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Lesson Plans

Endangered species

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Peggy Woolsey (woolspeg)
Wed, 29 Oct 1997 21:56:17 +0800

You didn't specify what age group you are working with, but I have
done an endanged species project every year that I've taught middle
school.It is especially designed for grade 8. I call it the endangered
species mandala.
Usually I work with the science teacher on this. Where I am, in
grade 8 the students look at habitat and environment in science class.
Using computers, the library, any sources really, they choose an endangered
species to research. They must get enough information to be able to create
visuals. They must be specific, for example, a butterfly won't work, but a
North American Monarch will. An elephant for example must be placed in a
specific habitat, could be India or Africa. This is because they will need
info on the jungle, or grasslands etc. Their research pushes them ever
further into the environment.
After discussing the idea of radial balance and showing mandalas
from all over the world, students do a good detailed drawing of their
animal to place in the center of the work. Around this they will come up
with something to describe a habitat such as water, or mountains. This gets
tricky. How can you make your water represent an ocean as opposed to a lake
or vice versa. And some mountains have bamboo growing in them and some have
softwood trees. Next round might be what the animal eats, or what other
species inhablit the habitat. At this point I am introducing the use of
stencils to make prints that repeat around. Usually they want to stop here,
but I try to get them to keep thinking outwards and what else there is to
think about. I encourage them to keep using bigger sheets of paper, to glue
things on, to think about an entire ecosystem. Does the species migrate?
(More than one habitat?) How do they mate, produce young? Are they social
or do they live alone? How to represent these ideas. Lastly they must
include something which indicates why the species is endangered. Guns,
harpoons, cut down trees, and garbage tend to form this ring .
In making their mandalas, I encourage the
students to also use repeat designs which may or may not have anything to
do with the species. Somethimes dividing the rings with a series of
triangles or some other simple design, adds alot to the overall unity.
The results always knock my socks off. It is a long project and
somethimes I have found that I expected too much from some classes. The
idea can be pared down. Or scaled up. Last year one student did one on
whales which expanded to half a wall. They learn alot about the species,
about radial balance, and the benefits of having things repeat (the
stencils). Often students will use several media by the time they are done.

  • Maybe reply: Judith Auslander: "Re: Endangered species"