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Why Do Animals Look the Way They Look?

School: Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School

City/State: Washington, DC

Grade(s): K

Format(s): Book: Nonfiction/Informational

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

Project Overview

“Why Do Animals Look the Way They Look?” is a non-fiction book written and illustrated by kindergarten students at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School.

Students were inspired to create this book following a trip to their local library. When the librarian told them that they did not have many books on animals, the students decided to create their own. They were already studying the adaptations of frogs, so they broadened their focus to include the adaptations of different animals local to Rock Creek Park.

Working in teams, the students started by researching their given animal. They contacted local experts and visited a farm to complete field research. At the same time, they learned about non-fiction books and worked with a professional writer to organize their research into graphic organizers.

Through the course of this project, the students learned about the process of revision. They created their own criteria for scientific drawings and writing; learned how to track their progress, give and receive feedback, and reflect on how their work improved with each draft. The students ultimately created five drafts of their scientific drawings and three drafts of their writing prior to their final product.

The completed book is now available at the student's local library in the non-fiction reference section.

Mundo Verde is a public charter school in Washington DC with a focus on sustainability and biliteracy. The youngest students at Mundo Verde learn 100% in Spanish. Older students spend one full day learning in either English or Spanish and the next day they switch to learn in the other language. Students study every subject in each language, learning parallel, not repeating content in both languages. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Highlights high-quality, accurate illustrations by kindergarten students
  • Highlights young students working on writing and drawing skills through multiple rounds of drafts and critique
  • The writing is simple, and nicely captures the perspective of young children while also providing accurate information
  • Creating a book for their local library, with an authentic audience and purpose is motivating for students

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • With support, I can answer questions about important details in an informational text.
  • With support, I can identify the main topic and details of an informational text.
  • I can teach my reader about a topic using pictures and words.
  • With support from adults, I can answer questions about things I’ve done or learned about.
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