Students learn about turtle shells and anatomy through read-alouds, creating informative posters, and writing about times they've "come out of their shell."
- Research a type of turtle and create an informative poster about it
- Write a story about a time they "came out of their shell"
- Complete a wordsearch
- Paper plates and brads
- Patterns of turtle legs, tail, and head
- Large sheets of white paper
- Crayons or markers, scissors, glue, pencil
- The Foolish Tortoise by Richard Buckley
- All About Turtles by Jim Arnosky
- Reference books about turtles
- Turtle Research Handout (PDF)
- Computers or have the information printed out for the students
- Word search handout using PuzzleMaker
Set Up and Prepare
- Create a pattern of the turtle legs, tail, and head.
- Print out research information if you are not using computers.
- Create a word search using PuzzleMaker with the different types of turtles.
Step 1: Begin this lesson by asking the students "What do you already know about turtles?" "What would you like to know about turtles?" Write down their response on a KWL chart with the class. Ask them "How many of you have ever seen a real turtle?" "How big was it?" "What did its shell look like?" "Can you name any of the different kinds of turtles?"
Step 2: Read All About Turtles by Jim Arnosky. Stop and bring attention to the different species of turtles mentioned in the beginning of the book. Make a list of the different types. Next, focus on the shell. Introduce the term carapace, which is the top shell, and plastron, which is the bottom shell. Ask the students at the end of the book "What are some differences between a turtle and a tortoise?"
Step 3: Divide the students into partners or small groups of no more than three. Assign each group a different type of turtle to research. I have my groups use www.enchantedlearning.com. However, if computers are not accessible, print the information off for the students to use. Give each group a turtle handout (PDF) to guide their research.
Step 4: After the groups have completed their handout, give them a large sheet of white paper to create an informative poster. Have the groups draw a picture of their turtle in its habitat. Using the information from their handouts, have the groups write five facts about their turtle. I let my students put the facts on the poster any way they like. I let their creativity flow. Last, have the students color or paint their posters.
Step 1: Read The Foolish Tortoise by Eric Carle. As you read, ask the following questions: "Do you think it was a good idea for the tortoise to leave his shell? Why or why not? What are some of the things the tortoise used to protect himself during his journey? When do you think the tortoise realized he had made a bad choice? What did he do to fix it? Have you ever made a bad choice? What did you do to correct it?"
Step 2: Ask the students, "Why is a shell so important to a turtle or tortoise?" Review the terms "carapace" and "plastron" from day 1. Look at some of the pictures of the turtle and tortoise shells in some of the mentioned reference books. Have the students look for details in the shells. Explain that the students are going to create their own turtle shells to wear.
Step 3: Give each student one plate for the carapace. Have them design their shell in pencil first. Then they can color. I have my students color in crayons or colored pencils and outline in markers. Next, hand out the second plate (the plastron). Have the students design this part of the shell and color it. Last, give the students patterns to color and cut out. Now they are ready to glue everything on their plates. Put the two plates together and use a hole puncher and put a hole in the top and connect with the brad. On the inside plate, have the students write about a time they "came out of their shell." Now they are ready to present their posters and the plates.
|Students display their turtle stories!|
Supporting All Learners
To meet the needs of all learners, I have them work in small groups. The research may be challenging, but in a small group they can work together. Creating the shells is a hands-on task that most of the students can complete with little or no help.
- Have a turtle race with the students wearing their sacks.
- Break the students up into small groups and have them write and perform a skit about turtles using their turtle outfits.
- Set up a PowerPoint slide on the computer using a video clip from www.unitedstreaming.com . Have a follow-up activity from the video for the students to complete.
Have the students tell their parents three things they learned about turtles. Have your students ask their parents if they know what a carapace or a plastron is? Have them explain it to them.
- Complete a word search of the names of the different types of turtles.
- Create a unique turtle shell using items from home.
- Were the students able to work with their partner to complete the turtle poster?
- Did they have a difficult time with the research?
- Were they able to complete their turtle shells independently?
- Can the students respond to the questions asked?
- Were the students able to complete the turtle posters?
- Can the students name at least two different species of turtles?
- Did the students follow directions when completing their shells?