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
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!
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.
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:
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
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