Exploring Costa Rican Sea Turtles
Students learn about Costa Rican sea turtles while enhancing their research and creative writing skills.
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
- Unit Plan:
Students read about and research Costa Rican sea turtles and create an ecotourism brochure.
- Read One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies
- Learn about leatherback sea turtles and conservation
- Create an eco-tourism brochure for leatherback sea turtles
- Ocean Life Activities
- One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies books for each groups
- Books on Costa Rica, such as Costa Rica by Kathleen W. Deady or Costa Rica by Marion Morrison
- Color pencils, markers, crayons, etc.
- Paper and pencil
- Sample travel brochures
- Clean 8.5- by 11-inch paper for the brochure
Set Up and Prepare
For this lesson, you will focus on the Costa Rican Sea Turtles expedition of the Ocean Life online activity. You may wish to print out any reading assignment pages and staple them into a book for individual students. Some sections that work well as printed reading are the field sites and field reports.
Depending on time available, the grade level, and maturity level of each class, activities can be facilitated as independent work, collaborative group work, or whole class instruction. Teachers may use the guide to teach a complete unit or break the content into smaller learning components. Some suggestions are:
- Use field reports to learn about turtles.
- Map the different field sites as a starting point to a geography lesson.
If a computer is available for each student, students can work on their own. Hand out the URLs or write them on the board so students will have a guide through the activity.
If you are working in a lab, set up the computers to be on the desired website as students walk into class. If there are fewer computers than students, group the students by reading level. Assign each student a role: a "driver" who navigates the web, a timer who keeps the group on task, and a note taker. If there are more than three students per computer, you can add roles like a team leader, a team reporter, etc.
If you are working in a learning station in your classroom, break out your class into different groups. Have rotating groups working on the computer(s), reading printed field sites and field reports, holding smaller group discussions, researching and writing about ocean life.
Objective: Students get an introduction (hook) into leatherback sea turtles and conservation.
Step 1: Read One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies with your class.
Step 2: Ask questions about the story (What kind of sea turtle is this story about? Etc...) Share some thoughts and comments they have about sea turtles.
Conclusion: After completing this lesson, students will have some knowledge of the life cycle of sea turtles.
Objective: Students create an eco-tourism brochure for leatherback sea turtles.
Step 1: Have students work in groups of three to four. Tell the students that they are part of an advertising agency, and Parque Nacional Las Baulas called to have a brochure created. The assignment is to create the most informative and colorful brochure, advertising the rich environments of Costa Rica (estuaries, mangroves, wildlife, plant life, etc...) and highlighting what you might see there. They have committed a free all-expense-paid trip to the National Park for a winning group to experience the leatherback sea turtles, first-hand. Other information such as cost, accommodations, etc., should be included. Students can use materials such as Costa Rica by Kathleen W. Deady or Costa Rica by Marion Morrison for reference, in addition to the Ocean Life online activity. Tell students to make the brochure eye-catching.
Step 2: Have them examine the sample travel brochures for information and details. Then have students take a sheet of paper and fold it into thirds, and write their information on Costa Rica as they see fit. Students can also use Microsoft Publisher, Hyperstudio, etc., if they are want to and if available. Students should revise their writing with a partner; the final draft must be done in black or blue pens.
Conclusion: Students will have conducted research to create an eco-tourism brochure.
Supporting All Learners
This project aids students in meeting national standards in several curriculum areas.
Reading Language Arts
International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
- Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- Students use spoken, written, and visual language for learning, persuasion, and exchange of information.
- Students conduct research by gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing data from a variety of sources, and then communicate their discoveries to different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- Students use a variety of technological and informational resources (i.e. libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and communicate knowledge.
- Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.
- Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems.
National Research Council of the National Academy of Science
Science as Inquiry:
- Understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge
- Understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry
- Understanding of the scientific enterprise
- Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
- The characteristics of organisms
- Life cycles of organisms
- Organisms and environments
- Structure and function in living systems
- Regulation and behavior
- Populations and ecosystems
- Diversity and adaptations of organisms
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives:
- Characteristics and changes in populations
- Changes in environments
- Science and technology in local challenges
- Populations, resources, and environments
- Natural hazards
- Risks and benefits
National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
- Global Connections (Students study global connections and interdependence)
- Science, Technology, and Society (The study of relationships among science, technology, and society)
- People, Places, and Environment (The study of people, places, and environments)
- Ideals, Principles, and Practices (The study of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic)
Technology Foundation Standards for Students:
- Use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity
- Use technology tools to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences
- Use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences
- Use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources
- Use technology tools to process data and report results
Students will present their brochures to the class. They will also be graded based on a rubric scale listed below: