Simulation Observations: Kindergarten Insect Unit
At first, I thought that the appearance of this site was very primary; geared for young children. The drawings are simple and colorful, not overwhelming and cluttered. There are basic sound effects that provide a little excitement for children and a variety of insects to view. Overall, I thought this was an acceptable site for use in my classroom.
Ease of Use:
The site is very simple to navigate. Simple clicking of the mouse is all children would need to use this site. To return to previous screens, you just click on the page. Not having to read buttons is important for kindergarten students.
There is some educational value to this site. The illustrations of the insects are accurate and point out the main details needed to identify insects; 6 legs and 3 body parts. However, the information is given in text and not with audio. So, for the students who cannot read, this site would provide adequate visual appeal/learning, but offer little for auditory learners.
This site would be best applied in the first to second grade classroom. More students could read the pages, allowing for more learning. Students would also be able to pair up when needed.
Applicability to Theme:
This site is very applicable to the insect unit we will be working on. However, given the problems with the lessons in a visual and not auditory manner, its’ benefits would be limited. I could see this as a good whole or small group activity to introduce the unit and entice learners. It could also be a beneficial activity with our sixth grade buddies, as they could read the text and provide guidance.
I have searched on several sites for a bar graph creator that is developmentally appropriate for kindergarten students. I have finally found it. This is a very simplistic, easy to understand and control, site. My students would not be overwhelmed with too much information or background “noise”. This activity would fill a need, as students in kindergarten are to start reading and creating bar graphs.
Ease of Use:
I was very excited about the ease of use. This activity has very basic click features and it is simple to adjust the settings. Students would be able to utilize the tools after one learning session. Also, there are no advertisements and miscellaneous text/pictures on the border, allowing students to stay focused on the goal.
Students in the kindergarten classroom need to start reading and creating bar graphs. I have traditionally done this on paper because I had not found a site that was developmentally appropriate. This year, I will be utilizing this tool.
This site is made to work for young children. The designers provided students with a simple one click system for settings and tools. The site is uncluttered and simple. There is no room for error, as everything can be adjusted just as easily as it was created. This is a wonderful tool for the primary classroom.
Applicability to Theme:
Integrating curricular areas is a great way to promote learning, as well as make learning more fun. Graphing insects during our unit would provide benefits to both the math and science curricular areas. Students could create and graph different insects they find on their insect hunt. Not only would the relation to our standards be important (number sense, bar graphs, comparing numbers), but the applicability to our insect unit would be addressed as well.
There were several things I enjoyed about this site. I would have never thought that kindergarten students could utilize a pie chart creator. The ones that I had used were always in percentages, which kindergarten students are definitely not ready for. This site, however, allows students to enter their raw numbers to create a pie chart. This, a kindergarten student could do. A small amount of instruction would be needed to show students the basics of the site, and then they would be able to utilize this without assistance.
Ease of Use:
As soon as I realized percentages were not needed, I was excited to use this creator. Students could sound out or copy the label names (depending on their abilities) and enter their numbers. This page is simple to use, free of clutter, and has a very basic appearance.
Students in kindergarten would be able to utilize this tool. After creating bar graphs for our insect hunt, students could have an option to try a pie chart. Although students would not need to do this for our standards, exposure to the things they will see in the next year would be beneficial. It could also spark some interest.
The only aspect of this site that is not age appropriate is the inclusion of percentages. When the chart is made, students will see the percentages. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Allowing students to see the percentages and having a discussion on percentages and how they add up to 100 could be intriguing for some students. Again, I would not require all students to complete this activity. Just those who are interested and/or ready to do so. The other aspects of the site (entering labels and numbers) are very appropriate for kindergarten students.
Applicability to Theme:
This would be a great challenge activity for our insect unit. I try to provide learning activities that meet the needs of each learner. I could see my advanced students loving this activity. All students would enjoy seeing what a pie chart is, while the advanced students could start to understand what a percentage means in relation to the number 100.
Students in kindergarten are only required to count to 30. They need to count both forwards and backwards. However, many students are ready to learn skip counting and practice their skills in this area. This activity would be very beneficial for them. I thought this site would meet the needs of all my students in that it self-corrects and provides guidance. Overall, I found this activity to be beneficial and easy to use.
Ease of Use:
This chart is so simple it would very easy for a kindergarten student to navigate. After one session, I am confident that my students would enjoy the site as well as know how to use it. The only settings are a simple click to utilize. There is no clutter or distraction with graphics. Students would be able to learn and practice their skills without interruption.
This site meets several needs. Students have three levels of counting to utilize; show, animate, practice. They can begin with having skip counting demonstrated. They can move on to having it animated, and last practice their ability to skip count. This meets the needs of a wide variety of students.
Skip counting is not a required skill in kindergarten. However, majority of students are ready for it mid-year, thus we do introduce the concept. It is a skill required in first grade, so we feel introducing the skill now is beneficial to the students.
This site is very age appropriate in its’ ease of use and levels of assistance it provides. Students in my classroom would be able to navigate this site and gain from its’ demonstrations.
Applicability to Theme:
This would be a great way to integrate math and science. Counting insects is something I have done in the past during this unit. Now, for the students who are ready, they could count a larger number of insects using skip counting. They could practice first, and then apply this skill with insects. What a fun way to provide differentiation during our insect unit!
20 Science Resources for Kindergarten Insect Unit
- Minnesota Standards addressed in this unit:
- 0.1.1.2.1 Use observations to develop an accurate description of a natural phenomenon and compare one’s observations and descriptions with this of others.
- 0.2.1.1.1 Sort objects in terms of color, size, shape, and texture and communicate reasoning for the sorting system.
- 0.4.1.1.1 Observe and compare plants and animals.
- 0.4.1.1.2 Identify the external parts of a variety of plants and animals including humans.
- 0.4.1.1.3 Differentiate between living and non living things.
This site provides a wealth of information. A large number of insects are identified in words and pictures providing students with valuable insight. At the kindergarten level, this site would need to be utilized with guidance. Thus, this would be a great site to use with our sixth grade buddies while we research insects for our final project; my favorite insect presentation.
This site provides anything a kindergarten student would want to know about butterflies. They can view pictures depicting the changes a caterpillar goes though. It also provides further links for children to explore. This would be a great site for students who decide to research butterflies for their final project. They could also complete one of the craft ideas for their project.
This site is easy to navigate and provides students with a large amount of information about different types of insects. This could be a good site for a whole group discussion on different types of insects. Because it has a useful start up page, we could navigate together to learn more as the insect final project is introduced. Students could see how to try clicking on different pieces of information and then how to navigate back to the start page. It could also be a resource for the kindergarten student to use for research on their final project (with their sixth grade buddy).
The most important feature for this site is that it provides a lot of pictures for kindergarten students. This site could also be used as a start page for our research project as well as one of the pages for students to research with their sixth grade buddies. It’s main menu is also picture/icon based, providing kindergarten students with an easy way to navigate to what they want to see.
Although this site contains terminology that would be difficult for some kindergarten students, it would be appropriate to a few of the students who are moving faster than the kindergarten standards. This resource could be a strong challenge for some students during our final research project. It could also be a good small group lesson for these students on the different types of insects. A teacher would need to help guide students through this page.
This site is developmentally appropriate for kindergarten students. Although there is text, the videos and games provide the same information at a kindergarten level. My students could utilize this information when we explore why people sometimes dislike insects. I could see sending students to explore this site and then bringing their thoughts back to the group for discussion and journaling. The site is easy to navigate, colorful, and animated. This is perfect for kindergarten!
This is a developmentally appropriate site that could be utilized for either research or part of our introduction lesson on what makes an insect. Students need to learn to identify characteristics of different animals, including insects, as part of their state standards. So, students could navigate through the site separating insects from animals based on their characteristics. Because a lot of information is provided, they could also use this for their final project.
I could see my students loving this site and want to play the game over and over. There is a small amount of educational value (speeds through various terrains are addressed) it is more of fun activity to spark interest in insects. I could see using this as a fun way to open a conversation about insects and their different habitats. Some insects live in the grass while others prefer dirt. Some insects live in the water, while others live in sheds or dark places. This game could give students some vocabulary to express their observations about insects and the places they live.
This is a bright, enticing, site that students could navigate with either the teacher or sixth grade buddies. It provides a lot of information and different activities. Teachers could use this as an introduction the insect unit or students could use this site as research for their final project. There is also a wealth of information for home use. Students could navigate this site with their families as well, providing a link from school to home.
This site would be an excellent site for discussing insects around the world. Because it is a site for the UK, students could navigate this site with either the teacher or sixth grade buddies to learn more about different insects. Which insects are the same as the ones in the USA? Which are different? Which insects are different, but very similar to ones found here? A long with sites that discuss insects in other regions, this could be an eye opener as to the different types of life around the world.
- Butterfly Website
- Heaters World
- Buzz About Bees
- Monarch Watch
- Fossweb.com | FOSS K-2 Modules. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2012, from http://www.fossweb.com/modulesK-2/index.html
- NLVM Pre-K – 2 – Number & Operations Manipulatives. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2012, from http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/category_g_1_t_1.html