Image Map

September 28, 2012

Science: Ecosystem (Shoebox) Dioramas

Can I be honest and say I'm glad this project is over?  

My students have been studying ecosystems for about 4 weeks now.  We have learned about the different types of ecosystems, predators/prey, consumer/producer, and non-living/living parts of it all.  There is still more to learn with food webs, etc. - but it was time to put this part together.  

3 weeks ago I sent home a note to the families asking/begging/pleading they send in a shoebox so we could create an ecosystem diorama.  

They came in 2 weeks ago.  
2 weeks of navigating around 32 shoeboxes...

Last week we took time and went outside to paint the inside of the boxes.  Each student had to choose what type of ecosystem they wanted to create.  I gave them basic choices and we brainstormed a list.  

Land: Taiga, Chaparral, Forest, Rainforest, etc

Water: Ocean, Freshwater River, Lake, Stream

They had so much fun painting the inside of their boxes.  We had every color of the rainbow out, and they were like little Picassos.  There was much talk over the colors each type of environment would have in them.  Many of them wanted to create either a forest or an ocean ecosystem.  We went through a lot of paint.

This week they have been watching their boxes like sharks for the moment that I would say it was finally time to finish them up.  Today was that day.

To create, I only really gave them the minimum amount of supplies.  Construction paper and index cards to create parts of the ecosystem, and yarn to hang the parts they wanted to move (you can see below the kids just used tape and glue to assemble.)  We had to talk about how index cards are thicker, so the animals and bushes could stand up and become 3D.  I wanted them to showcase their own art work, rather than have them print off clipart to add. 

As they created their environments, they had to focus on the 6 categories that we have learned, making sure they had specific things in their box that would count for each thing.  I didn't grade their art work (as I never grade their art work), I only grade their participation and what they learned.  This little 1/2 sheet of paper really showed me if they got it.  

The categories:
Living vs. Non-living
Predators vs. Prey
Producers vs. Consumers

The half sheets of paper are glued onto the back of their shoeboxes, and their shoeboxes are held up by only 1 pushpin on the wall. (Some students tried to turn it in before doing the paperwork aspect - they will have to finish first thing on Monday morning.)  I'm only going to keep them up for about a week until the next project is ready.  Enough time for them to see everyone else's art work, and to get some compliments on their own.  

I did this same type of project last year.  Last year it was basically the same set up, though I had them do the writing for the different categories on the outside sides of the box.  With this group, it needed to be only one sheet of paper they were working with.  

I'm updating this post so I can share it over 
at Clutter Free Classroom's Linky Party.
What a week!  
We also had a Math Fact Party that the kids loved.  Just have to say that balloons and streamers always mean so much to the kiddos - even without goody bags and treats of any kind.

Hope you had a good day and week as well!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I hope this was able to help you in some way. I love comments and I like to reply via email. Please make sure your profile is set up with your email address (and that it's not a Have a great day!