Deep Down Underground with us.
To kick off our Plant Unit, we always start out DEEP DOWN UNDERGROUND! We start out by reading Deep Down Underground by Olivier Dunrea. We re-tell the story and brainstorm and chart all of the things that we might find underground.
We talk about the animals and insects that hide or make their homes down there. We talk about the natural things that may be found underground like, rocks and soil and roots and seeds.
Other things like bones and candy wrappers, coins or keys, we think about how those things may have gotten there.
I tell the story about how my brother once dug up a clay bowl and spoon in our own backyard, that must have been left by a Native American many, many years before.
Imaginations start to run wild. Then we break into Cooperative Learning Groups. I use 3 large Mixed Ability Groups for this activity. (See Cooperative Learning Groups at Silly Sam Productions at TpT for more information on creating a variety of groups that are ready to go for any kind of differentiated or cooperative activity in your classroom.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Cooperative-Learning-Groups-Differentiated-Instruction-Classroom-Management-479804) The groups meet and continue to brainstorm ideas. Next, students are given directions to use colored paper to create their own MOLE or Mudiewort, as they are called in Scotland. (I have to check that spelling)
Colored paper is provided and students create their moles along with spiders, mice, snakes, bugs, sticks, bones, keys, anything that they can think of.
I wrap our big wooden closet doors in bulletin board paper to create a blue sky, green grass and a large area of brown to focus on Deep Down Underground.
The cooperative learning teams come up one group at a time to draw on the mural with markers. They add details to the scene, including a tree, showing which parts are above the ground and which parts are below.
They add roots and tunnels to the underground scene, flowers, plants and sky to the above the ground scene and animals to all of the appropriate areas.
Then, when each group has had a turn to draw and add to the mural, groups come up to glue on their construction paper animals and items to the scene.
Then of course, we start writing about the experience and they create their own story using underground as their setting.