiry around different plants and animals of their choosing.
The second video serves as a tool for providing more concrete information about the main needs of living things (to be shared after students embark on their own investigation of specific habitats related to the animal of their choosing’s needs).
The videos have been designed so that any classroom or age group could potentially pick up the challenge and aim’s to blend the needs not only of the animal to be researched for the exhibit but also the needs of the EcoTarium visitor looking to learn more about the animal. It is our hope that this project might also be paired with some informational writing, possibly in the disguise of an infographic panel board that would be attached beside a full scale enclosure as seen in zoos and aquariums.
We’ve shared these videos publicly in hopes others might take on the challenge. More concrete lesson plans will be written over the summer with our summer curriculum team and will be added to this post in the future. In the meantime please add a comment below if you end up using these videos in your own classroom!
Special thanks to the EcoTarium for their time and willingness to participate in this engaging engineering experience!