I have this mantra about lesson plans – steal . . . ahem . . . borrow and tweak. This lesson is an example of my mantra. At the Winter Conference for Educators last year, Sid Lucas, a High School teacher from Kiel, Wisconsin, presented a lesson about genetics. Seeing the value of the lesson and realizing it was too advanced for 3rd graders, I stole . . . ahem . . . borrowed Sid’s lesson and tweaked it for 8 year olds. In class, we discussed the traits of sled dogs as we looked through the book Dogs of the Iditarod by Jeff Schultz. The next step was creating our own sled dog.
With the shake of the dice, students had a 50/50 chance of getting a male or female dog. After that the odds changed for different traits. Once they had their traits and shaded in the Trait Wheel, we compared dogs. Were there any dogs exactly the same? Exactly opposite? It was a fun discussion. Next their creative juices kicked in. They had to draw their dogs with the traits they had. It was a great activity and, without realizing it, students learned many things about the traits of sled dogs.
Also look for Sid Lucas’s lesson in the Science section at Iditarod.com. It’s not posted yet, but will be there soon.