Alligator Alley

Alligator Alley lesson plan

Create an Alligator Alley art gallery to display paintings and information about alligators and how humans impact their survival.

  • 1.

    Investigate information about alligators, including environmental necessities for their survival. As a class, identify human actions that help or hurt alligators' chances of survival in their native environment. Discuss the effects of pollution and development on alligator habitats. Have students make a list of steps people can take to reduce pollution in areas where alligators live.

  • 2.

    Cover the work area with recycled newspaper. Use Crayola® Artista II® Tempera Paint and Paint Brushes to paint the alligator, water, and grassy areas. Use a craft stick to scrape away wet paint to show white curved lines emphasizing the alligator's movements in the water. Dry.

  • 3.

    Paint portions of the alligator and its surroundings with another color. While the paint is wet, use craft sticks to scrape away lines of wet paint to texturize the alligator's skin and to show blades of vegetation.

  • 4.

    Use a similar technique to paint block-lettered signs on poster board with anti-pollution messages. Create an Alligator Alley display.

Standards

  • LA: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • LA: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.
  • SCI: Construct explanations of phenomena using knowledge of accepted scientific theory and linking it to models and evidence.
  • SCI: Use words, tables, diagrams, and graphs to communicate understanding or to ask questions.
  • SS: Examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the use of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions.
  • SS: Identify examples of laws and policies that govern scientific and technological applications, such as the Endangered Species Act and environmental protection policies.
  • SS: Suggest ways to monitor science and technology in order to protect the physical environmental, individual rights, and the common good.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

Adaptations

  • Students research the difference between alligators and crocodiles. Students can use Crayola colored pencils, crayons, pastels, or markers to illustrate their research. This research presentation should include a compare/contrast list of the differences.
  • Students will read about The Endangered Species Act of 1973. Possible website: Kids Planet located at http://www.kidsplanet.org/factsheets/esa.html. Students will create a written summary of how an animal becomes registered as an endangered species.
  • Students , individually or in small groups, will gather information about the American alligator, its habitat, eating habits, habitat, etc. From 1973 through 1987, when it was taken off the list. Why was it removed from the list? Consider changes in the reptile's habitat, human influence, etc. Write a summary of your findings. Audio tape your summary and link it to electronic photographs of the American Alligator. Save this file on a classroom computer for future viewing.
  • Students, individually or in small groups, research other animals that had once been included in the list of endangered species and have since been removed from that list. Research these animals, noting their habitats, food supply, human influence, etc. Create a paper presentation for posting in the classroom which summarizes information about these animals. This writing could be in bullet format for quick viewing. A student illustrated picture of the animal should be included with this writing piece.
  • Pollutants have been blamed for the destruction of alligator habitats. Students can research pollutants in native alligator habitats. Students can use this research to write letters to their legislators asking for help in keeping waterways clean and free of pollution. Copies of student letters can be posted in the classroom for viewing.
  • To accompany their model of an alligator, students can write significant facts about the reptile. These will be displayed with the alligator model.
  • Students research the American Alligator and the Chinese Alligator. If the American Alligator model is complete, students can make a model of the Chinese Alligator. Researched facts of each can be posted for display.
  • Expand student research by including the alligator and the crocodile. Have students seek facts that show the similarities and differences between the two. If time permits, encourage students to made a model of the crocodile and display it next to the alligator's model, with researched facts posted for both.