Saturday, 19 November 2011

Year 4 Science - Investigating Living Things

Animals give birth and lay eggs

Learning Objective:
At the end of the lesson, pupils will be able to analyze life processes in animals.

Learning Outcomes:
At the end of the lesson
(a) Make generalization that some animals give birth to their young and some lay eggs after watching clip.
(b) Name at least another additional three animals that give birth to their young and animals they lay eggs each without repeating the animals shown by the teacher through video clip.
(c) Classify the animals given by the way they reproduce during group activity.

Teacher show some video.
(a) Dog giving birth

(b) Horse giving birth

(c) Panda giving birth

(d) Whale giving birth

(e) Chicken laying eggs

(f) Fish laying eggs

(g) Turtle laying eggs

(i) Snake laying eggs

Teacher asks:
(a) Do animals reproduce?
(b) From what you have seen?
How does a dog reproduce?
How does a horse reproduce?
How does a panda reproduce?
How does a whale reproduce?
How does a chicken reproduce?
How does a fish reproduce?
How does a turtle reproduce?
How does a snake reproduce?

Teacher stress that:
(a) Not all the fishes lay eggs
(b) Not all the snakes lay eggs

Teacher asks:
(a) Can you give me additional three animals that lay eggs?
(b) Can you give me additional three animals that give birth?
(c) Why do animals need to reproduce?

Group Activity:
1. Pupils are divided into six groups.
2. Teacher gives instruction for group activity.
3. Teacher distributes pictures of different types of animals to each group of pupils.
4. Pupils group the pictures given according to the way they reproduce and paste it in the correct column after discussion.
5. Teacher invites a group of pupils to present their answer.
6. Teacher discusses the answer with the pupils.

Teacher asks:
(a) Can you give me three examples that give birth?
(b) Can you give me three examples that lay eggs?
(c) Teacher distributes exercise sheets as the pupils homework.

Video clips on the reproduction of animals managed to the pupils' attention during the lesson. However, the general response of the pupils was not as good as they still faced some problem in understanding English. At most times, the questions have to be repeated in Chinese in order to get their response. Their participation in the lesson is motivated using reward system started from the previous lessons. I discovered that the reward system had directly encouraged pupils to response in English even though sometimes they may make mistakes in pronouncing the words or forming a proper sentence.

Many pupils made mistakes during group activity especially for the reproduction of offer, echidna, platypus, scorpions and some involved peahen and penguin. These mistakes made are most likely cause by the pupils' unfamiliarity with the animals shown. They did not see these animals in their daily life. The discussion of answers was taken place before other groups managed to paste all the animals correctly since they had made a lot of mistakes. Some misconceptions is corrected during discussion and supported by powerpoint slides. Hopefully through that misconceptions can be altered.

Inquiry is questions and issues, which have a focus and a meaning to engage the learner in going further. Inquiry must have a structure. It must make sense to the learner. It helps the learner construct his or her own understanding. Through asking good questions and having students do the asking and discovering, I know that there is more learning going on in my classroom. It is allowing the students to wonder and ask, be engaged and go further along their own continuum of knowledge building. As more understanding occurs, more questions pop up wanting the learner to continue and continue. I facilitates learning, facilitates an environment that allows that learner to feel comfortable, allows that learner to feel challenged, and allows that learner to try something more than they have already tried before. Through this the learner continues to ask more questions, to push further along their own journey of learning continually asking more questions.


Life cycle

Learning Objective:
At the end of the lesson, pupils will be able to analyze life processes in animals.

Learning Outcomes:
At the end of the lesson, Pupils will be able to
(a) Arrange the pictures of stages of life cycles of a frog, a butterfly and a chicken in a correct sequence after watching video clips.
(b) Make generalization that animals have different life cycles after watching video clips of a frog, a butterfly and a chicken.
(c) Arrange the pictures of stages of life cycles of a praying mantis, a dragonfly, a mosquito, and a honeybee with labels correctly during group discussion.

Teacher shows video clips on
(a) life cycle of a butterfly

(b) life cycle of a frog

(c) life cycle of a chicken

- Teacher invites some pupils to arrange and paste the picture showing state of life cycle of animal on the board.
- Pupils are asked to label each state of life cycle of the animal with teacher guidance.
- After arranging picture and labeling life cycles of a butterfly, a frog, and a chicken.
- Teacher asks: (a) What does the complete process of change that an animal undergo after they are born until grown to be an adult called?
(b) Do all the animals have the same life cycles?
- Teacher guides pupils to make generalization that animal have different life cycles.

Group Activity:
1. Pupils are divided into six groups.
2. Teacher gives instruction for group activity.
3. Teacher distributes four sets of pictures and labels to each group of pupils.
4. Pupils arrange the pictures showing different stages of life cycles in a correct sequence for a praying mantis, a dragonfly, a mosquito, and a honeybee.
5. At the same time, pupils paste the correct label to the corresponding picture.
6. After the pupils had completed, teacher discuss the answer one by one.

Teacher asks:
(a) What does the complete process of change that an animal undergo after they are born until grown to be an adult called?
Teacher distributes exercise sheets to the pupils as homework. 


Generally, the lesson went on in a rush. Most of the time pupils need translation of an English sentence into Chinese in order to understand the meaning before answering any question or continuing the activity. Sometimes I also faced some difficulties in translating since the structure of English language and Chinese are different. Pupils had difficulties in understanding the definition of life cycle. Teacher may has to introduce the word or vocabulary of "life cycle" rather than recall back or take their ideas through questing if they could not answer it.

During group discussion, I also discovered that some of pupils may confuse between larva and pupa stage. Some of the pupils did not notice the number on the space given and mispaste the stages of life cycle. In whole, Most of the pupils are able to paste the labels and pictures in a correct order.

Through their own experiences in arranging the pictures showing different stages of life cycles in a correct sequence for a praying mantis, a dragonfly, a mosquito, and a honeybee and to paste the correct label to the corresponding picture, they were able to make their significance to what they were thinking and where their ideas were taking them. They were able to make their own connections and create something meaningful for themselves. I found that i was able to take something required in the curriculum and actually make it important to the students.

Accessment 1

Meal Worm Life Cycle Classroom Activities

Learning about life cycles is common in elementary school classrooms across the country. From frogs to butterflies, students observe and collect data about the life cycles of these animals. Mealworms are a popular animal in which to study its life cycle. There are many activities that students can do when learning about the life cycle of a mealworm.

  1. Mealworms and Darkling Beetles

    • Although they look like it, the mealworm is actually not a worm. Instead, it is the larvae of a darkling beetle. The darkling beetle is a member of the phylum Arthropoda, meaning that it wears its skeleton on the outside of its body like a suit of armor. The mealworm transforms into this beetle after several weeks of going through the life cycle. Darkling beetles are also known as stinkbugs and are dark brown to black with hardened front wings that are not used in flight. Darkling beetles are about 1 inch long.

    The Life Cycle of a Mealworm

    • Darkling beetles go through a complete metamorphosis. This means they go through four distinct changes during their life cycle. The first stage is the egg stage. A female beetle lays an egg on a leaf and after a couple of weeks the egg hatches and the mealworm emerges. This is the larvae stage of the life cycle. The larva spends its time eating and growing. As it grows, it molts its soft shell periodically. This continues about a half a dozen times for about 3 months. The final molt reveals the next stage of the life cycle, which is the pupa stage. The shell around the larva has hardened and inside the mealworm is turning into a darkling beetle. The pupa does not eat or move. In approximately two weeks the beetle emerges from the pupa and the life cycle is complete.

    Activity 1: Flip Book

    • Students can create a flip book to describe the four stages of the life cycle. To do this, they take a 9 by11 sheet of construction paper and fold it in half length-wise. They then fold it in half two more times to make three creases. Students cut along the creases to the fold, being careful not to cut the bottom paper. This creates four separate flaps. On the cover of each flap they write the name of each stage of the mealworm life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult. When the student lifts the flap they draw a picture of each stage on the top flap, and write a description of the stage on the bottom.

    Acitivty 2: Poster

    • In order to show their understanding of the life cycle of a mealworm, students can create an informational poster showing each stage. Using different materials that can be found around the classroom or house, students can create each stage on the poster. For example, students can use a piece of rice as the egg stage and affix it to a real leaf. Students can use several pieces of rice or even a gummy worm to represent the mealworm! This activity allows students to demonstrate their creativity and knowledge of the life cycle and is a good culminating activity.

    Activity 3: Life Cycle Observation

    • The best way to learn about the life cycle of a mealworm is to observe it. Teachers can help their students do this by ordering darkling beetle larvae from many companies across the country, such as Ward's Natural Science.
      When the larvae arrive it is important to create a habitat that they will thrive in. Carefully read the instructions that arrive with the mealworms. Student should prepare their own observation journals in which to record their daily observations as the mealworm goes through the life cycle. Students can conduct investigations of how each organism responds to different stimuli, such as black and white surfaces, light, touch, barriers, moisture and temperature. These observations can be recorded in their observation journals. Over a two week period, students can observe the mealworms changing from the larvae to pupae. Being able to observe the darkling beetle emerge from the pupa is an experience they won't forget.

    Accessment 2

    Activities for Children About the Life Cycle of a Butterfly

    Children are naturally curious about insects including butterflies. Year 4 pupils can learn about the life cycle of a butterfly through memorable classroom activities. Read books, implement crafts and create flip books to introduce them to a butterfly's metamorphosis. In addition, provide an opportunity for direct observation to teach preschoolers about the four stages of the butterfly life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult.


    1. Story Time

      • Share stories with children that describe the life cycle of a butterfly. Select picture books with simple phrasing and lively, captivating illustrations. Some age-appropriate books to share with preschoolers are "A Very Magical Caterpillar Tale: The Story of the Butterfly Life Cycle" by Audrey M. Roy and "Waiting for Wings" by Lois Ehlert. Share the books with preschoolers during story time. Encourage children to discuss what they know about the life cycle of a butterfly and the new things they have learned.

      Life Cycle Mobile

      • Draw a spiral on a paper plate and then cut along the line. Draw a leaf, pupa, butterfly body and butterfly wings on construction paper and cut them out. Children can draw butterfly eggs on the leaf and decorate the pupa and butterfly wings using paint, glue, glitter, or any other embellishments. Help them glue the wings to the butterfly body. Staple the stages in the butterfly's life cycle to varying lengths of string and then staple the strings to the paper plate. Attach another string to the top of the paper plate and use it to hang the mobile.

      Life Cycle Flip Book

      • Fold a piece of construction paper in half. On one half, cut three vertical slits, stopping at the fold to create four flip sections. Help children write the numbers 1 through 4 on each section. Provide each child with four pictures representing the stages of the butterfly's life cycle. Encourage them to put the life cycle stages in order by pasting the correct picture under the corresponding number. Once the flip book has dried, children can flip through the book regularly to review the lesson.

      Direct Observation

      • Purchase a live butterfly kit to allow children to directly observe the life cycle of a butterfly. Live butterfly kits usually contain several caterpillars and habitat with instructions. Children can observe these caterpillars as they transform into butterflies. Create a chart to enter the children's observations each day. Allow them to make predictions about how long it will take for the metamorphosis to the next stage of development.

    Accessment 3

    Life Cycle of a Caterpillar

    Primary school children love magic and the wonder of discovery; sometimes, nothing can seem more magical than the idea of having a caterpillar go to sleep and wake up with wings. Growth and seeing how insects, people and animals change as they get older is also a source of fascination for them. Sequential pictorials can help illustrate the life cycle of the butterfly, which is one of the more dramatic of all.


    1. Egg

      • An egg is laid on the underside of a leaf. It appears to look like a small green translucent marble. Preschooler's attention would be engaged right away, if the teacher were to make a game of finding the egg under a leaf. Make leaves out of green construction paper and have the children turn them over to find the "egg" -- a small green bead -- you have colored or glued to the back of a single leaf. If you have room for a display in your classroom, get an artificial tree, and glue a marble to the underside of one leaf. Tell the children that the egg has been laid in a secret spot and have them look for it individually. Another idea is to draw a mural of a tree and give each child an outline of a leaf to color and cut out. Have them glue an egg to the back of their leaf. Attach each leaf to the tree at the stem with tape or tacks, so that the underside can be lifted.


      • The caterpillar emerges from the egg in the next stage of the life cycle. In order to illustrate that, draw a fat caterpillar with lots of sections that the preschooler can color. Encourage them to use their favorite colors on the caterpillar, while explaining that these colors will be similar for the butterfly. Or, draw a poster size outline of a caterpillar and let each child color in a section. Hang this next to the artificial tree. If you have done the tree mural, cut out individual caterpillars that are smaller than the leaves. Have the children color their caterpillars and then attach them to the leaves.


      • The caterpillar wraps himself in a cottony cocoon called the chrysalis to undergo the process of metamorphosis that will turn it into a butterfly. Demonstrate the size and shape of the chrysalis. Have the children paste cotton to a simulated caterpillar, which can be formed of clay or crayon pieces. Attach the chrysalis to the branches of the tree. You can also make up a little song about the caterpillar sleeping through the winter.


      • Have each child color a butterfly and cut them out. Hang the butterflies with thread from the ceiling, so that they can appear to be flying in the breeze, or tack them to the wall by the tree mural. Point out the differences between some of the colorings of the butterflies, explaining that nature provides us with many different colors and types of butterflies.

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