Science and Technology/Engineering
Additional Activities to Enhance the Learning Standards
Life Science (Biology)
In this Appendix are additional activities to enhance the learning standards. Activities in regular type are Ideas for Developing Investigations and Learning Experiences, those in italics are Suggested Extensions to Learning in Technology/Engineering.
- Using string, mark out a circle of about two meters in diameter in the schoolyard or a nearby park. Have students survey the biodiversity of the circle. Younger students can look for leaves of different shapes and older students can find out how many different types of plants and animals are found in the circle. Ask how the living things in the circle might be different in different seasons, then test predictions by going out to see.
- Design and build several cardboard boxes, each of which has a small round opening at a different location on the box. Cover newly germinating seeds with the various boxes and observe how the stems grow toward the light that comes through the openings. (T/E 2.3)
- Build a terrarium containing plants and small animals, e.g., earthworms, other soil organisms, and insects. Discuss the needs of living things and let the students participate in maintenance of the terrarium. (T/E 1.1, 1.2, 1.3)
- Examine a variety of nonliving and living things. Describe the differences among them.
- Sort and sub-sort pictures of living things into groups based on characteristics that you can see.
- Observe the changes in physical characteristics during the life cycle of a chick. Note: it is important to provide adequate incubation equipment, space, and housing facilities for the chicks.
- Compare a bicycle wheel and other cycles in machinery. (T/E 2.2)
- Examine and compare manmade objects engineered to enhance the senses or protect parts of bodies that are centers of the senses, e.g., hearing aids, gloves, glasses, ear plugs. (T/E 1.2, 2.2)
- Discuss animals that hibernate. Some examples from Massachusetts are the garden snail, box turtle, chipmunk, woodchuck, black bear, and bat.
- In the fall, collect samples of the food items (seeds, nuts, grains) that a local chipmunk would store to eat while hibernating. Keep in a dry place over the winter. Notice that these foods do not spoil. Notice that they cannot be found outdoors in the winter. Discuss the high nutritional value of these foods for animals.
- Discuss how animals' fur changes to prepare for winter and compare with what humans do to prepare for winter.
- Compare winter adaptations of wild mammals native to the area, e.g., squirrels, woodchucks, mice, raccoon, deer, bats, coyotes, etc.
- Discuss what happens to leaves that fall in the woods each year (decomposition).
- Explore objects and technologies used to make human life comfortable during the four seasons and bring examples or pictures of examples from home, e.g., air conditioner, fan, winter coat, wool hat. (T/E 1.1, 2.1)
- Observe and discuss animals in their natural habitats.
- Observe and record the names of plants and animals in your neighborhood or on a field trip, then prepare a field guide that describes these animals.
- Give students an animal and its habitat needs. Allow the students to imagine that they are that organism. Can they find what they need to survive, i.e., food, water, shelter/space?
- Explain how tools of technology such as glue, scissors, tape, ruler, paper, toothpicks, straws, spools, and other mechanical fasteners can be used to make or build animal habitats. (T/E 1.2, 1.3)
- Using paper and pencil or graph paper as tools, sketch a drawing of the front view of the habitat. (T/E 1.3)