Our final unit of the year focussed on how some creatures spent their final days on the Earth. It also made us aware of some endangered creatures that could be in their final moments if something isn't done to help protect them.
The students were very enthusiastic about this unit as it gave them the opportunity to learn about extinct creatures such as dinosaurs, mammoths, Sabretooth cats and many others. Each student chose a couple of animals to research and then chose one to make a model out of clay. Students also researched the cause of the animal's extinction as well as the type of habitat they lived in. Finally, they built a small diorama to display the creature in.
Other activities in the unit included learning about food chains and food webs to discover how the loss of one plant or animal can impact the other plants and animals in the food chain or food web. We also used our knowledge of measurement from our math unit to pace out how long some dinosaurs or creatures such as the blue whale are, and to see if we could outrun a dinosaur!
Trip to Osaka Museum of Natural History
To see how scientists learn about these extinct creatures, and to get a true sense of scale, we took a trip to the Osaka Museum of Natural History. Many fossils of dinosaurs such as a Tyrannosaurus skull, Stegosaurus and a Pterodactyl as well as those of modern animals were all on display. The Grade 2 students put their observation skills to use as they drew detailed pictures of the different fossils, much like true paleontologists. For some students, the highlight of the trip was the interactive games room where they could play games which demonstrated how environmental factors such as temperature and rain can affect the rabbit population, or how the wolf population helps control the deer population.
Summative Assessment: Extinction Videos
To demonstrate their understanding and learning, the students were tasked with writing their own script to tell the story of how some creatures went extinct.
Lea, Scarlett and Tina chose to tell the story of how the dinosaurs went extinct from a cataclysmic meteor strike, while the other groups chose to look at how humans helped cause many of the ice age animals to go extinct.
Jun, Suguri and Fabiano told the tale of how the mammoth, ground sloth and sabretooth cat were hunted down by humans. Likewise, Yuzuki, Leon and Ryann told the story of how the ancient armadillo, Doedicurus were preyed upon by sabretooth cat and how humans are believed to have led to the extinction of the sabretooth cats.