Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Zoo Unit

A few weeks ago I was visiting with a friend. She takes her boys to the zoo a couple of times a month. She is also considering homeschooling as her son approached kindergarten. I am all for homeschooling myself, and can't wait to start with Pumpkin.
As we were talking about the zoo I started sharing ideas for ways to make a trip to the zoo fun and educational. I later made a web of ideas for activities to do for homeschooling that could revolve around trips to the zoo. I don't know how to do a web in Blogger, so I'll just try to do a list by subject. I gave her my original web plan, so I'm just trying to remember the ideas here.

I was talking to a few of the gals at my Mops table about homeschooling and mentioned the web I'd done and they asked me to give them the lists so they could try to do some of the ideas to make a trip to the zoo more meaningful. Since I figured I'd have to recreate it for them, I decided I might as well post it here.
When I used to do curriculum unit planning as a teacher I would first start out with a web based on a topic. From there I would add activities by categories as well as benchmarks and standards to create an entire unit design. My final units would usually be very formal, especially the ones I designed as a part of the Core Knowledge Summer Writing Institutes I did for several years.

(If you are interested in seeing any of the units, visit www.ckcolorado.org. I wrote both Kindergarten and 5th grade units ranging from Johnny Appleseed, to Little Women and from continent studies to the Reformation. I even wrote a unit on the Human Body to teach the students about reproduction (blush). I loved writing literature units the best, though, and did units for The Secret Garden and Sherlock Holmes' The Red-Headed League as well. Although the units were written to be used in a Core Knowledge classroom, many have activities that can be adapted for homeschooling. The entire site is filled with high quality units on a variety of topics for K-6th grade.)

Anyway, back to the zoo. Here are activities grouped by subject:

Language Arts:
*write and illustrate a story about your trip to the zoo
*write and illustrate a story about the zoo from an animal's perspective
*dictate a story to a parent, have them write it out, then illustrate your story
*read fiction and non-fiction stories about zoo animals

*count animals, body parts, trees,
*graph the number of types of animals you see
*graph the number of legs/arms of the animals
*interview visitors and graph their favorite animals
*make sure to do different types of graphs- bar, line, pie, etc.
*measure out animal parts on the ground (giraffe neck, elephant ears, etc.)

*learn about habitats
*learn about what different animals eat (herbivore, carnivores, omnivores)
*study the different teeth animals have and why they have them type they do
*learn about endangered species

*make dioramas of an animal's habitat (adjust for age- use animal toys for little ones, magazine cut-outs, or drawing of the animals for older children)
*draw animals
*do crayon rubbings of interesting things at the zoo
*make a collage about the zoo
*decorate a special shirt to wear to the zoo
*make posters for the zoo

Social Studies:
*learn geography as you study where the animals came from
*learn to read a map of the zoo
*create your own map of the zoo
*draw a map of the world and trace the animal's journey to the zoo
*learn how animals and people interact in the wild

*learn songs from various countries/continents that the animals come from
*write a song yourself about an animal
*make a musical instrument from an animal's home
*make a dance that illustrates a type of animal's movements

*cook food from other countries/continents that the animals are from
*make a special zoo hat that represents an animal
*watch a movie about your favorite animal
*make a web page about your trip to the zoo
*do a web search/web quest about your favorite zoo animal
*create a zoo scrapbook

This is all I could think of off the top of my head. If I can borrow the web back, I may add more ideas. Feel free to leave your ideas in the Comments section!

(The pictures are from a trip I made with my mom and sister to the Phoenix Zoo back in 1975 . See where Pumpkin gets the red hair? I'm in my favorite Little House on the Prairie sunbonnet. I still have that bonnet!)


Kelli said...

So many wonderful idea, Kimberly! Thank you for sharing them! The pictures are so sweet!

Jodi said...

Kimberly, I really enjoyed this post. We have enjoyed a mixture of unit studies and traditional school books over the years, so I actually like to read through unit studies to glean ideas. :o)

I especially enjoyed your pictures! You are just too cute and styling in your sunbonnet. ;o) Hmmm - now I think you look like your mom. Is that the consensus of those that know you in real life?


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