Friday, 20 April 2012

Climate Change Animal Stories

Integrating reading, writing and inquiry processes

To conclude our grade 5 Unit of Inquiry, "Climate Control" students were given this performance task:

"Earth Day is approaching. Use this occasion to give endangered animals a voice. Use your best research skills (Big 6) to find information you can use in your story. Speak with the voice of the animal. Tell the humans about your life, what's happening with Global Warming and how it is affecting you. Tell them what they can do to try to slow down the climate change. Members of your school community will hear your voices on Earth Day, so make your message strong!"

This task ignited great excitement. All students exhibited passion for the project.

LiveBinder was shared. It contains a few general climate change sites as well as a link to World Wildlife Fund Belgium's animal videos. This added to prior knowledge already acquired during the course of the inquiry unit. 

Students drafted using google docs and shared with a classmate for peer editing.

Completed stories were printed and students used a highlighter to show the parts of their stories which used new knowledge which had come from research. They also used a coloured pencil to underline words, phrases sentences and punctuation which they felt clearly showed Voice (6 Traits Writing) in the story.

Learning new skills

We had the idea to read the stories and record them. Students recorded themselves and uploaded the audio file to our school multimedia site and from there embedded it in the blog. New and exciting for all students! On Earth Day the Grade 1 Buddies were invited to listen to the stories.


Here are a couple of examples which I had to lift from their blogs which are only shared with our class:

From Max's Blog:
Endangered Leather-Back Turtles

  Max's story 

Hi!! I am the Leather Back Turtle a.k.a Dermochelys Coriacea, our kinds scientific name. I am the biggest of all the other marine turtles weighing surprisingly more than a ton and as long as 6 feet (2 meters). As you can see my shell is special because it has a rubbery touch. Soft isn’t it?Other sea turtles have hardbacks, almost like stone.  I use my rock-liked beak to eat my main food. I live in the cool waters in the Pacific Ocean. I love to swim because it is very refreshing to me. Most of my species lives at west coast of Mexico but some of them are just scattered around the globe.
Credits: Universal Image Group
I love the deep blue ocean but every thirty five minutes I have to go up to breath some fresh air. We leather backs never leave the ocean but only the females of our family leaves the ocean to lay her eggs. She lays roughly one hundred eggs in burrows so more sea turtles are born. Our females bury them with sand and tries to hide them from humans. You can see that sometimes only a few turtle eggs are in the nest. That’s because humans illegally steal our eggs or accidentally step on them. That’s animal cruelty. Imagine how it feels to be  stepped on? Or stolen?
After two to three months in a tight space, I’m born with some of my siblings and then my parents leave me to waddle to the blue waters and live on our on. I have experience that being a turtle hatchling is very dangerous. Once, I almost got eaten alive by my natural predators: seagulls and other seabirds. Those nasty birds. I was fine and made it too the ocean but i wish i could say that for some of my other siblings.
As I swim through the ocean’s currents, I can smell a delicious odor. I traced the odor, I saw... A JELLYFISH!!! We leather backs like to eat those bobbing delicious jellyfishes. Maybe you’re wondering why my meal doesn’t sting me? Well, my rock-like beak prevents the stings from going to my rough skin. I swam towards my delicious meal but that wasn’t a jellyfish. Ohhh barnacles, it was just a floating plastic bag. Those rubbish mimic our meals every time!! If we eat those plastic bags, that will be the end of us.  
There’s also another problem that’s really critical to us, it is Global Warming. Ohh, that terrible word. It is causing our kind to lose population of our species. Why do humans even need to make more and more pollution? Couldn’t they use renewable energy like solar power or wind power? Humans pollute so much by burning fossil fuel in their factories or cutting down trees instead of planting more. And everyday at least one third of all pollutants are sucked by the ocean and to the ocean plants but do you know how do they treat the ocean? By throwing trash and polluting it with oil that effects other swimming creatures! Humans don’t appreciate the ocean and what it does for them.
Do you know how global warming affects us?? Well, you’ll see that the gender of the egg depends on the surrounding air’s temperature. Now this is where global warming comes in. I found out that the temperature of the surrounding air in this nest is too hot, which means most of them will be females. If this keeps up, all the leather backs will be females!! That’s not going to help the population of our species. Soon, there won’t be a lot for us in the future.
I bet you're thinking: Why save leather back turtles in the first place? Did you know we are the ambassadors of the ocean? At least that’s what scientists say. We also “monitor” the ocean for dead corals and creatures. It’s a really sad scene to see but we have to do it. After all, we are the ambassadors. There’s also one way we help humans, a  delicious way; we help humans keep the population of the jellyfishes mild... not wild. It helps the humans by decreasing the number of stings from those delicious creature. It would be ashamed to lose us, leather backs, because we are the only “soft shelled” turtles around. Sometimes I don’t understand why humans want to harm such specials animals like us.
I really would appreciate anyone who tries to help save the leather back turtles. I know some of a lot of ways that you can help us:
  1. You can turn off your electricity when you aren’t using it.
  2. Use non-polluting vehicles like bicycles or skateboards.
  3. You can recycle all your plastic bags and that will save a lot of turtles from dying of eating plastics.
Remember, even the most tiniest help, could make a big difference. ACT NOW.


   Hanna's story

Hello there, let me introduce myself. I am a Galapagos penguin.

I live on Western Islands such as Fernandia and Isabella. I also can be located on Santiago, Bartolome, Northern Santa Cruz, Florenia, and of course the Galapagos Islands.
        You might be thinking that I look like my cousins the emperor penguins in Antarctica, but I don’t at all. I have a black head and black upper parts. I also have a thin white line running from the corner of my eye to the tip of my throat. My underparts are white with a black band running across my chest. The upper part of my bill and the tip of the lower part of my bill are black. Around my eye there is a bare patch and near that a tad of my bill is pink and yellow. The females are usually smaller than males and the young ones don’t have the black chest band that adults have.
        Hm, I’m feeling rather hungry. I’m a carnivore that supports on land and sea to eat. In the sea I prefer krill, small crustaceans , squid and a few species of fish. On land I eat crabs. Yum, just thinking about those delicacies make me famished. Out of everything I eat I’d have to say krill is the best. I of course have predators ,my predators consist of leopard seals,killer whales and sharks, snakes, and owls. Talking about food is killing me I’ll be right back . . .
        Ah, I have just completed a delicious lunch of krill and squid that my colony helped me get. I think it is now time to rest. I usually rest in caves, cracks, and depressions of the lava flow of  the Galapagos Islands. On other islands like Santiago I just live in normal cracks and caves.
        Mating. Been there and done that. We Galapagos penguins tend to have one pair bond per life. A bond is reinforced by preening and bill tapping. Voila, you have a spouse for life.  Two  eggs are produced at an interval for roughly four days. Incubation lasts a maximum of forty days and is shared by both males and females.
         There are some things on the earth that are harming my kind. One of those things is global warming. You might be wondering what global warming is. Well, global warming is when too much carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. This is all done by this species called ‘Humans’. These ‘Humans’ are burning fossil fuels, like coal for energy to run things like airplanes, cars, and trains. But as ‘humans’ burn fossil fuels to use them it releases carbon dioxide. 
        How is this effecting my kind you might ask? Well, now scientists are studying islands which I inhabit to see if global warming has an impact on a Galapagos penguins like myself. Right now on Galapagos Island scientists are not letting fisheries near the island or oil companies. So far the scientists on Galapagos Island  suspect the water temperature has risen. If the temperature goes up by only one degree a huge chunk of my diet could be cut off because the sea animals aren’t used to the temperature. I’m already endangered by the oil companies and the fisheries. I beg you with all my heart that you can prevent me from facing the horrible effects of climate change. 
        The next time you use an electronic like a laptop or television. Think of my kind and how much we could suffer and try to prevent it from disrupting our lifestyle and the delicate food chain. If you are deciding on what kinds of cars to buy, buy something that doesn’t use fossil fuels to run, for instance  a hybrid. Also, try to carpool a lot, it saves energy. Another thing you could do is to use solar power energy to power the electronics wind turbines could also work.
        If you try  these tips you could save me. So, consider these tips and we could make a huge step to prevent me from being extinct. Remember, there is no age limit to save the earth. Thank you, I hope the next time you hear from me my kind will be thriving.

arkive images of life on earth. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2012. <
a-z-animals. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. < galapagos-penguin/>.
unep-wcmc-apps. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <>.
wwf. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2012. <>.

                                     image by Zrim:

Any comments left here for Hanna or Max will be passed on to them. 

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