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Schoolyard in a Picture Frame

Unit Plan: Mapping: What's on the Whole SchoolyardLesson: 2 Time: 2 class periods Setting: Schoolyard
3-5Schoolyard Ecology
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Students will draw what they see. Students will work to include locations of different features on a schoolyard as seen from a side view.


    Students will sketch their schoolyard from different locations.


    • Pencils
    • 8.5 X 14 paper
    • 11 X 17 cardboard frames with an 8.5 X 11 cut-out
    1. Scout your schoolyard ahead of time to see which locations are most appropriate for sketching panoramic views of your schoolyard. An ideal location will allow students a clear, head-on view of at least part of a familiar school building, and perhaps include features such as trees, parking lot, or playground equipment. Try to avoid views that look at the school from an angle or that are blocked by trees or landscaping.
    2. Preview the activity inside, demonstrating what a view looks like through a picture frame. Then take the students out to a location where they can sketch a view of their school. Tell the students that this will be the first step in creating a model of their school, and they should focus on noting key elements of their schoolyard. Also tell them to note where things are in relation to each other, for example, “The large pine tree is on the right side of the building,” and “How wide is the parking lot in relation to the hedge row?”
    3.  Hand out the materials and have the students draw what they see through the picture frame.
    4. Try to sketch the school from at least 2-3 different views.
    5. Indoors, review with the students what they saw through their frames, and go over the student page giving one-two examples. Students then use their sketches to complete the student pages found in the Schoolyard in a Picture Frame Handout.
    6. Have the students label key features on their sketches, and review these with them. Ask them which things would be important to include when creating a model of their school. How can their drawings help them in making a model?

    Lesson Files

    Schoolyard in a Picture Frame Handout

    Benchmarks for Science Literacy

    2A Patterns and Relationships, 3B Design and Systems, 6B Human Development, 9B Symbolic Representation, 9C Shapes

    NYS Standards

    MST 6- Interconnectedness of mathematics, science, and technology (modeling, systems, scale, change, equilibrium, optimization)
    Next Generation Science Standards

    Science and Engineering Practices

    Asking questions and defining problems, Developing and using models, Planning and carrying out investigations

    Cross Cutting Concepts

    Patterns, Cause and effect