Humans and Nature

In the photos below, you will see human-made things and nature. There are examples all around us. Think about what you see outside your window or on your way home from school.

How can humans affect nature?

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photo from Barcelona Zoo

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photo from India Tours and Travels

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photo from Wikipedia

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photo from the Telegraph

A Visit to Oi Bird Park

This week, the Grade 2s visited Oi Bird Park. We are learning to observe and understand the connections between living things in their environment as well as how humans, both challenge and help species to survive.

Click on the photo below to see a slide show in Flickr.

In preparation for the field trip we asked the children the following questions to get them thinking about the purpose of our trip as well as how we can achieve that purpose.

What is our purpose?
(Why are we going to the Oi Bird Park?)
What skills will we need in order to be successful?
How will we act to help us in our learning?

While at the park, we used the Draw, Name, Connect, Explain thinking routine as a tool to investigate the park’s living things in their natural environment.

First, they drew the living things and nonliving things that they saw at that location. Then, they named the things they drew. Next, they drew a line to show connections between all of the living and non-livings things in that environment. Last, they explained how these things are connected.

Next, we will ask the students to Think ( I think I know that…), Puzzle (I wonder if…), Explore (To find out more, I would like to try to…) about their learning at the bird park. We look forward to hearing more about their thinking!

Measuring Animals, Plants and Making Graphs

In Math, the children have been practicing linear measurement. Since we have been researching what our animals look like, we decided to use some of the information we collected to practice figuring out which tools to use and how to use them. The students were asked, “What tool do you think you should use to measure your animal?”

A ruler Mari
A ruler or meter stick Shunye
A trundle wheel Chanu
Other students said they would need a meter stick or a measuring tape.

On the playground, the children were asked to draw a line in chalk to represent the length of their animal. Next to the line, they wrote the measurement as well as the animal’s name. Ken took a picture of each student next to their measurement.


In Chanu’s case we needed students to help show how long his animal is, using their bodies. After all, the blue whale is the largest animal on Earth! Can you see how many Grade Two students it takes to measure a blue whale? Ken had to take two pictures to fit the whole animal in the frame! You might have to zoom in to count the little bodies laying on the playground!

During our measuring experience, some students had problems trying to figure out how to measure really long things with the tools they had. Kai’s measuring tape was only 150 centimeters long, but his animal, the Laysan albatross’s wingspan is about 3 meters. What could he do? With a little prompting, he was able to figure out that he could measure one meter at a time to make 3 meters. Chanu had an enormous predicament. He tried to measure the length of the blue whale and ran out of room. With some prompting, he started measuring where the yellow play area meets the rest of the playground. Unfortunately, he still ran out of room. He solve the problem by making a turn. After a quick chat, he realized that he it was okay to go outside the white lines, so he just extended his line toward the stairs. Other students had their measurements in feet, which they realized they couldn’t measure with metric tools. With a bit of help to convert to the metric system, they were able to measure easily.

Click on the photo below to see a slideshow in flicker.
2C Measuring Animal Length

2C also practiced measuring some potato plants over a two to three week period. They measured five plants and then six after one finally sprouted.


As scientists, they collected quite a bit of data in their charts. Several students realized that their charts were quite messy and hard to read. Since they have learned that scientists need to collect and record their data carefully, several students made their chart again. In the end, they all had at least five days worth of potato plant measurements.

Our next step was to learn about what type of graph is used for showing change over a period of time. We talked about different types of graphs, such as the pictograph and bar graphs. Next, we watched a video on Brainpopjr to learn about line graphs. We looked at our data about the toads to find our highest and lowest number of toads per day. This helped us to decide what type of scale we would use. Then we used the data we collected on our toads to create a line graph as a class.


Finally, each student used the data from one of the plants to create their own line graph, including title, subtitles, labeling, and scale. Here are a few examples.

Making Connections Between Humans and Nature at Oi Bird Park

The Grade 2 students were true inquirers during our field trip to the Oi Bird park on Wednesday. The purpose of our trip was to make observations of the marshlands and the species living there to help us understand more about how human activities can challenge plant and animal survival.

Click on the photo below to see a slide show in Flickr.

As we walked along the trails and looked out the windows from the blinds onto the mudflats, the students observed, took pictures, questioned, made connections, talked about what they saw and wondered.

Back in the classroom, we listed and drew pictures of the plants, animals and human-made things that we noticed at Oi Bird Park. Next, using the prompts listed below, we thought about our ideas, shared our ideas with a partner and wrote our ideas down in sentences.

-How are the animals and plants at Oi Bird Park connected in the food chain or food web?

-How did the human-made things at Oi Bird Park hurt or help the animals and plants?

-How do animals connect to the marshland or forest environments by using camouflage?

Here is what the children wrote after thinking about and discussing their ideas with a partner.

I think the great egret eats fish. Then the fish eat plankton.
I think humans harm nature by habitat loss and global warming.
I think that toads can camouflage at water.

The great egret is eating lots of fish.
I think the fish eat other fish.
The jungle crow camouflaged in the dark.

I saw a bee eating a flower.
I think the bee takes the pollen.
I saw a crab that was in the pond, and it was brownish like the pond (mud).

Chan Seo
Water is needed by living things.

I think crabs eat grass.
The human that made that place is helping animals.
A toad was camouflaged because the toad was brown, and it was on a brown dirt.

A spider makes a web, and when a bug gets stuck in the web, the spider eats it.
I saw a human cutting a tree.
I think the human is going to make something else with the tree.

I saw ants eating bugs. I think bugs eat blood.
Paths hurt ants because paths destroy their home.
I saw a toad camouflaged on a leaf.

I think the baby snail ate the tree.
I think the lizard laid on the rock to find food to eat.
I think the people are hurting the bird because the bird cannot live at the bamboo or the lizard cannot live at the bamboo (which was cut down).

I think the Japanese beetle eats the ladybug.
I saw a snail eating a tadpole.
I think plants help animals because the plant has a tree, and birds will
live (in the tree).
A human cut down the trees so it hurts the nature.
In the water the snail was camouflaging and the mud was slippery.

I saw a bird, and the bird was black, and the branch was black, so I couldn’t see the bird well.

Humans hurt the nature by cutting down trees!
I saw a toad in a muddy lake, and it was camouflaged in the muddy lake!

A spider caught a bug and ate it.
They make bird houses, and let the bird be safe.
A toad was camouflaged in the water.
A lizard was camouflaged on a rock.

I think a beetle eats a baby ladybug.
I think a spider eats big bugs.
Toads eat flies.
When people cut down trees, other people will lose oxygen, and when birds are on the tree that people are cutting, the bird will be flat like a fly.
I saw in the water a path, and I think a snail or a slug made the path because the color of the skin looks like the dirt in the water.

Many students saw a lizard, but I didn’t see anything, but I know it eats flies.
I think the blind hurts plants and animals because it is crushing the plants, and they chop down trees to make the blind.
I did not see the green lizard hiding on in the green leaf, because they’re the same color.

I think the spiders eat the bugs by using it’s web.
I think bees suck the nectar from the flower.
I think some kinds of birds eat the fish.
Grasshoppers camouflage in plants.
Lizards camouflage on rocks.
Toads camouflage on rocks.

I think I saw a spider eating a white dot.
I saw people cutting down trees.
People made fences and the birds might get hurt.
I saw a toad camouflaging itself in the water. I think it was scared to see people.
I saw a grasshopper camouflaging itself so well because first I couldn’t see it. It was hiding in a leaf.

I think I saw a great egret eating a fish.
I saw a person cutting down trees.
I saw that the blind was made out of wood.
I saw grasshopper camouflaging. I thought it was good at camouflaging because it was on a leaf, and I couldn’t see it well.

Understanding Our Central Idea and Learning to Research

To look more deeply at our central idea, “Human activities can challenge plant and animal survival”, I asked the children the following questions:

What is ‘need’?

-Need is when you have to do something, or you want to do something. Takafumi
-I think need means that you have to have that. Nina
-I think a need means that you want something. Lavanya

What does survival mean?

-I think survival means when someone is alive and still lives. Carolina
-Survive means to live. Albin
-Survival means when you are in the jungle, you cannot be weak, and you have to be strong because maybe there are animals that fight you. Kai
-I think survival means that you have lives. Mika

What do living things need to survive?

-I think they need to eat and drink to survive. Daniel
-I think survival means that if you need to run, and you want to rest, but you don’t have much time, and you have to run for your life. I think that is survival. Shunye
-I think living things which are surviving need food, air, water, and shelter to survive. Chanu
-I think living things need water to live. Troy
-I think living things need a house to live. Himari

How do plants and animals depend on each other?

-The plants help animals and people because the plants make air. Taka
-Trees make air good. Chaeeun
-I think animals help each other by giving food to each other like birds give food to their babies. Yellana
-Trees can help animals. Trees have a little bit of water so if that water came out that animal can drink it. Mari
-Animals need each other. If there is a human that wants to hurt an animal and another can save the other animals cause the other animal is stronger. Carolina
-I think that animals and plants both need each other because sometimes in the sea some octopuses want to eat hermit crabs, and some kind of sea plant protects the hermit crabs, and the hermit crab sometimes feed the sea plant that rescued it. Chanu
-I think animals need each other. Some meat eating animals (carnivores) have to eat meat, and if there were no meat they might die. Chan Seo
-I think the animals need each other. Maybe there is an old animal and a young animal. The old animal is not strong enough to get food, so maybe the young animal can help him. Lindsey

For the past few weeks, the Grade Twos have been learning about the features in nonfiction books, and soon they will be writing a nonfiction book about an endangered plant or animal of their choice. To learn how to write a nonfiction book, we have been looking into green sea turtles as a class. We began by reading about them and taking notes about what we learned. To practice note-taking the children worked in groups. Each member of the group was given a card to help them focus on a certain aspect of note-taking such as: key words/phrases, using a new line for a new fact, abbreviating, and using symbols.


The groups read paragraphs about the green sea turtle, collaborated to take notes on stickies and then placed the stickies on the appropriate page in our organizer.

Next, we checked our work to see that we organized it correctly and also looked at what we wrote to see that it was in note form. We have been learning to write just enough words to remind us about what we need to remember.

This week, the children searched for books about their chosen animal and began to read and research, using an organizer and sticky notes. They are organizing their information according to the following questions:

What does it look like?
Where does it live?
What does it eat?
How does it behave?
How do humans hurt it?
How do humans help it?

Click on the photo below to see a slideshow in Flickr.
2C Animal Research