Exploring Seasons and Silvery Minnows with the Natural Inquirer and Elementary GLOBE

Contributed by Caleigh Fleming and Ashley Kacmarski, students at SUNY Fredonia

Hello there!! Our names are Caleigh Fleming and Ashley Kacmarski. We are both senior early childhood education majors at The State University of New York at Fredonia. We decided to explore the Animals and Ecosystems of the Southwestern United States Investi-gator. We chose this because when we were growing up, we were both highly engaged in science lessons about ecosystems and exploring animals across the globe. We thought it would be interesting to learn more about it from a teacher’s perspective. We want our students’ experiences to be as exciting and captivating as ours once were.

cover for the Investi-gator issue "Animals and Ecosystems of the Southwestern United States"
Animals and Ecosystems of the Southwestern United States Investi-gator

On the Natural Inquirer website for the Animals and Ecosystems in Southwestern United States Investi-gator issue, the article “By the Light of the Silvery Minnow: Can Young Minnows Be Taught About Their Natural Foods?” caught our attention. After diving in we were able to learn more about the silvery minnow and their habitat. We learned that silvery minnows are found in the Rio Grande, which stretches from Colorado to the Texas-Mexico border. The article explains that silvery minnows are endangered, which means their population is disappearing in all or just in certain areas where they live. There are many different facts given about these fish and how different scientists have studied them throughout the years. Included within the article were many “stops” for reflecting on what is being read and questions that can have the students put themselves in a scientist’s shoes.

There are so many different ways you can implement this article in your own classroom with your students. In our classroom, we would take time to break down the article and dive deeper into what a silvery minnow is and how they live within their ecosystem. A FACTivity at the end of the article allows students to learn and experiment with how diatoms are important parts of an ecosystem. This would be conducted after we read and discussed the article as a whole.

Elementary GLOBE

We were able to look at the Elementary GLOBE resources. There are eight different modules along with the teacher implementation guide. Within each module, there are books and activities that correlate with the topic. We also looked at the Elementary GLOBE teacher implementation guide. This guide was designed to help elementary teachers understand and implement Earth System Science topics into their curriculum. This guide was able to connect different content areas to the core subject of science. One of the big connections was to literacy and how it can benefit science comprehension. Literacy can have a huge impact on science comprehension especially by utilizing the skills of predicting, comparing and contrasting, and so much more! This guide also was able to discuss connecting science with other content areas such as arts, geography, math, and engineering.

GLOBE and Natural Inquirer Connections

The Elementary GLOBE student activity sheet for "The Colors of the Seasons"
After looking at the Seasons module we were able to find many different ways we can connect the lessons with the silvery minnow article. We would start by doing the different activities in the module and then lead into how the seasons can also affect the silvery minnows in the Rio Grande. We would implement all activities but focus on connecting “The Colors of the Seasons” activity with the minnow article. This activity would work well because it talks about the seasons across the globe and how they can affect the animals that are living through the changes of the seasons.

We both really enjoyed exploring and learning a little bit more about different science lessons we could implement in our classrooms. The resources we found on the Natural Inquirer and GLOBE websites were super beneficial. These are all things that would increase engagement in the classroom setting, and we are looking forward to using them!

NGSS Connections: Disciplinary Core Ideas

There were three disciplinary core ideas within the Next Generation Science Standards chart From the Elementary GLOBE Teacher Implementation Guide. These included:

  • LS1.A- Structure and function
  • LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
  • LS4.D- Biodiversity and Humans

Image Captions (top to bottom):

  1. Cover of the Animals and Ecosystems in Southwestern United States Investi-gator issue
  2. The Elementary GLOBE student activity sheet for "The Colors of the Seasons"

Acknowledgement: This material is based upon work supported by USDA Forest Service Eastern Region (Agreement no. 20-PA-11090100-026). Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the USDA Forest Service.

This blog post is part of the GLOBE and the Natural Inquirer Crosswalk Project. Other blog posts are available on the U.S. GLOBE Teacher Resources page

Natural Inquirer issues can be downloaded and classroom sets of many issues can be ordered from their website. Find the complete list of issues available and instructions for ordering on the Natural Inquirer website

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