If you’re looking for some great resources for third grade (and quite possibly 2nd, 4th, and 5th), take a look at Gecko Techo.
Gecko Techo has tons of Blogging How-tos, lots of info on Google Docs, Presentations, etc. There’s digital citizenship information for both teachers and students, as well as keyboarding sites, coding info, and much more.
One of my third grade classes is working on a unit of learning about, and deciphering the differences between developed and developing countries. They are investigating what makes a country developed, why certain countries develop and other don’t, and trying to figure out how we can close the gap.
Step 1: The Premise
We began by gathering information on 2 counties (one developed; the other developing) such as literacy rate, life expectancy, population, GDP per capita, and other statistical facts that could be found online. They recorded their findings in a Word document. This information was later used to graph the results and to develop a better understanding of the differences between developed and developing countries.
After all the information was gathered students went to Create-a-Graph and began entering their data. They selected specific data to compare 2 or more countries (i.e., literacy rates of Singapore vs. Afganastan; Life Expectancy of people in Singapore vs. Cuba; GDP of Singapore vs. The Philippines; etc.). We used Singapore for the developed country as that is where all the students live. The students got to choose which developing country they researched and, not surprisingly, a lot chose either Haiti or Afghanistan. (Note to self: next time, I will have students sign up for a country to avoid repeats).
Step 4: Publishing
After all the data was collected and graphed, the students downloaded their graphs as PDFs and I then uploaded them all to Youblisher to share their findings with people from around the world. You can take a look at their graphs here.
As part of our science curriculum we teach a unit called “Structures of Life.” A great resource to use for this unit is the cuddly mealworm (which are actually larva, not worms). They’re easy to care for, the metamorphic phase is relatively short (each stage takes a few weeks), and let’s face it, they’re downright cute.
Here are some resources I use when having my students do research on the life cycle of a mealworm.
All about Mealworms– Enchanted Learning. Great site for information gathering about your loveable mealworm.
Mealworm Webquest– Lots of facts and pictures here from Golden Lake Elementary School.
Insect Brainpop – “Diversity of Life” (This movie now requires a Brainpop subscription)
Images of Insects — Lots of good images and facts from the Iowa State University’s Department of Entomology.
FossWeb – Great collection of information for teachers and students
Some projects that I’ve done in the past with my third grade students include Movies, PowerPoints, Webquests, Collaboration Project with High School Biology Classes, Creating Mini-books, Microscope Explorations, and Interviews with Entomologists.
In a recent Foss science unit, a third grade class was learning about the structures of life. The teacher wanted her students to be able to focus on a specific animal and learn about the following things: Physical Traits, babies, habitat, food, behaviors/interactions and anything that “wow’d” the student about their animal. What made this project different from other animal research projects is that the students could only choose their animals from a list of “animals with a bad rep.” This included animals like anacondas, sharks, cockroaches, human bot flies, killer bees, wasps, bats, and naked mole rats, just to name a few. In order to speed the project along, the teacher pre-selected a couple dozen websites which I dropped in a network folder that the students have access to.
Sharks - by Nicholas
After gathering all of the information, I had the students begin an Inspiration diagram about their animal. The diagram had three levels: The main topic (the animal); the research category (physical traits, habitats, etc.); and the information that the students found. After all the information was entered (the rapid fire feature in Inspiration makes this step go quickly), the students were then instructed on how to arrange their diagrams to better display their findings in a hierarchal way.
Watch this video to see how rapid fire works.
Monkeys - by Ellen
The open-endedness of this project made differentiation effortless. Some students were able to get their research organized with a few facts and display it in an organized way. There were others who listed over 30 facts on their given animal, and then went on to change the font, create new line colors, add new shapes, and insert pictures. Read more of this post