Let’s Get Crabby
HOW IT WORKS
The children read the book A House for a
Hermit Crab, written and illustrated by Eric Carle.
This program is one aspect of a wider unit
third-grade students do on invertebrates. Previous
lessons are examinations of earthworms and
crickets. In this lesson students work with a
millipede and a hermit crab to continue the
comparisons. The first group of students log on to: galexo.com/crabs and complete their
quest sheet. The other students examine a hermit
crab and millipede and complete their lab sheet.
The instructional purpose of this program is
to meet Life Science Concept Standards, namely
understanding the characteristics of an organism and its environment.
Even though students will only have a hermit crab to study in
person, the Internet allows them to learn about
a wide variety of crabs.
Let’s Get Crabby is designed for five third-grade
classes of 28 students each. The range is
from above grade level to well below grade
level. The students have no extensive technical
background and each class meets once a week
for 45 minutes. The classes normally meet in
their classroom but for this lesson they met in
our media center. The program can easily be
adapted to other ages and achievement levels
by modifying the quest and lab sheets or using
only one. I don’t see how this program could be
used by more than one class at a time,
especially since live animals are being used. This
program meets the needs of all learners in the
classroom because it is multi-sensory and the
tasks can be modified to be challenging to
those that need the challenge and doable by
those whose skills are below grade level.
Teresa Caliari Olya has been teaching since
1978, and has taught grades K—8. This is her
first year as a science cluster teacher. She
has received five UFT mini-grants, a Staten Island
Reading Association mini-grant and a SCAF grant from Common Cents’
Penny Harvest. This program can be done without assistance.
WHAT YOU NEED
This program requires enough computers for
half of the class to work comfortably. If you
don’t have enough, the students can work in
pairs. The other students work at a table with
the hermit crabs and millipede. The computers
must have Internet access and students need
their lab sheets and pencils. You will need to
purchase a couple of hermit crabs and set up a
home for them. You can use a millipede but this
unit could stand alone without it. You will also
need to make copies of the quest and lab sheets as well as obtain a copy of A House for a Hermit Crab.
The children enjoy working on this program so
much, they retain much more information than if
someone stands in front of a classroom and
lectures to them. Their enthusiasm is such that
they cannot wait to do another ‘lab’ online.
Having one web site eliminates the search
process and makes the collection of data a great deal
easier. Teachers will want to adapt this for the
classroom because by focusing on finding main
ideas, it teaches the students how to teach
themselves. This program also meets several of the New
York City Performance Standards in Science by
developing the students comprehension and technology skills, as well as having them work
separately and in teams to gather knowledge
from multiple sources.