First we explored the world of mealworms. We examined the tiny organisms closely, identifying their structures and observing their behaviors. We provided them with a suitable environment making sure we included the factors necessary for growth and survival: air, food, water, and space. Over time, we noticed changes. We identified the stages of development as our mealworms transformed first into pupae and then into darkling beetles. We asked questions, created models, designed investigations, and supported our claims with evidence. Throughout our research, we jotted down and sketched out our findings in our science notebooks.
Next we conducted some "field research." We split into two groups of scientists. Half "observed" (watched videos) and researched (read articles) about the monarch butterfly's lifecycle while the other half did the same with the darling beetle's lifecycle. We came together at our Science Summit to compare our findings. After presenting our arguments, we agreed that we had made a truly amazing discovery: the graceful monarch butterfly and the pesky darkling beetle actually have a great deal in common. These two seemingly different species have so much in common in fact, that they share the same classification: insects! Next we worked in collaborative writing teams and wrote articles to share our findings.
We followed up our study of life cycles with a close look at interdependence. First we created models of food chains and food webs. Next we identified a variety of ecosystems including their living and non living factors.
To help answer our question, we "close read" the first scene from Pixar's WALL-E. Pausing and rewinding our way through this wordless but detailed scene, we jotted down our noticings and then looked for patterns. We coded the commonalities and used this evidence to "figure out" or infer what the writers wanted us to know and understand. We were amazed at what we discovered! Due to over consumption and ignorance, humans had depleted all resources and destroyed all ecosystems. Earth had become uninhabitable!
Soon after watching WALL-E, we read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. We were only a few pages into the book when light bulbs began to go on. We were struck by the similarities between the seemingly unrelated stories. Once again, we worked in collaborative writing teams to "scoop" the story.
Now we had the answer to our question: we need to learn about life cycles, ecosystems, and interdependence, so we can understand that all organisms including humans are part of the giant ecosystem called Earth. We have to take responsibility for the care of our planet and its resources to ensure a healthy environment where all organisms can thrive!
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