As students investigate this problem situation they learn about the basic needs of animals. They also learn how animals interact with their surroundings, and they begin to contrast the geographic features of different places. During this unit students become actively engaged in observation as well as data collection and interpretation.
Working through this unit, students enlarge their understanding of the concepts of evidence, models, and explanation, identified in the National Science Education Standards as unifying concepts of science. Unit content interrelates these concepts in a significant “big idea,” or essential understanding: Reasonable explanations are based on what we know and new evidence we gather from careful observations.
Helping Cocoa is a problem-based learning (PBL) unit, as are all of the T2 units . The skills that are developed through participation in a PBL unit include decision-making and, of course, problem solving. Even young children are able to do high level thinking when they are given an intriguing problem to work on and are carefully guided.
This unit is designed for the primary grades (K-2) and integrates the content areas of science and social studies. Mathematics and language arts skills also are called upon, as are technology skills. Appropriate state (NC) standards have been identified and can be accessed by clicking here or going to the Professional Information Center.
The time frame is variable, to be determined by each teacher. We recommend a minimum of two weeks.