1st Grade Science : Unit #1 - Similarities in Animals : Lesson #10

Dive like a Newt

Objective: SWBAT use their knowledge of the newt to design a suit to keep divers safe in the water.
Standards: SL.1.1 1-LS1-1 SP3 SP8
Subject(s): Science
60 minutes
1 Setting the Stage - 0 minutes

Next Generation Science Standard Connection

This lesson connects to 1-SL1-1, because the students are designing something to help keep humans safe in the water.  In previous lessons the students have ask questions, answered questions, written sentences,  and evaluated the work of their peers regarding animal survival features.  The students have also observed numerous videos and collected a variety of observations of animals and their external features. Now it is time to engage the class in focusing on the specific connection between the animals defense can be used as a model to help designing protection for humans, which brings a great deal of relevance to the lesson. I find when my students engage in this kind of activity they become very excited and really enjoy learning.

Lesson Overview

We are adding the newt to our animals we are observing and analyzing. Today, we watch a quick video about the newt, read a paragraph, and then design a uniform for divers based on the newts way of staying alive.

Now, the class needs to move around the room to keep their energy up and I refer to this as transitions, and I made a video explaining our movement. The students also work with their assigned partner: peanut butter jelly partner to match the picture to information.


2 Engage - 10 minutes

Introductory Activity


I want to engage the class, so we watch this video. It is great because it is a video narrated by a child and he tells about newts defense mechanisms. I stop the video at 1:17, because he has talked about the ways newts protect themselves. Then I ask the class to discuss how a newt protects itself. I am just assessing their listening skills. After about one minute I share their conversations.

Then I share the lesson goal: I can use my knowledge of the newt to design a uniform to protect divers. I ask the class to echo the goal to help them remember what we are learning.

Now, I explain to the class we are going to read a paragraph and try to discover another way the newt can protect itself.  So, I read the class the paragraph under, "Where do newts live?" three times to help my students learn about how the newt protects itself. So, I ask the question prior to reading, so the students are thinking while I am reading. 

After the paragraph is over, I ask the students to talk to their partner: talk to partner strategy about how newts protect themselves. To ge the class to stop talking I use these fun ways to stop discussion. After about one minute of discussion, I ask, "Will somebody share their ideas?" Then somebody says, "It has toxin in its skin." Then I ask, "Will you please share where you found that in the text?" Then I underline the text on the Smart Board: underline important information and my students underline it in their text.  Next the students list the information in their science journal. They have a t-chart for animal behavior  (t- chart labeled,t-chart modified,t-chart completed) that they draw and are adding their information to each day as we discover new information. I also find using a word wall helps with spelling.

3 Explore - 15 minutes

Now, I share the lesson activity, "Class you are going to design a protective uniform for divers who are often in danger of begin bitten by a life threatening sea animal. Think about what you might to or put on the uniform to deter predators from hurting the divers. Could you put a poisonous scent on the uniform? What about creating predator deterents in the water?"Basically the design my students create is inspired by the poisonous newts defense.

Now the students go the station tables with their partner and each group is going to design their own uniform for divers based on their observations of the newt. So, this is an opportunity for learners to engage in a real world application activity based on the knowledge they have gained in this lesson.

4 Explain - 10 minutes

 After, I listen to the students share in a class discussion. So, I say, "Will somebody please share what you learned?" Then, "Will somebody else add to that?" I am hoping they learned that there are things we can put in diving suits to protect humans similar to the way the newt protects itself. 

I say, "Now, I want the class to spend the next five minutes, using what you have learned to add to your design. How can you make it better or safer?" So, this is one students response.

After about fifteen minutes, I share a slide that shows how people are protected in the water. Then I say, "Please explain what you have learned from this PowerPoint." This is an image of my class looking at Power Point.

Center Activity
Developing a Conceptual Understanding

I find that when I really want to make sure my students don't forget what I have taught them I need to create a station: matching animal to defense game where they can revisit the skill. In my morning reading routine I have four stations where the students engage in activities we have already practiced. This is activity I think my students will enjoy and will help them remember about the animals we have studied.

The game is like memory. I would print two copies. I like to keep the answers in the station just in case my students need to check one they forgot.  For the game they place all cards face down. The students turn two cards over and try to find the match. The match has either the matching animal or the correct defense on the card. 

5 Evaluate - 15 minutes

Now the students are going to present their illustration and sentence describing the external features that they use to defend themselves. I select about three students to present their word aloud and then ask the students listening to give their peers an evaluation.  The big thing here is to get the students to analyze the content, make connections between things we have learned, and think critically about the way the animals protect themselves.

But, before we begin I have to remind the students to sit still, talk loud, and listen to the speaker. I say, "Criss cross apple sauce pockets on the floor, hands your laps talking no more. Look at the speaker, think about what they are saying, and analyze the information." 

Next, I do expect students to give peer feedback, but this is a highly complex and challenging thing at first. So, I model feedback a few times, then I encourage my students to begin. I remind them that mistakes are great, and we learn the most from our mistakes. By creating this risk free environment students are more comfortable evaluating their peers. I do say this should be constructive, like, "What did they say you agree with and why?" I am hoping to hear somebody say, "I agree the newt uses its ribs to poke poinson in a predator, because the boy on the video told us this information. But, we also read about the newt. I think the design will also protect the humans, because it will poison the predators in the water."

I need to assess the students' knowledge of the use of animals external body features to stay alive. With this in mind I ask the students to share now way the newt uses it's body to protect itself. This engages the class in more conversation between the partners. While the students talk I listen, so I can assess their knowledge. But, I also need to stop my class from talking.  When the students finish talking I share their conversations and my answers as well. Here are two examples of student work: proficient work and below basic work.

Finally, we chant the lesson goal to make sure the students remember the skill: I can use my knowledge of the newt to design a uniform to protect divers.