Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Creating a Field Guide in the Classroom

As our final project for the Redwood Forest, the students make their own field guides.  When they are done, I laminate them and they can take the field guides to camp.  It is a great activity that incorporates note taking, research, non-linguistic representation, and a little creativity.  Here is the process if you want to make a field guide with your students...
field guide notes in interactive notebook

The first thing my students do is spend time taking notes on the species of the forest.  They used a combination of resources that included pamphlets, other field guides, and the internet.  They put these notes in their interactive notebooks so they can also use them on their test.

When they are finished, we check them over for mistakes, and then they are ready to start the final product!

First, they copy their notes into pre-made boxes.  This is so they don't run out of room on their final piece of card stock and if they make a mistake, they can just get a new box, instead of starting their project all over.
boxes for field guide notes
Then, they get pictures of all the species that are included in their field guide.  I spend A LOT of time on Google images to find black and white pictures or line drawings of all of these plants, trees, and animals.  They are required to color the plants and animals the correct colors.
field guide pictures
Once they have done their boxes and pictures, they are ready to cut and glue.  I give them a piece of white card stock.  It tends to hold up a lot better than just plain white construction paper.  When they are all done, I like to laminate them just in case it rains at camp :)  Here are some examples of the finished products...
front cover of field guide
inside of field guide
This can be done for any biome or ecosystem project.  It could even just include species that you find around your school or in your neighborhood.  They love making them and love taking them out in the field even more!

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