ONTARIO SCHOOL DISTRICT

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Aiken 4th/5th Grade Science

In the second semester of school, students in Anabel Ortiz's classroom made a terrarium, creating a habitat for eight green anoles, crickets and earthworms. Each group of 2 or 3 students created such a terrarium, which required an extensive amount of research. Students needed to be well informed about diet, temperature, etc.

Math has been a strong component of the unit since students needed to figure out how many crickets they would need to purchase weekly from the pet store, and how much money they would need to buy them. Measuring has also been crucial because students had to create their habitat by following directions that were centered around measuring the right portions of dirt, seeds, gravel, and water.

"Writing can be incorporated into anything, and let's just say that most of what we write about is centered about our ongoing project," Mrs. Ortiz said.

"Social Studies also plays a role when studying about our live specimens; specially figuring out where their natural habitat is located. We are supplementing our unit with our Science Spanish textbook as well."
 
When it comes to science, students have also taken a closer look at soil. They learned that both soil is composed of both grains of rock and bits of decaying organic matter. They have set up experiments to test the effect of growing plants in soil versus sand. They cared for, observed, and measured the growth of plants, and discovered first-hand that plants grow better in soil. Students also set up an experiment to determine the effect of depriving green plants of sunlight.

"This project has been a lot of work for every student, but I feel that integrating all subjects is crucial and promotes better understanding of the concept being taught," Mrs. Ortiz said. "Our animals need care 24/7. On weekends, students volunteer to come and help me care for them."

Benchmarks addressed through this project

Life Science - Organisms 
Understand/Describe the characteristics, structure,and functions of organisms.

Life Science - Diversity/Interdependence 
Understand the relationships among living things and between living things and their environments.

Benchmarks addressed through this project

Life Science - Diversity/Interdependence

Understand the relationships among living things and between living things and their environments.