Spiders: Heroes or Villains - Learning Expedition Spring 2012

2nd Grade Expedition – Spring 2012

Spiders: Heroes or Villains - Learning Expedition Spring 2012In the spring of 2012, the second grade classes at Discovery Charter School sunk their fangs into a multidisciplinary Learning Expedition entitled “Spider – Heroes, Villains or Both”. Over the course of nearly three months’ study, our second grade scholars carried out in-depth studies of spiders and they developed personal understanding of the guiding questions: “Are spiders heroes of villains of the animal kingdom?” and “What would happen if there were no spiders?”

After being hooked with the introduction of new classroom pets –tarantulas Zoey and Grace– students started building background knowledge of spiders. As they did, they studied the features on non-fiction texts and practiced useful skills of reading for information. To build hands-on experience through field work, students visited the nearby Hellmer Nature Center. They made observations about the behaviors and diets of local spider populations, analyzed data through reflection and discussion and collected specimens for close study.

After several weeks of general spider research and a classroom visit from a local arachnid collector and some of his prized pets, students began working with a partner to become experts on a particular kinds or species of spider. Using informational texts and online resources, partners collaborated to identify the unique characteristics and adaptations of their spiders and assigned to each a “Super Spider” identity.

They synthesized their learning to create game cards featuring a a catchy name, quantified powers, a carefully hand-drawn illustration, and an informative caption. All the cards combined to form a deck used for the game “Super Spider Showdown”.

At the end of this learning expedition, groups comprised of experts from both classrooms present their findings to students, staff and families at a school-wide exhibition day.

Click on the thumbnails below to see more photos from this Learning Expedition…

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