K-2: Multidisciplinary Units, Center-based learning
The K-2 units are an introduction to rare breeds, and an in-depth multidisciplinary exploration of farm animals: their characteristics, basic needs and life cycles. Through the slideshow and accompanying activities students learn of the incredible diversity and variety that exists in farm animals. Students learn answers to such questions as: What is a farm animal? What do they look like? What do they do? Why are they important?
The unit activities address several subject areas:
(1) literacy and language arts
(2) science and math
(3) social science
(5) fine arts.
Each grade level has different needs, and students' abilities vary widely within grade.
How to Teach the Units
Since many K-2 teachers run theme-based multidisciplinary units, we have arranged these units in a multidisciplinary fashion with farm animals as the theme, and organizing Science and Social Studies concepts per grade level. (ContentOverview.pdf)
Noah's Ark Today uses the 5E format (Engage, Explore, Explain, Expand, Evaluate) designed by Roger Bybee of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study. Each unit is divided into the 5Es, and each of the 5E sections includes several activities that develop skills and abilities in different subject areas. For example, in the Kindergarten Unit, the second "E", Explore, offers activities in the scientific topic of identification of farm animals while students simultaneously practice skills in literacy and math.
The Units are adjustable. The teacher can deliver an intensive one week unit, or, use the numerous supplemental activities to create an expansive block, and an immersion in rare breeds. Giving added flexibility, the units are not so tightly integrated that they cannot be broken up and restructured or added to through supplemental activities to expand the learning experience. Activities can also be sorted and chosen in an "a la carte" fashion for the teacher who wants to focus on specific skills. With a little up-front decision-making, specific subjects can be emphasized. For example, a Kindergarten or First Grade teacher focusing on literacy skills might choose several literacy-focused activities and sort them into the 5Es:
SAMPLE UNIT sorted by Subject area: Literacy
Leading Question: What are some species of farm animals?
Engage: Slide show part 1
Explore Big Book
Explain: Ten Species slide set
Expand: Velcro books at centers
Evaluate Picture and Vocabulary Matching Game
We have arranged the activities according to the standards, but teachers who helped build and pilot this curriculum found ways to work in their favorite activities from other grade levels, such as introducing the adaptation image cards (Fourth Grade) in the K-1 classroom, or hatching eggs (Second Grade). Depending on your preferences and available time, activities from other grade levels might appeal to you.
In summary then, for those who want flexibility and freedom to design their own unit, the tools are here. But, if you find yourself with limited time to prepare and plan, we offer one pre-designed unit per grade level, with multiple subjects and teaching objectives covered at once.