Island: A Story of the Galapagos

Contributor
Jason Chin
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Informative Text
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This picture book documents the history of the Galapagos Islands, from its volcanic beginnings six million years ago. It shows how the environment of the islands changed over time, resulting in changes in the types of plants and animals that live there. The book features the adaptations of living things on the Galapagos Islands and highligts the idea that survival of organisms is closely tied to whether or not they can get what they need within their habitat. 

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 3
  • Upper Elementary
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Available for purchase - The right to view, keep, and/or download material upon payment of a one-time fee.

Performance Expectations

3-LS4-4 Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.

Clarification Statement: Examples of environmental changes could include changes in land characteristics, water distribution, temperature, food, and other organisms.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to a single environmental change. Assessment does not include the greenhouse effect or climate change.

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The book highlights how changes in the Galapagos Islands habitats over time affected the types of plants and animals that live there. After reading the book, ask students to record examples of how changes in the islands resulted in changes of the types of living things there and why. Compile a class chart. Ask students what would happen if certain changes in the environment occurred in their community (drought, much colder or warmer temperatures throughout the year, flooding, etc.). How do they think those changes might affect plants and animals that live there?

3-LS4-3 Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

Clarification Statement: Examples of evidence could include needs and characteristics of the organisms and habitats involved. The organisms and their habitat make up a system in which the parts depend on each other.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This book provides many clear examples of how the survival of organisms depends on whether they can meet their needs in a certain habitat. Before reading the book, the teacher could do a formative assessment by asking students: Why do you think that some organisms survive well in certain habitats and others don't? Students should write down their ideas independently in their science notebooks, or they could answer the prompt on a separate piece of paper to hand into the teacher. The teacher reads the book aloud, then asks students (in pairs or small groups) to go through it again looking for evidence that organisms have features and behaviors that allow them to survive in certain habitats. Students should gather evidence in their science notebooks on: 1) the characteristics of the habitat, 2) features and behaviors of organisms that survive well there, and 3) how those features and behaviors allow them to get what they need to survive. Ask students to share in mixed groups and add to their science notebooks (based on what they learned from others). Next, ask students to look through the book for evidence of animals that did not survive so well or could not survive at all in habitat. Have them record their ideas on why this may have happened. Students then use their evidence to construct an explanation describing how a certain environment meets different organisms' needs to different degrees due to the needs of the organisms and the characteristics of the environment. The teacher could facilitate a science talk to allow students to share their explanations, respectfully critiquing each others ideas and evidence. Ask them to think back to their original thinking about why they think that some organisms survive well in certain habitats and others don't. How has their thinking changed? Why?

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Using this book, students will gather information about how organisms survive with differing success in certain habitats due to their ability to get what they need to survive. Information gleaned from the book could be gathered by students or the teacher in a class chart. Suggested headings might be: habitat (description), organisms that survive well there (their features/behaviors and how they help them get what they need to survive), organisms that do not survive as well there (ideas on how their features/behaviors are not as well adapted to help them get what they need to survive).

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Based on information gathered from the book, the class can have a rich discussion on how the ability of organisms to survive in a certain habitat is connected to how well they are able to get what they need to survive. Prior to this discussion, the teacher should review what plants and animals need to survive and post them on the board/wall.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This book provides clear examples of what happens when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there change. Students can analyze information about the effects of environmental changes on organisms from the book and apply it to other possible scenarios that might affect their community.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The book provides many examples of how organisms within an ecosystem depend on one another. If students are not familiar with the concept of systems, the teacher can introduce it and ask students to create a model (physical model, concept map, drawing, etc.) showing how organisms living on the Galapagos Islands depend on one another. They could even create a mural illustrating the islands' ecosystems.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The teacher can explicitly address this crosscutting concept by asking students to provide examples of cause and effect from the book. A chart could be created describing what happens to the plants and animals when the environment changes. Students could also create cause and effect books illustrating changes that have occurred in the environment on one page, then illustrate the resulting changes on organisms on the facing page. Notes should be included on how/why the changes in the environment affected the organisms.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This book provides a clear example of what happens when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there change, as well as how the survival of organisms is closely connected to how well they can get what they need to survive in their habitat. The book also aligns with the practice of obtaining information from books to explain phenomena. Additional ways that students might interact with the book to support their learning could be to 1) create dioramas of the changes that occurred in the island over time, including illustrations of the changes in the plant and animal life (each part of the diorama could represent a certain time period), 2) use maps to locate the Galapagos Islands, discuss climate, and the importance of geographical location/geology on the survival of organisms.

  • Instructional Supports: This book will help students gain a deeper understanding of the DCIs and can be used to support the Common Core Standards in ELA. However, it will be up to the teacher to provide additional instructional supports (e.g., support for all learners). This can be done in many ways, such as creating word walls, previewing the book with certain learners, etc.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: No assessments are provided. However, the teacher can add formative assessments, such as the question prior to reading the book: Why do you think that some organisms survive well in certain habitats and others don't? Student understanding and potential misconceptions can also be revealed by reviewing their science notebooks. Possible summative assessments might include asking students to construct an explanation using evidence from the book to answer the focus question: Why do some organisms survive well in certain habitats and others don't? Students could also be asked to provide evidence to support the claim that changes in habitats affect the organisms living there.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not include a technologically interactive component.