Schoolyard Crawlers and Fliers Inquiry

Schoolyard Crawlers and Fliers Inquiry

Designed By: Irene “Rae” Frost

Age Level: 5-7

Materials Needed

  • Children’s Literature: In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
  • Sheet of white paper for students to draw a T-graph to record observations
  • Clipboard (1 per student)
  • Pencils
  • Yellow Highlight Markers (several to share)
  • Chart paper and markers
  • Background Information

Lesson Setup

  1. Gather students on carpet. Draw a T-graph on the chart paper and label with “Crawler” and “Flier”.
  2. Then ask students to pay attention to the different types of animals and insects they will see whenbyou read the story, In the Tall, Tall Grass.
  3. Ask students to come up with a workable definition of what a “Crawler” or a “Flier” might be.
  4. Write key words under each label.
  5. Ask guiding questions to direct the discussion about the types of animals and insects they might see in our schoolyard. Refer to the story as needed.
  6. List student responses on a T-graph on the chart paper. Have students decide which side of the Tgraph their animal or insect should be listed. Ask students to explain “why” they think their animal or insect should be in a specific category. Refer to the key words as needed.

Activity Description

  1. Give each child a clipboard, pencil, and sheet of white drawing paper.
  2. Model how to draw a T-graph on the chart paper. Then students will draw a T-graph on their paper.
  3. Model how to label the T-graph with the words “Crawler” and “Flier”. Then students will label their T-graphs.
  4. Tell students we will go outside to a quiet spot in the schoolyard to observe with our senses.
  5. Students will need to sit quietly in the grass with enough space between students to give ample room to observe.
  6. Have students predict whether they will see more animals and insects that “crawl” or “fly” in our schoolyard.
  7. Students will use a highlight marker to highlight their prediction on the T-graph (So they won’t be tempted to erase it later!)
  8. Then model how students will need to write the insect or animal name or draw a picture in the correct column for each “Crawler” and “Flier” they see in the schoolyard.
  9. Go outside. Observe. Write/draw what they see.

Wrap Up

  1. When students come back into the classroom, gather on the carpet.
  2. Discuss what types of animals or insects students observed and if they were “Crawlers” or “Fliers”.
  3. Have students add the animals and insects in each column of their T-graph.
  4. Revisit predictions made earlier. Were predictions correct?
  5. Ask students what they have concluded/learned from this activity and discuss.

Teacher Comments

The kids absolutely loved this lesson! We read and discussed the book In the Tall, Tall Grass, discussed what made an animal a crawler or a flier, and predicted what types of animals we might see in our own schoolyard. We listed each animal in the appropriate category. The students then circled which type of animal they predicted they would see more of when we went outside. This was a deviation from the lesson plan because we were already seated on the carpet and it was a management issue to get up and distribute highlight markers! I felt it would also disrupt the momentum of the discussion.

We went outside with our clipboards and pencils, and had a wonderful time observing. The students
enjoyed drawing pictures of the animals they saw and trying to sound out the words to spell them.
We observed and recorded evidence for about 20 minutes. Then, each student tallied the number of
animals they had in each category to see if their predictions were correct. Then we discussed what we learned from this lesson. This was also a deviation from the lesson plan, because it was more conducive to tally and discuss outside rather than to go back into the classroom.

This was a fun lesson that incorporated language arts and math with the science inquiry. The students learned that some animals were hard to categorize, such as ladybugs, because they could fly and crawl! It really made them think about the animals they observed in a different way.