Thursday, January 21, 2010

Running With The Wolves

According to The Farmer’s Almanac, Native Americans named January the month of the Full Wolf Moon. Historically, it was a time of increased prowling by wolf packs, looking for food as the winter deepened. Most students are fascinated by wolves. Wolves are big, hairy, and find humans to be tasty (at least in fairy tales). They’re also mysterious creatures that offer plenty of fodder for lessons in a host of subjects.

Lon Po Po, by Ed Young
Subjects: Literature, Chinese culture and Inventions
Grade: K-3

Wow, Grandma’s packing some pretty big teeth in this Chinese version of the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. Students delight in this engaging twist on a familiar tale, and this resource offers several enrichment activities for the classroom to further the experience. Published by TeacherVision (part of Pearson Education, Inc.), which offers a wide range of education materials, such as lesson plans and printables. While most resources require a subscription to the service, some free content is available. A
seven-day free trial is also offered.

What I like about this resource are the options that it presents.  Students use Venn diagrams to compare and contrast Lon Po Po with Little Red Riding Hood, but they can also take their analysis a bit deeper by discussing the story from the wolf’s point of view. Seeing events from a different perspective isn’t intuitive for kids this age, particularly when they’re asked to see things from a “bad” character’s viewpoint. It’s a good exercise for little noggins. The resource also provides links to Chinese symbols for students to reproduce, as well as a list of Internet resources and an Ed Young bibliography.

Wolves and Dogs: Fact and Fiction
Subjects: Endangered species, Wildlife, Biology
Grade: 3-8

I’ve logged a fair amount of time watching “The Dog Whisperer,” so I thought this quiz about dogs and wolves would be a snap. Oops. This old dog will obviously have to learn some new tricks, or at least dog facts. This online quiz posits ten questions about the differences between dogs and wolves. What’s nice about the format is that after clicking on either “true” or “false,” you immediately know whether you’re right or not – no waiting until the quiz is finished to see how you did. You’re given the correct answer, plus additional information about the particular topic addressed by the question. Immediate feedback is critical in learning, and as usual, PBS/NOVA, who offers this resource, has gotten it right. NOVA is an award-winning PBS TV science series, and their companion Web site offers a multitude of science-related lessons and activities. Sponsored by the WGBH Educational Foundation.

The Living Edens - Denali: The Wolf and the Moose
Subjects: Biology, Geography, Wildlife, Ecology
Grade: 6-8

Which would you rather be – prey or predator? Me too. In this lesson, students study the Denali Wilderness in Alaska and identify the predator/prey relationships of animals. They will role play moose and wolves to simulate the relationship between species found in Denali National Park, and write about how the balance of nature works.  Published by PBS TeacherSource, this lesson gets the kids up and moving in an outdoor physical activity. PBS TeacherSource provides PreK-12 educational resources and activities for educators tied to PBS programming and correlated to state and national standards.

~Joann's Picks~

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