Create-an-Animal STEAM Project
Fourth grade students studying animal adaptations participated in a create-an-animal project that combined science, technology and art skills in new ways. Details of the project, lesson materials and student exemplars are shared below.
Create-an-Animal Planning Packet
Students first completed a create-an-animal planning packet which had three sections: Part 1 – Describe the Your Animal, Part 2 – Describe the Adaptations, Part 3 – Sketch Your Animal.
Part 1 – Describe Your Animal. Students came up with a creative name for their invented animal and had to identify the habitat, type of animal, as well as physical and behavioral adaptations.
Phase 2 – Describe the Adaptations. Drawing on what they learned through their science unit on animal adaptations, students apply this understanding to a new, invented animal. They need to consider the physical traits and / behavioral traits that would be necessary for the animal to needed to ensure successful survival.
Phase 3 – Sketch Your Animal. In preparation for sculpting their animal creations in art class, students are tasked with sketching their animal. Teachers encourage kids to add labels to describe various physical details so they can use their sketch as a reference when planning and working on their sculptures.
Students shared their created animals and described the animal’s adaptations using technology tools. Depending on the class, fourth graders demonstrated their learning in one of two ways: with a narrated slideshow using Adobe Spark Video or with a digital poster created with Google Slides.
Narrated Slideshow Using Adobe Spark Video
One way student were able to share about their animals was through the creation of a narrated video using Adobe Spark Video. Students photographed both their invented animal sketches as well as their clay animal creations from art class. The images were displayed side-by-side in their slide and students read aloud a descriptive writing piece they composed about their animals.
Digital Poster Using Google Slides
To build technology literacy, we had students enter their packet information into a blank Google Slides template which was formatted as a poster. The template was purposefully bland so that kids would focus on entering the information first, then we walked through basic formatting skills such as formatting font size, style and color as well as adding customized borders and background colors. Students were not allowed to use “Themes” within Google Slides since the focus was to teach them about the formatting toolbar options rather than apply a canned theme. The resulting Google Slide poster was published to the web.
Sharing Student Work During our Art Show
We used the goo.gl Chrome Extension to generate short URLs as well as corresponding QR codes that could be placed next to the animal sculptures. At the upcoming creative arts showcase, parents will be able to scan the QR codes and be directed to the student’s digital posters describing their animal adaptations!
Special thanks to Huckleberry Hill School’s willing team of Grade 4 teachers for their work on this project: Katie McCarer, Liz George, Heather McLeod, Margaret Asadorian and our amazingly talented art instructor, Kathleen Lorenzo. We’re so proud of the kids and looking forward to the creative arts showcase when parents will be able to see the students’ creativity and hard work on display!