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8 Background Information

Page history last edited by Sandy Martinez 10 years, 3 months ago

Beyond Butterflies




Driving Question:  Beyond butterflies, are there other patterns in nature?


Background Information

In this thematic unit, students will explore patterns in nature as they investigate plants, animals, insects, and their surroundings. We have planned a series of cross-curricular activities which integrate all content areas.


This unit of study was used in two pre-kindergarten classrooms located in Austin, Texas.  The first class is a class of 17 Hispanic low income students who attend Lucy Read Demonstration School.  The second class has 13 ELL, low income, and homeless students at Mathews Elementary.  All students must qualify for pre-kindergarten on the basis of need for language, income, military family members, foster children, or homelessness.


Teachers draw on their knowledge and experiences from EC-4 Masters Program in Mathematics, BLOCK Science Research Project from the University of Texas, which is apart of the Texas Regional Collaboratives http://www.thetrc.org/trc/ .  As well as Techno-scientist II with Austin ISD, and participation in The Nature Action Collaborative for Children http://www.worldforumfoundation.org/wf/nacc/index.php. Teachers are members of the worldforumfoundation.org which states, “Our mission is to re-connect children with the natural world by making developmentally appropriate nature education a sustaining and enriching part of the daily lives of the world’s children!” Teachers attended Nature Explore training in College Station to learn to become certified in setting up science areas outdoors.  Nature provides powerful opportunities for all children to develop close observations skills; notice details, colors, patterns and textures; see things from multiple perspectives and levels; learn about pathways, space, scale relationship, experience area, geometric shapes, volume and perimeter.



Understanding patterns is a basic skill needed to understand why things work together. Patterns help solve problems and can be found everywhere in designs, shapes, and groups of numbers. Our pattern/geometric unit helps students reconnect with nature as they learn how to observe and record their findings.  Students will learn how to use tools which allow them to take a closer look at nature and find pattern relationships.  Students will explore their home, school, and take outdoor walks to local parks and neighboring wooded areas.  Patterns are everywhere and children will expand their knowledge of the world by discovering patterns in nature. 


In our study of life science, we have helped our young learners open their eyes to finding patterns.  Our students are looking for repeating and growing patterns in animals, plants, insects, and their surroundings.  They are able to describe and document their learning as they recognize lines, spots, spirals, colors, and shapes.  Students have used technology devices to record their learning.  Students have used flip cameras, digital cameras, Ipod touch, digital microscopes, websites, software applications, and viewed videos online.  Students have recreated patterns and shapes by sketching, built with manipulatives and blocks, and created art pieces using creative expression.


Pre-Kindergarten Guidelines



V.E.1. Student sorts objects that are the same and different into groups and uses languages to

describe how the groups are similar and different.

V.E.3  Student begins to recognize patterns.

V.C.1  Student recognizes common shapes.

V.C.2  Student manipulates shapes using fine and gross motor skills.

V.C.3.  Student begins to use language to describe location of objects.

V.C.4  Student moves objects during informal play.



VI.A.1 . Student describes, observes, and investigates properties and characteristics of common objects.

VI.A.2     Student investigates and describes position and motion of objects.

VI.A.3.  Student uses simple measuring devices to learn about objects.

VI.B.1.  Student identifies and describes the characteristics of organisms.

VI.B.3.  Student recognizes, observes, and discusses the relationships of organisms to their environments.



VIII.A.1  Student uses a variety of art materials and activities for sensory experience and exploration.

VIII.A.2  Student uses art as a form of creative self-expression and representation.



X.A.1.   Student opens and navigates through software programs designed to enhance development of appropriate concepts.

X.A.3.  Student operates voice/sound recorders and touch screens.

X.A.4.  Student uses software applications to create and express own ideas.

X.A.5   Student recognizes that information is accessible through the use of technology.


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