I Spy Nature All Around
Students will use words and illustrations to observe the natural environment around them. Students will be able to discuss the diversity of life found in different habitats.
Introduction (30 minutes)
- Instruct your students to make their own binoculars prior to this lesson.
- To make the binoculars, they will each need two toilet paper rolls, yarn, a stapler, and a hole puncher.
- Staple the toilet paper rolls together and punch two holes on either side of the binoculars.
- String a piece of yarn through each side and staple or tie a knot on the end to keep the binoculars from falling apart.
- Put out decorative materials such as stickers, glitter, markers, and paint so the students can decorate their snazzy binoculars!
- Have them write their names on their binoculars with a permanent marker.
- Gather the students to a common area.
- Pull out your own binoculars.
- Ask the students to raise their hands if they have ever seen or used binoculars before.
- Ask a few students to share their ideas.
- Explain to the students that binoculars magnify objects to make them easier to see.
- Ask the students to pretend they are outside with their homemade binoculars. Ask them to brainstorm some of the things they might see.
- Write down their ideas on the whiteboard.
- Ideas should include different types of plants, insects, animals, rocks, types of soil, and other man-made items found outside such as a swing or a bench.
- Explain to the students that today they will be going outside on a scavenger hunt to observe things found in nature that are not man-made! Briefly reinforce that a swing or a bench would be man-made.
- Explain to the students that they will even get to use their binoculars!
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (5 minutes)
- Display the I Spy Nature worksheet.
- Point to the column heading labeled word.
- Explain to the students that they will use their knowledge of letter sounds to try to write down the words of the things they see in nature.
- Tell the students you are going to pretend you are outside. Stand up and walk around the classroom, and then stop and pretend you've seen a tree.
- Model sounding out the word tree, and write the word and draw the picture in the respective columns.
- Explain to the students that the goal is to find at least eight things in nature to record on their worksheets.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (5 minutes)
- Choose a student volunteer. Ask the student to come up and think of something he might see outside. Ask the student to sound out the word, write it down, and draw a picture.
- Explain to the students that they will have a chance to color their pictures once they come inside.
Independent Working Time (30 minutes)
- Pass out the binoculars, pencils and worksheets to the students, and get them prepared to go outside.
- Instruct the students to roam around and collect their observations.
- Rotate around and help students who are struggling.
- Head back to the classroom.
- Pass out coloring materials and have the students finish their sheets.
- Enrichment: Students who need a challenge can turn their papers over and write short sentences such as: I spy a red flower on the ground. Encourage the students to create descriptive sentences using adjectives.
- Support: Students who are unable to write the words may just draw the pictures. Write the words for them once they came back inside.
Assessment (5 minutes)
- As the students move around outside to collect their observations, rotate among them and make note of students who record man-made items. Instead of correcting them, wait until the closing activity so you can use the mistake as a teachable moment.
Review and Closing (10 minutes)
- Ask students to clean up their materials and come to a common area.
- Call on students to share some of the things they saw outside. Record their observations on the board (add on to the brainstorm you created during the introduction).
- If a student recorded an item that was man-made, ask the students if they think the item is something that naturally occurs in nature without humans, or if the item is something humans made. Allow students to share their ideas.
- Ask the students to think about where they found particular animals and insects. Potential questions include: Which animals did you see in trees? Which animals did you see in the bushes? Where did you observe insects?
- Explain to the students that they will continue to make observations of plants and animals in their habitats throughout the year.