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Ministry of Education.

Learning task 3

Learning intention(s)
  1. Identify causes of pressure on living things
  2. Explain the consequences or effects of these pressures
  3. Find, select and retrieve information
  4. Infer ideas from a text
KCs/Principles/Values focus Thinking
Participating and

Issue 2: Pressure on Living Things

In this learning task students’ explore the idea or concept of living things being under pressure due to a range of causes including humans and animal and plant pests. Students will read texts, study resources and investigate pressures on living things. Students will be expected to read both short and complex texts as well as writing responses to tasks.

Explain to students that they will be investigating the removal of rainforests, pests that threaten our native species and ways in which these pressures have reduced biodiversity.

  1. Make connections to prior knowledge.

    On the board place a list of words or ideas associated with the issue. Ask students to classify the words in to three columns 1. A threat or pressure 2. The living thing being pressured. 3. Technical Terms

    Students then sort the words in to the columns. Discuss responses as a class or in small groups. Examples of words may include: Rainforest, Palm Oil, People, Gorse, Possum, Kiwi, Orangutan, Endangered Species, Bio Diversity, Border Control, Burning, Hunting, Clearing of land, Timber Milling, Population Growth, Research.

    Once they have sorted the words, students give their justification for placing the word in a particular column. Record some of their responses for future reference.

  2. On a world map ask students to locate and label rainforests around the world. What do they notice about where the rainforests are? Alternatively provide students with a copy of a rainforest location map.
  3. Provide students with two to three articles about the rainforests. Ask them to preview and predict what they may find out about rainforests and why it is being removed. (Are they recalling knowledge or ideas from learning about the population explosion e.g clearing of land for housing.) Then ask them to skim and scan for specific information. The information requested could be:

    Why are rainforests being cleared?

    What impact does this have on our environment?

    Alternatively complete a jigsaw activity with the students relating to this website.

  4. Explain to the students that they will be completing a jigsaw activity realting to this particular website. Explain to them they will be in two groups – a home group and an expert group. Place the students in to a home group of 4-6 students (6 works best as there are six sections to the website). Number each student in the group from 1-6 and then explain that all students who share the same number are members of the same expert group. Ask students to move to their expert group.

    When students are in their expert groups allocate each group with a section of the website: WHAT, WHERE, PLANTS, ANIMALS, PEOPLE, PRESERVING. Each expert group then goes to the appropriate section on the website. Within their section they need to identify the key ideas, words that they feel are most important. They need to decide as a collective group the most important points that they are going to take back and share with their home group. Students then return to their home group and each member shares their expertise on their particular topic. As a follow up ask students to complete the organiser with the main points listed for each section. Students need to be aware that some of the sections have links that they are required to click on in order to find out more.

    Ask students to jot down any words they are unsure of the meaning of as they go.

    What the teacher looks for:

    • Are the students working co-operatively and discussing their texts at a deep level?
    • Are they using a range of literacy strategies (particularly communication and comprehension strategies)?
    • Can they link the ideas from the different summaries?
    • Are they working co-operatively to complete all tasks?

    Another alternative site is:
    http://www.rain-tree.com/ facts.htm

    However, if using this website print the information out and give each group 1-2 Headings to read and work through. This site also has links to other sites that may be of interest to students.

  5. Discuss with students ways in which the removal of rainforests can impact on the earth in different ways. Ask students to compile a list of people or things they think may be affected by rainforest removal. What viewpoints do these people hold? Create a list of people who may be impacted by rainforest removal. These could include: Politicians, Scientists, Business people, small farmers, Timber companies, Tourists, Local People. For each person or group find an example of the way in which they may be affected. Mix these up and ask students to match them with the correct person or group. There is an example of this task on page 15 of the textbook.

    There is also an opportunity within this area of study to investigate the use of Palm Oil and how this has resulted in the reduction of rainforest. This is a good opportunity to explore the ethics involved and can also reflect a local issue as some NZ companies have used Palm Oil in their products.

  6. PESTS. Ask students to name any animal or plant pests they can think of. As a class visit the website: http://www.doc.govt.nz

    Once again, revise some of the text features that students may come across. Ask students to visit the conservation section of the website. Once there they click on the ‘Threats and Impacts’ tab. Each student then chooses an animal pest and completes the . They then report back to the class on their chosen pest and why it is a pest. This also works well if it is enlarged to A3 size and can then be displayed on the wall.

  7. Possums. Students will learn about the possum and how it is a threat to NZ Biodiversity and native species.

    As well as the Possum magazine there are a number of other issues relating to science issues and how they affect NZ.

    Begin by asking students what they already know about Possums. Some may now have a base of prior knowledge if they chose to research the Possum in the previous task. Do they already know about ways in which the possum affects the NZ landscape and native flora and fauna? (it is also a time to add vocabulary to their glossaries (flora and Fauna, Native).

    Introduce the ‘Possum’ publication to students. Ask students to look at the cover.

    What kind of information would they expect to read about in here? Do they know about the Royal Society of NZ?

    Go over the visual text features and written information that the students may encounter. By now, students should be able to identify different text features and their purpose. If they are unable to do so, repeat the use of this strategy. Do students have any questions they would like answering abut Possums?

    There are a number of literacy strategies and approaches that could be used with this text. For example: A Jigsaw or co-operative learning task could be beneficial to students as they revisit the strategy and put it in to practice. The skimming and scanning and preview and predict strategies could also be useful here as they enable students to access information and identify key points. The teacher may wish to use a combination of strategies in order to explore this text.

    Another option is to ask students which strategy they think could be best used to find the information required.

    As students read ask them to jot down any key ideas or words they find. If completing as a jigsaw task, allocate groups with particular sections of the booklet.
    Graphic Organisers
    A graphic organiser is a visual representation of ideas and is often used to summarise information. Each graphic organiser has its own particular purpose and organises information in a particular way. (ELP Page 112)

    Using pages 1 and 2 of the Possum booklet, explain to students that you want them to identify some of the effects that Possums have had on NZ. Introduce students to the Cause and Effect and/or Problem/solution graphic organiser. Explain to them that ideas can be recorded as words, pictures, symbols and if required colour.

    Once students have read pgs 1-2 ask them to complete the cause and effect graphic organiser. Alternatively, ask students if they can design a graphic organiser to record the appropriate information.

    What the teacher looks for:

    • Do the students notice how the information is organised in the text?
    • Do they adopt appropriate symbols or text to represent the ideas?
    • Are they using literacy strategies to identify and record main ideas?
  8. Species in danger – The Kiwi. What do they already know about this native bird? Can they identify any information about the Kiwi?

    Introduce the students to the Kiwi by reading together: ‘A Scream in the Night’ Choices, ANIMAL TALES, Ministry of Education, 2007. (Code: 37876) This can be ordered at: Down the back of the chair

    This is a text about Kiwi, how they are counted and why this is important for their survival. It includes a number of text forms: Narrative, a report, a case study, a fact box.

    There are detailed teachers notes also available.

    Prior to reading ask students what they think the text may be about. Explain to them that this text makes use of a variety of text forms and that they will be required to take notes as they read. Discuss with them the purpose of the story and ask them to make predictions. Discuss with students what making notes means. Explain that notes are short and to the point and should not be copied directly from the text.
    DOT and JOT – Note taking
    Dot and Jot note taking allows students to develop their ability to make short and concise notes. Note taking is a valuable skill and encourages students to record ideas in their own words. It is also important to discuss with students what infer means. Often students expect all information to be written in the text and to develop deeper thinking skills they need to develop the abiity to infer or read between and beyond the lines. Students may need considerable assistance with this. It is also appropriate to start the task by modelling to the students what is expected – as a shared reading task. Students can then go on to complete the task individually. The teacher should be scanning and checking student progress to ensure understanding and ability of students to infer and also find information.

    Students read the text and record their notes on the Dot and Jot chart. This is recreated in Word but is also available in the teachers notes that accompany this text. Go over their notes with them. Did people infer different things from the text? DOT AND JOT

  9. Page 20 of the textbook has an excellent piece of text and series of questions relating to the Kiwi as a follow up task to ‘A Scream in the Night.’ If the textbook is available, students can work through these activities. Key language within these tasks that students should be looking for include: Adaptations, species.
  10. Biodiversity. Introduce students to the concept of Biodiversity. What is it? What other words can they identify that might relate to this topic? (Bio...., Diversity....) Can they think of other words that have a prefix of Bio?

    Once again this task makes use of an Alpha Science resource published by the Royal Society of NZ.

    Marine Biodiversity: What is meant by the term Marine Biodiversity? Ask students to predict what this text is about. Record their predictions and at the completion of reading ask students to tick or cross whether their predictions were correct. This gives a purpose for reading.
    Discovering Biodiversity
    Shared reading involves the teacher reading a text that is too diffucult for students to read by themselves with students following along with their own copies of the text.

    As a class read the first four pages. The language is quite scientific so many students may require clarification of what some of the words used mean. Ensure students understand the purpose of reading the text together and what strategies may be used. Once the text has been read, revisit the purpose for reading and the use of particular strategies.

    What the teacher looks for:

    • In their independent reading of the same and similar texts, do the students use the strategies that were modelled and discussed?
    • Are the students understanding more than they would have if they had read the text without modelling and discussion of strategies and concepts?
  11. Independently ask students to read pages 5 and 6 of the text, relating to threats to marine biodiversity. Ask students to design a graphic organiser that identifies the threats to marine biodiversity. This could be a cause and effect organiser or similar. Make a note of the different ways in which students show the information they have found. Are they using strategies previously taught?

    NOTE: There are a number of Alpha magazines that relate well to this topic, including publications on and the threats they pose. All of these publications are able to be downloaded for free. Teachers may choose to change the topic to another that better suits the needs of the students in front of them. However, the strategies included in this unit can be applied to all texts.

  12. At this point, students may wish to research and find out about an endangered species that interests them. Students choose a species and complete an A4 sized information sheet about the species. Why is it endangered? Where and how does it live?, What is being done to try and save this animal?
  13. Formative assessment: Finding information. Now is a key point in assessing students ability to read, select and use information to identify the main idea of a text. A good resource for an assessment task is to use the Assessment Resource Bank. A suggested activity for this purpose is: English, WL2602. Ecological Islands (level 5) This relates to the topic and also assesses students ability to find information and identify the main idea. A level 4 resource could be: WL 3118: Saving our National Bird. Both resources have teachers guides available.

    Teachers should use the information from these assessments plus observations/student work/learning logs to guide the teaching process. Are students able to easily and accurately find, select and retrieve information? If not, what other strategies can be used to assist students with this process?

  14. Revisit the essay writing process with students. This can be done by either repeating the process undertaken with the Population essay or by asking students to independently write an essay on this topic. This will then guide whether or not students will need scaffolding further through the process for the summative assessment.

    Teachers may also wish to investigate other issues with the class before moving on to the inquiry.

Published on: 20 Dec 2010