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May 24, 2017 What If You Had Animal [Body Part]!? An Adaptation Project By Genia Connell
Grades 1–2, 3–5

    As the school year dwindles down, I love to pepper my plan book with fun, highly engaging projects that make my students forget about that upcoming summer vacation for just a moment. Last year, when I passed Sandra Markle’s book, What If You Had Animal Hair!?, at our school’s book fair, I knew I had to have it, and I knew exactly how I wanted to use it.

    Our class had been studying animal adaptations and this book was a perfect way for students to think about how certain animals’ adaptations could be “adapted” to their own lives. I immediately bought the book, then went back later that day and bought all the others in the series! What followed was a short, captivating project that combined science, technology, and writing that I can hardly wait to do again this year. This week I’m excited to share a step-by-step of my adaptation project.

    Read the Books With Your Class

    Each year when I introduce these books, I love how the covers immediately capture my students’ attention. And after just a few pages into the book, they are hooked. My third graders love learning how the many featured animals use their adaptations to survive, just as much as they love the colorful illustrations. Over the next few days, I read aloud from the different books. During our independent reading time, they were the hottest books in our classroom library.

    Pose the Question What if YOU had …?

    One afternoon, at science time, the class was surprised to see me waiting for them on the carpet surrounded by my collection of What If You Had Animal…!? books.  Holding them up, I asked the kids to think about what their lives would be like if they had any of the adaptations featured in the book, such as porcupine hair, a beaver’s teeth, or a cheetah’s paws. The kids had fun discussing what part they would like to have and how they would use it.

    The Written Part

    Normally, I do a fancy graphic organizer to help students plan out their writing. On this particular project, however, I kept it simple. I just asked students to write about their animal’s adaptation and how they would use the extraordinary feature they chose in their own life.

    The Fun Part: Bring in Technology

    There are several free apps that allow you to superimpose an animal’s face or feature onto your own photo. My students used their iPads and the free apps below to take pictures of each other. Next, they added their special animal feature, selecting from one of the three apps shown below. Students inserted the image they created into a Word document that became their cover page.

    Because students cannot print from their school iPads, they saved it in OneDrive (our school’s cloud storage) and printed it from the school computer lab.

    Display and Enjoy!

    These posters, along with their writing make an eye-catching display at the end of the year. Especially fun if you are having parents in for open houses, field days, or classroom celebrations.

    Take care and thanks for reading! Genia

    As the school year dwindles down, I love to pepper my plan book with fun, highly engaging projects that make my students forget about that upcoming summer vacation for just a moment. Last year, when I passed Sandra Markle’s book, What If You Had Animal Hair!?, at our school’s book fair, I knew I had to have it, and I knew exactly how I wanted to use it.

    Our class had been studying animal adaptations and this book was a perfect way for students to think about how certain animals’ adaptations could be “adapted” to their own lives. I immediately bought the book, then went back later that day and bought all the others in the series! What followed was a short, captivating project that combined science, technology, and writing that I can hardly wait to do again this year. This week I’m excited to share a step-by-step of my adaptation project.

    Read the Books With Your Class

    Each year when I introduce these books, I love how the covers immediately capture my students’ attention. And after just a few pages into the book, they are hooked. My third graders love learning how the many featured animals use their adaptations to survive, just as much as they love the colorful illustrations. Over the next few days, I read aloud from the different books. During our independent reading time, they were the hottest books in our classroom library.

    Pose the Question What if YOU had …?

    One afternoon, at science time, the class was surprised to see me waiting for them on the carpet surrounded by my collection of What If You Had Animal…!? books.  Holding them up, I asked the kids to think about what their lives would be like if they had any of the adaptations featured in the book, such as porcupine hair, a beaver’s teeth, or a cheetah’s paws. The kids had fun discussing what part they would like to have and how they would use it.

    The Written Part

    Normally, I do a fancy graphic organizer to help students plan out their writing. On this particular project, however, I kept it simple. I just asked students to write about their animal’s adaptation and how they would use the extraordinary feature they chose in their own life.

    The Fun Part: Bring in Technology

    There are several free apps that allow you to superimpose an animal’s face or feature onto your own photo. My students used their iPads and the free apps below to take pictures of each other. Next, they added their special animal feature, selecting from one of the three apps shown below. Students inserted the image they created into a Word document that became their cover page.

    Because students cannot print from their school iPads, they saved it in OneDrive (our school’s cloud storage) and printed it from the school computer lab.

    Display and Enjoy!

    These posters, along with their writing make an eye-catching display at the end of the year. Especially fun if you are having parents in for open houses, field days, or classroom celebrations.

    Take care and thanks for reading! Genia

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