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Vermilion Parish Schools

Activity 7:  Life Cycles (GLEs: 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 30 33)

Materials List: chart for graphic organizer; mealworm, caterpillar, or tadpole; science learning logs; Science Learning Log Rubric BLM.

Have students begin a KWL chart, a type of graphic organizer (view literacy strategy descriptions) about lifecycles. Use this chart to record what students know or believe they know about the lifecycle of the organism being studied. This chart is divided into three sections. In the K section of the chart, the teacher records what students know or believe they know about the organism. In the W section of the chart, the teacher records what the students would like to know or what they wonder about the organism.  The L section of the chart is completed at the end of the unit to record what the students feel they have learned during the study of lifecycles and the organism. During the course of the unit, refer to the KWL chart to review, clarify, or modify student understanding.

Investigation Task:   In small groups, the students will observe the life cycle of a mealworm, caterpillar, and/or tadpole.  Introduce vocabulary appropriate to the life cycle being studied. As the students observe the organisms at each stage of development, they can record these observations in their science learning log (view literacy strategy descriptions). The students will illustrate and label each stage of development in the life cycles. The teacher will facilitate a group discussion about the differences of each stage, including a discussion about metamorphosis. Facilitate a class discussion/observation session to identify the physical characteristics of the organisms being studied.  Discuss with students why each physical characteristic might be important or what the purpose is of that physical characteristic for the organism and how it might help the organism to survive. Students are to discuss the rationale for their choices. What physical characteristics (e.g., size, shape, color) do the organisms have in common?

After observing an organism, proceed through each stage in its life cycle; students will then choose a method to demonstrate their understanding of a life cycle. For example, students could create pictures using various media, creatively dramatize the life cycle, write a story about the life cycle observed (fiction or nonfiction), or design a computer project.

Upon completing the unit, science learning logs will be assessed using the Science Learning Log Rubric BLM.

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