During a spring expedition, first and second-grade students learned about the symbiotic relationships between plants and animals. As they studied these relationships, they took an in-depth look at dairy cows and their relationship to plants. Students were challenged with the task of writing a five-paragraph essay about one part of a dairy cow's anatomy. Each child selected a part of the anatomy that they were most interested in. Students worked closely with local dairy farmers and went on multiple field trips to gather pertinent information. They also used various texts to gather information to help them create original pieces of writing.
Each piece of writing went through three rounds of feedback. One round was with a peer, the second, with a 7 or 8th-grade mentor, and the third round was with the teacher. Students also created bean-art depicting the dairy cow, and they labeled the part they described in their writing. The writing and artwork were gathered into a hard-back book. During the process, students were involved in deciding the order of the information presented in the book. Copies of the book were donated to the school library and the local dairy experts.
How This Project Can Be Useful
- Excellent example of using outside experts to develop both written and visual representations
- Demonstrates an engaging topic for elementary students and a nice entry point into the study of animals – via their parts
- Shows a unique use of materials to create a visually compelling work
- Project description exemplifies a process that is detailed, complete and results in a quality writing piece
Common Core State Standards
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