Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Unit Study: Snakes

We started our unit study on snakes last week. It was only meant to be a week-long unit but we really didn't do much beyond just reading books last week so we carried it over to this week as well. 

Like all of our unit studies reading is our primary source of information and much of what we learn and do originates during our story time and the questions Treyton asks.
We had a lot of fun reading our snake books. I am so afraid of snakes, but for some reason I also am fascinated by them. It's weird because on one hand I hate looking at all the snake pictures (they are so gross) but on the other hand I can't tear my eyes away... snakes are truly AMAZING animals. 
If you are interested in our reviews and links to the books we used you can go here.

Snake Resources: 
Snake Videos on National Geographic (you will need to type in "snakes" to find the snake videos) - Treyton LOVES watching snakes on TV, anytime there is an education snake show on he begs to watch it. I found the national geographic link for 23 snake videos - Treyton watched almost all of them and wanted more!!! (I excluded a few like the anaconda breeding ball... I'm just not prepared for those questions :)) 

Pop-up snake book - we didn't actually do this one but thought I would share it in my list of resources 

DLTK Snake Activities - crafts, printables and more 

Snakes on Kidzone - printables, worksheets, online activities and other links. 
Lapbook Lessons - reptile page 

Homeschool Share - Snake Unit Study & Lapbook 

Itsy Bitsy Snake Book - from Kidzone

Fun Activities and Crafts:
~ Eat like a snake: cut oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit into small sections, place one of each on a paper plate have your child “smell” each piece of fruit with their tongue and guess which fruit they “smelled” after each child has smelled their fruit like a snake, give them a glass of juice – they can eat the slices separately or in their juice (we did not actually do this activity either, but I thought it looked like fun so I decided to add it anyways)

~ Snake Maze from DLTK - Treyton loves mazes. This one was actually a little bit hard for him but he still did it!!  

~ Make a Scaly Snake - for this craft I drew a simple snake on a piece of construction paper - Treyton then painted it with glue and put a bunch of little circles from our three-hole punch all over the snake to represent scales.
Treyton, fully concentrating on painting 
Now the scales 
Finished product - don't judge the snake - it was harder than I thought to draw one.

~ Spiral Snake: Take a piece of construction paper and cut out a circle - draw a spiral. Cut out the spiral - draw a face on your snake and a pattern of a scaly skin. (found this at enchanted learning)  

~ Make a snake out of do-a-dots 

Lexie really got into this craft - she loves the do-a-dots!!
~ Make play-doh snakes

For the lapbook we add the pieces as we go, usually. This time we did most of the lapbook all at one time, but below, (in the lesson plan portion) I have the lapbook pieces highlighted in orange to show you where they would normally go. Most of the links are attached below, to the pieces we used. 

Lesson Plan 
To Begin the Unit:
Fill out the "My Snake Book" before we do any reading 
Read snake books 
Color a picture of a snake discussing - what makes a snake a snake 
Complete the Snake Maze 
Snake Craft: Make a scaly snake

What is a snake? 
~ what it means to be a reptile (a reptile put simply means that it is scaly, cold-blooded and lays eggs) complete the reptiles t-book for the lapbook
~ Snakes do not have any legs

~ Most snakes eat rats, lizards, frogs and other small rodents but big snakes eat bigger animals and smaller snakes eat smaller things (like bugs).
~ Snakes smell with their tongues (possibly insert the "eating like a snake" activity here)
~ They don't chew their food but swallow their food whole. 
~ Some snakes use venom to kill their prey other snakes are constrictors (discuss the difference and what that means) but both kinds of snakes swallow their food whole without chewing it. 

Life Cycle of a snake 
~ Some snakes lay eggs others don't - discuss their life cycle - add lifecycle page to lapbook

Snake Predators and Defense 
~ Snake Defense Shield for Lapbook: I wanted to be sure to include a section for this but wasn't sure how to do it for the lapbook. I ended up making my own pages of clipart to represent means of defense (camouflage, digging a hole and hiding, puffing up/rattling, playing dead) I had Treyton cut them out and glue them to the defense lapbook shield. 
~ Predator Lapbook Accordion: For predators I made up another clipart page with lots of animals - a rat, hawk, coyote, fox, spider, lizard, frog, snake, etc. Treyton had to cut out only the animals that were predators of snakes. This worked out well for him he had a lot of fun but learned alot at the same time.

Lessons Learned: 
~ Snakes have scaly skin that molts (sheds) 
~ Snakes swallow their food whole 
~ Venom is poison juice that comes out of the snakes teeth
~ Constrictors kill by squeezing 
~ Snakes smell with their tongues 
~ What camouflage means

Before this week I picked up a plastic rattlesnake for Treyton - he actually has a bunch of different kinds of plastic animals (they are probably one of his most played with toys). He has been collecting them for the last two years, he usually gets one or two for each holiday, and if we're at a store and see one for cheap we will pick it up (they can actually be a little pricey).
Treyton got a lot out of playing with his rattlesnake and other animals. Particularly a little lizard that often became lunch for the rattlesnake. 

Field Trip
Our local Children's Museum is offering a snake exhibit this weekend where the children can even hold some of the snakes. We are planning on going, I'll post our experience and pictures later!

1 comment:

Ticia said...

Did you get him rattlesnake eggs? Those are a great joke to play on people if they don't know rattlesnakes are born live. I still remember that being pulled on me at the snake farm.