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If Penguins Are Birds, Why Can't They Fly?

Subject: Science

Grade Level: 2

Materials: Computers with Internet connection, nonfiction literature on penguins, maps, globes, LCD laptop projectors, a screen, and school computer lab, pencils, notebooks, looseleaf paper, white paper, wipe-off markers, and board.

About: This unit enhances scientific awareness through reading, writing, and listening strategies with the use of technology. Integrating a variety of modalities enhances the learning styles of all students. Students research facts about penguins, utilize note-taking strategies, and use different sources of technology and balanced literacy to define the scientific classification of penguins. Nonficition texts are presented to students to develop listening and note-taking strategies. Students are provided with website engines to promote research for penguin study. The use of LCD laptop projectors develops visuals and provides additional research. Individual laptop use within the classroom setting provides ongoing research skills. Students create a "Parts of a Penguin" page and gather their notes to create a slide show about penguins in the computer lab. A final science report including problem, hypothesis, observations, and conclusions about If Penguins Are Birds, Why Can't They Fly? is completed.

Students create a "Parts of a Penguin" page and gather their notes to create a slide show about penguins in the computer lab. A final science report including problem, hypothesis, observations, and conclusions about If Penguins Are Birds, Why Can't They Fly? is completed.

The purpose of this study is to influence the thinking abilities of second graders. This unit teaches enviornmental and social issues that are not included in the scope of the second grade curriculum, but are important for the educational development of students.

Teachers should use this unit when they are presenting the nonfiction reading and witing units of study. This will enhance and integrate learning through the content areas.

Teaching resource site
Student interaction site
Penguin websites

ELA, Science, and Technology

Day 1: What Do You Think You Know About Penguins?
Students use prior knowledge of what students think they know about penguins.
Students create a list of facts of what students think they know about penguins.
Note book, pencils, wipe-off board, and markers
Introduce penguin unit with a question on the board: "What do you think you know about penguins?"
Students list their replies in note-taking form.
Have class share their answers. This could be presented on a class chart where students use Post-its for their ideas, or just as a verbal share depending on resources and student abilities.
Review notes about penguins.
Student notes

Day 2: If Penguins Are Birds, Why Can't They Fly?
Students develop listening skills.
Students develop note-taking skills.
Students influence the thinking and reasoning abilities.
Students develop scientific vocabulary.
Student notebooks and pencils
Wipe-off board and markers
The book Penguins and Their Homes by Deborah Chase Gibson
Instruct students to take notes as they listen to Penguins and Their Homes by Deborah Gibson.
Review the vocabulary in the big bold print.
On page 7, introduce the question: "If penguins are birds, why can't they fly?" Adjust this to an interactive read-aloud where students turn and share their ideas with their partners.
Continue reading through the text. Emphasize that penguins are good swimmers. On page 15, ask students why is it hard for penguins to get around on land?
At the end of the book, ask students how penguins keep themselves warm.
Instruct students to share their new knowledge with their partners.
Write penguin vocabulary words and their definitions: blubber, endangered, habitat, krill, predator, rookery, and tundra.
Student notes and partnership responses

Day 3: Computer Lab
Students develop typing skills.
Students create a title for slide show.
Students transfer notes onto the computer.
Computer lab
Slide show program
Student notes
Instruct students to open the slide show program.
Model from LCD projector onto a screen where to locate the title bar.
Students select fonts from word art to create a title for their slide show.
Guide students to center their title.
Once the title has been set, instruct students to go into the note-taking section of the program and begin typing.
Student computer work folders

Day 4: LCD Lap Top Penguin Research
Students develop research skills using technology.
Students develop note-taking strategies.
LCD laptop projector
Laptop cart with individual lap tops
Distribute assigned laptops to students.
Instruct students to the websites written on the wipe-off board to enhance their research.
Students search the sites, which are child-friendly and geared toward diverse reading levels.
Students gather any new-found information about penguins.
There is a final share of what sites were useful and what new information was learned.
Site searches, student observation, and notes

Day 5: Problem: If Penguins Are Birds, Why Can't They Fly?
Students review science experiment layout: problem, hypothesis, observations, and conclusion.
Students formulate notes into overall observations that prove their influential thoughts.
Students come up with answers about the reasons why the animal in a different environment adapts to it.
Students process their notes into a final scientific study.
Final accumulation of penguin facts
Looseleaf paper
Wipe-off board and marker
Present the scientific problem on the wipe-off board: If penguins are birds, why can't they fly?
Instruct and guide students to complete a formatted science experiment including problem, hypothesis, observations based on research, and conlusion-based observations.
Finish parts of a Penguin page
Final science experiment: "Parts of a Penguin" page, and slide show

Shanan Rosengarten


P.S. 214Q
31-15 140th Street
Flushing, NY 11354

Shanan Rosengarten is currently a second grade teacher in the New York City Public School system where she has over eleven years of professional experience, including that of an Academic Intervention Service teacher and a reading and writing specialist for grades three through six. Her classroom experience has been in pre-kindergarten through third grade. Throughout the past several years, she has tailored her training and experience toward student success. Some of these goals have included bringing technology into the classroom, participating in a national effort to improve elementary reading skills, and promoting student achievement in the early grades.

Important documents for this lesson plan.



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