Artic/Antarctic Animals

Angela Gillman
4th grade/science, language arts

Links to Files Associated with This Lesson

  1. Weddel Seal

  2. Snowy Owl

  3. Hot List of Arctic/Antarctic Animals

  4. Rubric for Animal Report Word Document


Content Area Objectives Addressed:

          SWBAT create an organized report including specific questions and information about their assigned animal.

SWBAT search reading materials to find information answering their questions about their animal.

SWBAT understand the great diversity among animals.

Technology Objectives Addressed:

          SWBAT use appropriate searches in the Internet to find specific information about their animals being researched.

          SWBAT type and insert information from an AlphaSmart to a computer.

          SWBAT present research information on their assigned animal through a word document.

          SWBAT sort animal information in a spreadsheet to find specific animals and their information.

          SWBAT present their animal information in a PowerPoint presentation to a group.

          SWBAT use a word document to present their information in a simple format.

Activity Description

What was the process that your students went through to complete this lesson?

Students read about the needs of animals in their science books.  As we read through the short information in their books, as a class we wrote question that would need to be answered about an animal they would be assigned. After finishing these general questions, students were allowed to pick an animal of the Artic/Antarctic region.  Each student put together a folder including question cards and information cards in a color-coded manner.  Students then began to research and find answers to their questions in books, encyclopaedias and through careful searches on the Internet. Before and as they researched they were encouraged to make their report “personal” and write other questions they really wanted to find out about their animal.  After research was completed, students entered their information into AlphaSmarts, and then transferred it into the computer into textboxes in a Word document. They completed their documents with a picture of their animal found from their Internet searches.  During this time, students were also entering their information into a spreadsheet for a later activity.  This later activity included students sorting and finding answers to questions about the animals that all the students had researched. In a final project, students transferred their information from AlphaSmarts into a PowerPoint presentation to present to all their peers at the end.

          How did you monitor student progress?

Student progress was monitored through observation during researches and rubrics for presented projects.


          Was there a template or an example that students were expected to follow? How much time did you dedicate to this project?

                   Total:  12 to 15 hours

                   Daily one hour every other day for 4 to 6 weeks during class time

          How was the final product presented?

There were several final products at the end. The word documents were framed and hung in the hallways. The PowerPoint presentations were shared a few at a time at the beginning of science classes for several weeks. The spreadsheet was presented to the students for them to complete a worksheet answering questions from the spreadsheet.


          Who was the audience for the final product?

Since I team teach with the other fourth grade class in our school, all students did the exact same assignment and has the same assessments and presentations to share. The audience included the fourth graders of the school.  Because we hung our reports in the hall, our audience includes the entire school (as they pass our rooms on the way to the computer lab!).

Learning Issues

          What prior knowledge was required on the part of the students in order for them to be successful in this project?

Students had knowledge and experience in working with the AlphaSmarts. They also needed knowledge in how to scan and find information without reading every word. Students needed to have a basic understanding of PowerPoint and a little experience with typing in Word. 

Resource Management

          What was the student to computer ratio?

5 computers to 27 students in the classroom

computers for each student in computer lab


          How did you schedule your students’ computer time?

Our small school accommodates a flexible computer schedule and the computer teacher was flexible to give us time when needed.


          What was the location of the computers and other technology equipment used by students?

Classroom and computer lab

          How would you suggest beginning teachers obtain computer resources for their students? (Knowing some of your strategies would be valuable for our preservice teachers.)

Sometime you can find business willing to donate or donate a little money to increase the number of computers in the classroom (we gathered over $500 to purchase software when school funds were not available). Keep your eyes open for opportunities and programs that offer incentives (free computers are sometimes available). Talk to your building principal and express the need verbally and by your teaching with technology in the classroom. Your actions can speak more highly than your words.


          Rate the level of access for students to use computers/other technologies as they needed.



          Rate the level of supervision required for students during the project, specifically for computer and other technology use.



          What hardware was required for your project?

Computers, AlphaSmarts, TVator,

          What software was required for your project?

Internet, Office 2000 including Word, Excel, PowerPoint

          Anything else?

Manila folders, index cards, envelopes for organization


          What kind of assessment did you use for this project? (Include a copy if you can).



          What categories did you assess?


          How does the product that you submitted compare with other students’ products for this same project?


          What did you like best about this project?

I liked the flexibility of the project because of the questions they could create and find about their animal. I love working with technology and I want to spread the use of it to the students.

          What did the students like best about this project?

The kids got so excited they would ask everyday if it was their day for science. They were excited when it was and discouraged when it wasn’t. I liked how the students really stayed on task with their assignment.  Discipline was never a big problem during this lesson.


          Rank the level of student involvement in this project.


          Rank the level of student interest in this project.



          Would you teach this lesson again?