Talking About - Insect Pictures
When you want your pupils to engage and talk in class,
you may engage the pupils by asking them to hand in an insect
picture in a folder on Fronter, and then include the pupils in an
oral guessing activity.
SUBJECT: English or Science
TOPIC: Insects - how do we talk about them?
- using everyday vocabulary to talk about insects (skin, legs, colour, wings, etc)
- using subject specific vocabulary to describe insects (bee, beetle, butterfly, caterpillar, cockroach, etc)
Step 1: Activating prior knowledge & vocabulary
Ask the pupils which words they would use to talk about insects. You could do this orally, or write the words on the board. Then you could show the pupils some pictures in class and ask them which words they would use to describe the insects. There are many picture webpages, for example this one: http://www.eflnet.com/vocab/dictionary/insects1.php. If you use a webpage with sound, you can click on a picture to hear its pronunciation.
Step 2: Hand-in folder & Searching
Create a hand-in folder on Fronter. Give an end date to show the opening hours when the pupils can submit their tasks. Ask the pupils to find a picture of an insect and upload it in the folder before the end date (and time). They might find one on the web and cite the source, or they may take an insect picture themselves. Suggest that they use real pictures and not illustrations like the ones on the above webpage. The idea is to keep their insect a secret from the other pupils. Ask them to write the type of insect as the title when they upload the picture.
Step 3: Assessment & Planning
Assess the pictures in the folder - which are really insects? Tick off "approved" if they are insects, or add a comment if it is not. When you look through the pictures in the folder,you will easily recognize the various insects by the picture titles. Plan how you can show close-ups in class, showing only parts of the insect to the pupils.
Step 4: Oral activity
In class, the teacher shows close-ups of the pictures, one by one, showing only parts of the insect. The pupils guess what the picture shows, which insect, etc. Examples: "That's a wing, since it's black I guess it's a fly", or "I believe that thin brownish thing is a leg - maybe a spider's leg?", or "I recognise the large compound eyes and the flexible antennae - it has to be a cockroach!" You could ask the pupil who has handed in the picture to confirm. The activity may be done in a full class, or you can create groups that discuss among themselves which insect it is.
Step 5: Assessment
After class, you might assess each pupil's use of vocabulary according to the learning aims:
- to what extent did the pupils use everyday vocabulary when they talk about insects?
- to what extent did the pupils use subject specific vocabulary to describe insects?
You could make notes to each pupil of two things they mastered well (two stars) and one thing they might improve next time (one wish).
About the author
What inspires you?
Engaging pupils in activities that create enthusiasm and help them to improve.
Kastellet school, Oslo, Norway