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Student Solutions- Saving Our Surroundings

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Keywords: Interactive PowerPoint, web magazine, habitat
Subject(s): Biology, Life Science, Technology, Photography, English/Language Arts, Science
Grades 4 through 8
School: Bel Ridge Elementary School, Saint Louis, MO
Planned By: Sharon O'Toole
Original Author: Sharon O'Toole, Saint Louis
The purpose of this lesson is to explore and analyze the environmental impact of humans on the native plants and animals of Missouri. Students will photograph a native plant of their choice during a fieldtrip to the Missouri Department of Conversation using a digital camera. They will also photograph an animal if possible. With a grant from the Missouri Conservation Department the students will plant and tend a native flower garden which will attract native insects such as bees and butterflies. With this resource, they will have the opportunity to photograph these insects. Students will research their plant and animal focusing on the environment and the affect humans have on it. This research will involve contacting personnel in the Missouri Conservation Department and other experts in this area. Students will also investigate their plant and animal habitat, background needs, development of animal and plant and the impact the loss of the plant or animal will have on humans. Included in their final project will be a proposed solution to prevent the endangerment of native plants and animals. Students will create Interactive PowerPoint productions similar to those in museums to share with teachers and classmates. In addition, students will use Multimedia Lab V to create web magazines similar to informational brochures in museums compiled into one large class magazine to share with community along with a book to be donated to classes.

By the end of this unit students will:
• Be able to efficiently operate a digital camera.
• Be able to identify native plants and animals.
• Be able to explain habitat.
• Be able to identify factors that endanger local habitats.
• Conduct accurate research and contact local experts.
• Prepare a written report.
• Create products using Multimedia Lab V, PowerPoint, and digital camera.
• Present orally using their computer created products.

Students will be involved in planting the native plants for the butterfly garden which will be inviting to native insects, will beautify the school yard and provide an outdoor classroom. This will capture their interest in the world around them. Many of my students don’t have the opportunity to visit nature; therefore nature will come to them. Donning a digital camera each student will photograph the plants and insects they have chosen to study. They will have the opportunity to photograph plants and insects during their field trips to several different local habitats while completing an activity designed to encourage and reinforce learning. Students will contact the Missouri Conservation Department via email, and research their topics using the Internet, books, magazines and other resources. The goal of the Missouri Conservation Department is to educate people about the environment of the state of Missouri and students will be learning the value of utilizing resources in the community.

Students will then organize their information into a report using Interactive PowerPoint creating an informative medium to educate their classmates about the plants and animals of Missouri and the importance of conservation. Students will present their Interactive PowerPoint presentations to the class including an interactive quiz based on information included in the presentation. Students will then create web magazines and picture books compiled of everyone’s information to be shared with classes of other grades. These resources will be used as guides for the outdoor garden. Photographs that students take of plants and animals will be incorporated into Interactive PowerPoint, web magazine and picture book using software purchased from Tool Factory.

This unit complies with the Missouri educational standards and goals. By participating in engaging and empowering lessons, students are actively learning life skills, processing skills and skills to help them be successful on the state standardized tests. This cross curricular unit incorporates research skills, writing and reading skills, science and presentation skills.
This lesson incoprates the outdoor garden, field trips and encourages students to becme active members of their community.
Materials: Web Page, Spreadsheet, Social Studies, Science, Flash/USB Drives, Batteries, Camera Bags, Digital Voice Recorders, Digital SLR, Wildlife, Slideshow
Other Items: 5 Rechargable batteries, $125 each, total of $625.00
1 Battery Charger Kit, $50 each, total of $50.00
5 Camera Bags, $150 each, total of $750.00
5 Digital Camera, $750 each, total of $3750.00
2 tripods, $70 each, total of $140.00
5 memory cards, $100 each, total of $500.00