I flew home to California from Michigan this weekend. I know it’s a cliché, but I’ve got to say it: “The ground below looked like a patchwork quilt.” Squares and rectangles of various shades of browns and greens spread out below me—the farms and fields of the Midwest in autumn. I delighted in seeing rivers, lakes, and mountains interrupt the regularity of the pattern of squares.
What I couldn’t see from my window seat were the individual plants and animals that made up the habitats below. However, it was easy for me to imagine them because of the book Nature’s Patchwork Quilt by Mary Miche. This books explores the pieces and patterns of the world’s habitats.
LESSON PLAN: Wild Wonderful Words
Nature’s Patchwork Quilt introduces students to key environmental vocabulary words, such as interdependence and biodiversity. A complete list of words and definitions is found in Wonderful Wild Words on the Dawn Publications’ website under “Activities” and also described below.
Suggested Grade level: 1-5
- The book Nature’s Patchwork Quilt
Copies of the Definitions handout printed on card stock and cut apart to make a set (scroll to page 3), one set per group
One copy of the Vocabulary Terms handout printed on card stock and cut apart to make a set that you will read aloud (scroll to page 2)
- Nature’s Patchwork Quilt bookmarks, one per student
- Read aloud Nature’s Patchwork Quilt.
- Divide students into groups and give each group a set of Definitions. Have them spread out the definitions so that they easily read them. Introduce the “Wonderful Wild Words” game by explaining that the object of the game is to choose the definition that correctly matches the vocabulary term you read. Groups earn one point for each correct definition they choose.
- Draw one of the cards from your set of Vocabulary Terms, and read it aloud. Tape it to the board.
- Give students a predetermined amount of time to find the definition from their set of cards. When time is up, ask for a volunteer to read the correct definition. Record points for groups who make the correct matches. Provide additional explanations or examples to make sure that children understand the term.
- When finished, give each student a bookmark from Nature’s Patchwork Quilt.
Extension to do Outside: Walk around your school grounds to find concrete examples of the terms, such as camouflage, adaptation, or survival mechanism. Back in the classroom, identify the vocabulary terms that you couldn’t find around the school, such as zooplankton or phytoplankton.
Common Core Standards (ELA 1-5)
- ELA Reading Information Text: Craft and Structure: 1.4. 2.4, 3.4, 4.4, 5.4
Next Generation Science Standards (DCI 1-5)
- LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structure and Processes
- LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
- LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity