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Snorkel Scene

Use Crayola® Oil Pastels to capture the beauty of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef ecosystem.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Ask students to explore various resources to research the location and characteristics of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem. Invite the class to develop a set of focus questions for this investigation. Encourage a look at the varieties of interdependent living things.
    2. Working in small groups, students use Crayola Oil Pastels on white construction paper to illustrate a small part of the ecosystem. Include several interdependent components. Refer to illustrations and photographs when drawing details, as well as gathered research when creating artwork.
    3. Suggest students try these techniques when using oil pastels: To achieve interesting color combinations, layer colors and blend with a soft cloth or finger. To depict air bubbles in the ecosystem, fill in small circular areas with white and outline with a color. To represent energy from the sun, add radiating lines of color through the water.
    4. Once artwork is complete, ask each group to compose a paragraph describing how their illustration visualizes Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Information gathered during the research period should be reflected in this collaborative writing piece.
    5. Post student artwork, accompanied by writing, in a prominent place in the classroom or school corridor.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.

    SCI: Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the types of habitats in which organisms live, and ask questions based on that information.

    SCI: Obtain and communicate information about the characteristics of groups of organisms and evaluate how groups help organisms survive.

    SCI: Use data about the characteristics of organisms and habitats to design an artificial habitat in which the organisms can survive.

    VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Everything Kids' Geography Book: From the Grand Canyon to the Great Barrier Reef - explore the world! by Jane P. Gardner; The Mystery on the Great Barrier Reef: Sydney, Australia by Carole Marsh; Here Is the Coral Reef by Madeleine Dunphy; Great Barrier Reef (Wonders of the World) by Martin J. Gutnik & Natalie Browne-Gutnik

    Working in small groups, students research the interactions of organisms in the Barrier Reef. How do the various species of organisms work together in order to survive? What organisms found in the reef are considered endangered? What has changed in the reef to cause the decline in numbers of the organism? How can this be rectified?

    Students use 3' x 5' index cards to identify an describe each component in the ecosystem. Explain how each is interdependent within the system. Link the cards together with yarn or string to illustrate their connections.

    Students collaborate to write a letter to their U. S. Congressmen investigating what is being done to help endangered species.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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