As a teacher, I always loved classroom projects like this! Thank you, Laura Perdew for sharing this terrific activity for educators and your brand new Biome Explorers series!
AND thank you for offering a GIVEAWAY of a complete set of the BIOME EXPLORERS series! Just leave a comment below for a chance to win! (And please share this with educators!)
Congrats to Lori Alexander, winner of SOMETHING GREAT from Jeanette Bradley!
STEM Picture Book Series: Using Picture Books to Create a Classroom Museum by Laura Perdew
(Classroom Lesson Adaptable for Grades K-8)
Picture Book Science series, Biome Explorers: Aquatic Adventures, Destination Desert, Footsteps in the Forest, Grassland Globetrotting, and Tour the Tundra
Each book in the Biome Explorers series takes readers on a journey to a different biome. Along the way, readers discover each biome’s own unique climate and the plants and animals adapted to living there. Each book also introduces readers to the impact of human activity on that biome.
In the classroom, these books can be the launching point for biome exploration. As a teacher, I used group work often because it not only allowed time for self-guided learning, but it gave me time to wander the room and interact with students one-on-one or as a small group. In addition, the tasks within a group allow space for differentiated lessons to meet the needs of a variety of learners and abilities. And while this picture book series targets readers ages 5-8, the books and the lesson can easily be used with older students.
Begin the lesson by introducing the word ‘biome’ as well as other key vocabulary words (each book includes a glossary). Activate students’ prior knowledge about biomes; have them share what they already know about certain biomes including climate, plants, and animals.
Creating Museum Exhibits
Divide the class into five groups; each group will read one of the books in the series. They will become the experts on that biome—water, desert, forest, grassland, tundra— and prepare a museum exhibit about it. The pieces in the exhibit can be decided by teachers and/or students. The goal of the exhibit is to teach the rest of the class about the biome.
Possible museum pieces include:
- A map that shows where the biome is found around the world (each book has a map)
- A description of the climate in the biome
- A poem about the biome
- A compare/contrast chart or diagram about the different sub-categories of a biome (deserts, for example, includes hot, dry deserts, cold deserts, and semi-arid deserts)
- Illustrations of the different sub-categories of a biome that include both geographical features as well as plants and animals
- Food webs with the different sub-categories of a biome
- A postcard to a friend or family member about their “journey” through one part of the biome
- A letter to lawmakers about how human activity is impacting the biome and what should be done to address the problem
- A story about a day in the life of one of the animals in the biome
- Write your own picture book about one of the subcategories within your biome; use the book from the series to inform structure
- Do further research to explore questions you still have about the biome; how to visually display the findings is up to the student
- Research a part of the biome not mentioned in the books (for example, students studying grasslands could investigate the Eurasian Steppe of eastern Europe and central Asia, or the Pampas of South America); how to visually display the findings is up to the student
- Do further research about the impacts of human activity on the biome and what actions can be taken to slow or stop these impacts; how to visually display the findings is up to the student
Once students have prepared their museum pieces, have them set up their exhibits in different parts of the room.
The purpose of the museum is for all students to learn about each of the biomes. Give everyone time to visit each exhibit and to ask questions of the group that created it. To check for learning, teachers can assign different types of assessments.
- Write an article as if you are a world traveler and tell your audience about your journey to each of the five biomes using details from the exhibits.
- Write an essay that explains which biome is your favorite and why; the essay should include information about all of the biomes.
- Teachers can prepare a chart for students to fill in that includes location, climate, plants, animals, geographical features, and other information about each biome.
- Write a poem that includes sensory details about each biome.
- Students can chart an itinerary to visit each biome, plan a packing list, and note what they hope to see in each place.
- Choose an animal that lives in the biome you studied; write a story or an essay about what would happen to that animal if it were transplanted to another biome.
No matter what pieces are in the exhibits or what assessments you choose, students will gain a solid understanding of biomes! Visit my website for additional lesson plans as well as classroom guides for each book at www.lauraperdew.com.
Don’t forget to leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing for the 5-book BIOME EXPLORERS series. (continental US addresses, please. Winner announced 11/11/22)
And…when you enjoy a book, please take a moment to support authors and illustrators by leaving a review with online booksellers.