Mrs. Madden's Second Grade Class
Blythe Academy
Greenville, South Carolina

To begin our shark unit, I showed the children a "How Much Do You Know?" PowerPoint to let me know how much they already knew (or thought they knew) about sharks. Some of them were really knowledgeable while others had a lot of misconceptions.

Next, we read shark non-fiction books aloud and learned about the note-taking process. We took guided notes about sharks. We used this information to create ABC Fact PowerPoints about sharks. Each student created a slide containing a fact about sharks. Students learned to change fonts, colors, insert pictures, and use animation. This was a new experience for many of them and they did excellent!

View one of our PowerPoint ABC Books

After becoming efficient note takers, students chose their own individual shark to learn about. We used Internet sources, such as Enchanted Learning, as well as books to gather information. Students used six index-cards for recording their notes: Body/Appearance, Habitat, Diet, Dangers, Protection, and Interesting Facts.


This unit coincided with our non-fiction study in language arts. We had been learning about the components of non-fiction books, such as table of contents, indexes, and glossaries. We saw a lot of these things in the shark books we were reading! Students decided they knew so much about sharks by this point that they could publish their own shark books! Students took their shark notes and created their very own non-fiction books. Books included six chapters, table of contents, indexes, glossaries, and real shark photographs - just like real non-fiction books!

Photograph of Shark Book Covers

Finally, students worked individually, in pairs, or in small groups to create an extension activity to show what they learned about sharks. By far the most popular extension activity chosen was to create a shark board game. Students had a lot of fun coming up with ideas for these games, such as "You go caught in a wave - move back 2 spaces" or "You caught five fish. Go ahead 5 spaces!" Other extension projects included shark mobiles and posters.

photographic of board game

Students really learned a lot about sharks and know a lot more about these creatures now. We were able to clear up a lot of misconceptions and everyone agrees that sharks are really cool animals!

South Carolina Standards:

Language Arts:

2-R2.7 Demonstrate the ability to differentiate between fiction and nonfiction

2-R2.8 Continue identifying the characteristics of genres such as fiction, poetry, drama, and informational texts

2-W2.1 Demonstrate the ability to use writing to explain and inform.

2-R1.17 Demonstrate the ability to respond to texts through a variety of methods, such as creative dramatics, writing, and art



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