Friday, September 23, 2011

Observation skills

This week I brought 3 species of hatchling turtles into the classroom- map, snapping and painted turtles.  Each pair of students was given a hatchling and required to make qualitative and quantitative observations.  Measurements and sketches of the carapace and plastron were made, as well written descriptions.  Part way through class, we mixed up turtles and descriptions, and their classmates tried to identify the turtle from the description.  We then critiqued what observations were most helpful for making the correct identification, and showed field guides (bird, reptile and insect guides) as a model for how these descriptions are  made by professionals.  Students loved getting to see the live turtles, and I think it helped them understand the importance of accurate, detailed note-taking.

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