One of the problems I have run into time and again while teaching my kids is the inablity to understand a concept that was not easy to reproduce right in front of them. Saying the ocean is big, doesn’t sink in until I can find a nature show that clearly shows a huge section of the ocean or take them to the ocean.Other helpful visuals are the graphics where you see several Empire State building on top of each other to show how deep the ocean is. The kids struggle with abstract thinking and generalization. Therefore I am always on the look out for new ideas to bring those large hard to understand ideas and make them teachable.
On Pinterest I saw a project where you used graduated circles to represent an address. The smallest circle was your address. The next step up was your town, your county, your state, your continent. Wow, brillant and hands on.
When we started the Apologia book Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.
|Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day: Exploring Creation with Zoology 1By Jeannie K. Fulbright / Apologia Educational MinistriesThe ruby-throated hummingbird, yellow-rumped warbler, little brown bat, spicebush swallowtail butterfly, Mexican bean beetle, common honeybee—they all have wings, and you’ll find them here in this lavishly illustrated elementary science curriculum. Using the Charlotte Mason approach, 14 lessons include notebook activities, special projects, and hands-on experiments to teach kids about birds, bugs, bees, beetles, butterflies, and more. 240 pages, hardcover.|
The first lesson was on Scientific Classification. I realized even with the nice graphics some of my children could not understand the concept of taxinomy. Taking an animal and breaking it down bit by bit into smaller and smaller groups until you have it’s exact scientific name. That’s when the address circles came to mind!
Here is my twist on the Pinterest idea, using Scientific Taxonomy!
1) We decided what animal we were going to use. That was a no brainer for us. Last week we saved a Downy Woodpecker and this science book was on “Flying Creatures.” Everyone voted Downy Woodpecker! I looked up the bird and found exactly what information would need to go on the 7 graduated circles.
2) We gathered up all sorts of circular items from a mason jar up to a bucket. Then I layered the circles until I was happy with layers. (great way to reinforce circles with the pre-schooler!)
3) The largest circle was made from a file folder as were several other circles. I used cardstock for the other circles. The circles need to have more structure then a plain piece of paper.
5) Then we went to work as a team. Each child got their circle and I had the information printed out. The kids had to put on each circle what what classification level (phylum, family, genus…) And where our woodpecker would be in this level. I encouraged my kiddos that need extra memory helps to draw pictures of some of the levels. For the largest picture they drew the woodpecker we saved. The Chordata Phylum they drew a spine. Ect.
6) Now for the most important part, telling me what they just created. Each child would curl up with me and tell me about what each level meant and why they drew the pictures they drew.
This turned out to be a great project to teach scientific classification and taxonomy. I will be using this idea again for other concepts in the future!
If you try this type of project please leave a comment and/or link to your post! I would love to see other families wonderful projects!