Friday, November 15, 2013

Activities that fit into Ohio’s New Life Sciences Standards

This month we continue our look into how the Division of Wildlife can help educators transition into the new standards and Model Curriculum. Our last two articles focused on how WILD School Sites fit into the new standards and Project Based Learning (PBL), and gave educators a few ideas on how to incorporate some projects into their lessons. This month, we thought we would include a few activities from the Project WILD program to show teachers how it can help them with their new curriculum.
First, if you are not familiar with it, the article The Case for Wildlife Education in Ohio's New Science Standards, does an excellent job covering what the Division of Wildlife has to offer educators for the new standards and is well worth reading. As the article mentions, Project WILD/ Aquatic WILD are supplemental curriculums which are mentioned throughout the Model Curriculum as a great resource for developing project-based learning experiences in the new curriculum.
So how about a couple of examples?
The Aquatic WILD guide has an activity titled Fashion a Fish, which is perfect for anyone interested in teaching about adaptations and how, over time, changes to an animal’s habitat influence its ability to survive. These concepts are included in the Model Curriculum in grades 3-4. Not all fish look alike. As obvious as that statement is, have you ever asked yourself why some fish are long and skinny, while other fish are round? Why are some fish striped horizontally while others striped vertically? Fashion a Fish asks students to describe and interpret how features of different species of fish have helped them survive in their habitats over other species.
In today’s busy society, children’s lives are often crammed full of activities, so most have never taken the moment to ask why a particular animal lives where it does. The Model Curriculum for Grade 2 addresses this concept and so does the Water Safari activity. Water Safari walks the students through a field investigation. Field investigations bring scientific studies outside of the laboratory and into nature, teaching students how to conduct scientific inquiries in uncontrolled environments and giving them real world experiences. Water Safari asks students to observe, identify and describe potential sources of water for wildlife on a study area. This investigation can be done on a variety of sites, including the school grounds. After the data has been collected, students are asked to organize the data and draw conclusions about what kind of wildlife could survive in the area, and asking what type of relationship exists between the presence, or absence, of water and wildlife.
These are just a couple of the activities within the Project WILD and Aquatic WILD curriculum that can help you with the new Science Standards and Model Curriculum. If you are interested in obtaining both guides for FREE, you will need to attend a FREE workshop. Workshops can be found online at Did I mention they are FREE? We can also come to you if you have enough interest in your school district (minimum of 12 participants), give us a call at 1-800-WILDLIFE and we'll work with you to set a date for an in-service training.