These local insect note cards were created by 2nd graders from the Alice B. Beal Elementary Magnet School in Springfield, Massachusetts, during the fall of 2007. They were part of a two-month Learning Expedition that included field observation and collection, classroom experimentation and research, reading from books and websites, and work with a local entomologist who works for The Smithsonian Institute. The teacher assembled a classroom library with non-fiction books across a wide range of reading levels. This Learning Expedition was a customized, expanded version of a required district science unit.
Students became experts in the insects local to Western Massachusetts, and then began working to create the text and illustrations. To achieve the high level of quality shown in the cards, students did multiple revisions of their scientific drawings and writing, each time receiving feedback from students and adults.
The cards were printed on buff card stock in the school, cut and folded and bundled into sets. The sets were boxed in fancy boxes purchased from an online supplier, and sold in the community as well as given out to important supporters of the school.
Students in this class won a city-wide competition to design an insect habitat; they received a $1,000 prize, which went toward classroom supplies.
How This Project Can Be Useful
- Product format is appealing and can easily be targeted to authentic audiences – note cards from many topic studies can be sold or given out
- Quality of scientific illustration is very strong for 2nd grade students; multiple drafts and revision are evident in the final draft quality
Common Core State Standards
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