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What Snake Am I?

School: Conservatory Lab Charter School

City/State: Dorchester, MA

Grade(s): 2

Format(s): Book: Nonfiction/Informational

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview

Second grade students at Conservatory Lab Charter School created this book during an in-depth study on snakes.  During this exhibition, the students cared for Lily, an albino corn snake, in their classroom. This opportunity allowed students to study a live snake, and for the students to conquer any fear they might have of snakes. Also, as part of their research for this project, the students visited the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology to conduct fieldwork. 

This “what am I” book, written in the first person, comes from the perspective of a snake.  The first page includes information about a particular species of snake, including a description of physical appearance, habitat, food, predators and reproductive cycle. The following page reveals the name of the species.  The resulting text is a combination of scientific facts and descriptive writing full of action words. Pairs of students collaborated on the text, and then each made a realistic drawing of their snake. The students worked on multiple drafts of their drawings, all of which include carefully drawn individual scales, accurate color and patterning. Some students demonstrate understanding of three-dimensional space with overlapping forms and shadows: see page 32 and page 21 for examples. 

To view the students' music video "Lily You Are Nice" go to:

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Shows carefully written entries, which are detailed and accurate. The written physical description of the snake matches the students’ drawings.
  • The final product is well designed and professionally printed. This demonstrates to students the high value of their work.
  • Highlights an example of an interdisciplinary writing/art/science project.

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can construct a closure on the topic of an informative/explanatory text.
  • I can participate in shared research projects.
  • I can use drawings or other visual displays to support what I say.
  • I can use grammar conventions to send a clear message to a reader or listener.
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