Cooperative Conjectures

3, 4, 5

Using technology, students will work in a cooperative team to explore the effects of industrialization on wildlife.

Lesson Rating 
Four to Seven Fifty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • describe the habitats that have evolved since the 1700s.
  • compare and contrast how animals coexist with humans today and in the past.
  • observe industrial changes and how they affect animal life.
  • conduct an inquiry using technology.
  • work as a cooperative group.
  • make and carry out a cohesive plan.


  • Computer access to internet
  • Student copies of Attachments One through Three
  • Large construction paper or folders, one per student
  • Colored markers
  • Hole punch

Home Connection 

None for this lesson.


  • McGraw-Hill. SRA - Open Court Reading. Vol. 2, Level 3. Columbus: SRA/McGraw-Hill, 2002. ISBN: 0075696525

  • McGraw-Hill. SRA -Open Court Reading Inquiry Journal. Level 3:28-41. Columbus: SRA/McGraw, 2002. ISBN: 007569571


  1. Anticipatory Set:
    Tell the students that you have just purchased a brand-new machine that will help you do your work better (it is only the teacher’s advantage—not the students’). Tell them it may take a while to get used to the changes, but your teaching will be much more efficient when you all get the hang of it. The only problem is that the machine takes up a lot of room and it doesn’t work with the curtains open. Tell the students where you are going to put the new machine so that it will push all their desks into corners. When the machine arrives, they will be cramped and it will be dark, but you can assure them that you will be a more efficient teacher. You will be able to go home earlier and spend less time grading, etc. When you have raised their level of concern, ask them to think about how your announcement is like the effect of industrialization on animals and their habitats.

  2. Challenge the students to find out more about the effects of industrialization on animals and their habitats. Tell them that they will return to their literature circle groups and begin an inquiry search. The first goal of the group is to come to consensus about some central questions. Then, they will devise a plan that will allow each member to take an active role in the investigation. Finally, each group must decide how to present the group findings...through a role play, art work, charts or by writing an original rap, or presenting a power point show, etc.

  3. Give each student the three handouts and a folder to keep them in. (Or fold large construction paper in half to form a loose folder.) Have students label their folder CITY WILDLIFE INQUIRY JOURNAL. They should put their notes from the two handouts in the previous lessons in the folder as well. (Allow a few minutes to label and decorate the folders.)

  4. The directions on the handouts will guide the students in their team project which will take several days. Several times, the teacher should lead a discussion about how things are going, teamwork, sharing resources, exciting information, and other issues that develop. Encourage groups to share their ideas for research with the rest of the class. Invite two groups to share research ideas if their topics are similar or compatible. Refer back to literature circle information gathered as another resource.

  5. In Lesson Four: Stop, Look, and Listen the students continue their research, and they make their presentations in Lesson Five: Lights, Camera, Action.

  6. Teacher Note – If students are not familiar with presentation software for the computer, it is advisable to instruct them during a mini lesson. Be sure to share with students the rubric for the presentations, found in Lesson Five, Attachment Two.


Informal Assessment: Observe students’ teamwork, organizational skills and contributions to the group. Check to see that groups are recording their ideas and discussing strategies for gathering information.
Use the following rubrics for assessing the group work:

Needs Improvement




With help, identifies things he/she wonders about in relation to topic.

Expresses curiosity about topic, with help translates into specific questions.

Posses interesting problems for research; with help refines it into a researchable question.

Identifies things he/she wonders about and translates it into a researchable question.

Making Conjectures Rubric

Needs Improvement




Offers conjectures that are mainly expressions of fact or opinion.

Offers conjectures that partially address the research question.

Offers conjectures that address the research question with guesses.

Offers reasonable conjectures that address the question and can be proved through further research.

Cross Curriculum 

None for this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss why some animal colonies work together.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.5 Recognize the wise use of resources as <i>stewardship</i>.

Academic Standards

Select categories to search for standards.

Handouts Coming Soon

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Handouts Coming Soon

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