|Lesson Plan: My Family and Me|
Length of sessions:
Introduction Activity (60 minute session)Read The Great Big Enormous Turnip by Alex Tolstoy or Frederick by Leo Lionni. Brainstorm and discuss the roles of each family member and their contribution to the family unit (emphasizing cooperation and the contribution to the family unit). Include traditional families, single parent families, blended families and extended family members in one household [grandparent(s), cousin(s)] as part of the discussion. Record thoughts on butcher paper. Ask the students to draw themselves and their families. Display the pictures around the room or in the hall.
Activity 1(45 minute session)Using the notes from the discussion in the Introduction, work with the students to create a list of the jobs done by each person in his/her family. Incorporate this information into a web connecting how each person influences everybody else. After completing the family web, read Families by Aylette Jenness. Working in teams, ask the students to add in other people, including aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends (and pets) on an outer circle who play a significant role in their lives. What role do these people have in their lives? Allow time for the students to share with their teams and report back to the whole class. Talk about families and community. Compare similarities and differences.
Activity 2(30 minute session)Read Ant Cities by Arthur Dorros. Discuss ants as social insects in a community and how they cooperate as a group. Record different ant roles on butcher paper (clean the nest, feed the larva, collect food, help each other, etc.) Compare and contrast the different roles of ants and people. Discuss the student's predictions and findings. Using predictions and findings from their journals, have the students draw or write conclusions. Ask the teams or individuals to share with the class.
Activity 3(30 minute session)Locate active ant trails or nests on the school grounds. Over a one week period, have different teams (4-6 students) observe ant trails and colonies at various times of the day (once in early morning and once mid-day or late afternoon ). Have the students record observations in their journals. Have the students write their predictions in their journals about what they think the ants are doing, and how it contributes to the colony. Offer food (sugar, tuna, dry pet food, popped popcorn, peanut butter, etc.) to the ants and observe their response (communications, cooperation). Have the students record observations in their journals. Have the students write their predictions in their journals about what they think the ants are doing, and how it contributes to the colony.
Activity 4(45 minute session)Review what the students have learned about the roles of ants in colonies and people in families. Read A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams, A Terrible Thing that Happened at Our House by Marge Blaine, or Evan's Corner by Elizabeth Star Hill (please note: this book reflects 1960 stereotypes of Afro-American families. Exercise sensitivity to your students' situations). Discuss the story with the students. What does the story mean to you? What do you think the story is saying about families and communities? What is important about the story? How did other people contribute to the family after the fire or to Evan creating his special corner? Record on butcher paper.
Closure Activity(30 minute session)Teach the students the song, The Ants Go Marching and let them brainstorm and create their own verses based on the behavior of the ants they observed and their own family experience (see attached).
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