Week 18 Fourth Grade
Ecosystems (Non-Fiction, Level 13, Stage 3) by Lindsay Caputo
Ecosystems is 32 pages chock full of information about our planet’s interdependent plants and animals and how each one is important. In this book we learned about consumers, producers, and decomposers, and how each one is necessary to keep the planet healthy. One of my favorite moments this week was watching my 4th grader teach my 1st grader the about how everything is connected in an ecosystem. I’m always amazed at how fast they become experts on something, often after reading through the information just one time!
This week I want to highlight the usefulness of the Compare/Contrast Chart that came as part of the Guided Lesson to help teach the difference between a food chain and a food web. First, Elijah wrote several facts about food chains. Then he wrote several facts about food webs and answered the questions, How are they different? and How are they alike? This activity was especially helpful because we have studied food chains in the past, but when we learned about food webs in this book, he was a little confused. At first he wanted to answer the question about their difference with “The food web is more complicated,” but after talking through each one, he was then able to come up with the fact that a food web shows more than a food chain and that a food web can be more helpful in several ways.
From science vocabulary to comprehension and critical thinking about several new concepts, Ecosystems was one of our favorite books so far this year. Elijah is really into science, which just happens to be one of his mother’s weakest subjects, so this book and the accompanying resources were extremely helpful. The AlphaSkills Guided Lesson offered 5 days worth of activities to help both of us explore every ounce of information in this book, and it also helped that there was an element of conservation included. Our family loves national parks, and we plan to visit each one as we travel across America in the next several years, so any book that mentions even one of those parks and highlights the importance of conservation is an automatic favorite! For more information about the AlphaSkills Read with Sarah curriculum and our family, see the AlphaSkills Blog Introduction.