3 — Explaining the life cycle of a chicken: Joint construction
This sequence allows you to monitor the students’ developing understanding of an explanation of the life cycle in terms of its structure and the information contained within it related to chickens. This sequence provides an opportunity to model the increasing amount of technical terminology used in factual texts.
- the chart of the life stages of a chicken (linear format) and the chart of the life cycle of a chicken that are displayed in the classroom
- two large sheets of paper on which to display the completed life cycles
- students’ science journals.
Review both the Stages of a chicken’s life and the Detailed life cycle of a chicken worksheet, inviting individuals to explain both. Jointly read the explanation text How chickens reproduce and as you do, point out the words that indicate the order of the events in the life cycle, such as after, then and they soon become. You might also draw attention to the use of subject specific words, such as rooster, mate and egg tooth, and explain how words such as these help make the explanation more scientific. Tell the students that the class is going to create its own life cycle explanation to demonstrate what they have learnt.
Activity 1: Developing a rubric
Jointly develop a rubric, using this information on Developing a rubric, that will indicate whether or not the life cycle the class creates is successful in conveying information.
Activity 2: Developing collaborative outlines of the life cycle
As a whole class, develop an outline of the life cycle. Divide the class into collaborative learning teams of two or three students, so that there are approximately nine teams (enough to construct two similar complete life cycles of chickens after you have demonstrated the first phase of one of the cycles). ACSHE034, ACELA1463, ACELY1789, ACELY1666
Jointly construct the first phase of the life cycle, with questions and comments such as:
- Where does the egg develop?
- What is the female chicken called?
- So rather than writing: ‘The egg develops inside the female chicken’, let’s write: ‘The egg develops inside the hen’.
- How should we illustrate this? I think I’ll draw a hen and draw an egg on her middle so that we can understand that it is inside her body.
Each team can then be given a phase of the life cycle to illustrate and add text to, using the notes from the previous sequence.
Activity 3: Completing the life cycle diagrams
Circulate between the teams as they work, clarifying where necessary, and providing more support to those students who need it. When the students have completed their task, come back together as a class and have the students, team by team, show and read their phase and paste it on the cycle. The two cycles can be completed simultaneously. ACELY1671
Check the completed life cycles against the rubric to determine the degree of success. Invite comments about what worked well and what could be improved.