story telling

story telling
Storytelling = Engaged Students

Our Mission

We sincerely hope that you become as inspired by teaching through the arts as we have. Highlights of our program included doing a solo drama in our class and storytelling. Students really got engaged and their retention of information from these lessons was very high.

4th Grade Science Ecosystems Lesson

Lesson: Resources in Motion Game
4th Grade Science

Objective: Students will demonstrate in writing their understanding of how resources are distributed in an ecosystem
CA 4th Core: Reading Informational Text -- K.I.D. 3 – Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text
CA 4TH ELA RC: Evaluate new information and hypothesis by testing them against known information and ideas
CA 4th ELA WA: write summaries that contain the main ideas of the selection and the most significant details
CA 4th Grade Science Standard:
Life Science 2b -- All organisms need energy and matter to live and grow. As a basis for understanding this concept, students know producers and consumers (herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and decomposers) are related in food chains and food webs and may compete with each other for resources in an ecosystem. 
Dance 1.1 Development of Motor Skills and Technical Expertise
Combine and perform basic locomotor skills, moving on a specific pathway (e.g., skip in circles, slide in zigzags, run in a variety of linear paths). Combine and perform locomotor and axial movements (e.g., walk and turn, stretch and slide).
Dance1.2 Demonstrate the ability to start, change, and stop movement.

Paper, pencils, clipboards
Large field or grassy area for them to play the game

Explain to the students they will be playing a game on the field that will demonstrate how animals compete for resources with each other. Divide the class into two teams. One team will be resources, and the other team will be deer. The deer will be seeking resources. The resources will have specific hand positions that will designate their type. All students will learn and practice the hand signals because deer that do not find their resources die, becoming resources themselves. While you have them all standing, practice these signals several times.

Resources Hand/Arm Positions
Shelter – hands in air, fingers coming to a point above head (like a house)
Air – hands cover mouth
Water – arms open and rounded in front of body with fingers touching
Food – both hands flat on stomach

Rules of the game
Players from the two teams will stand in a line opposite each other. One side will be resources. The other side will be deer seeking resources.
When teacher blows the whistle once, the two lines turn their backs to each other. Each deer will make the symbol for the resource they are seeking. Each resource will choose which resource they wish to be and make that symbol. 
When teacher blows the whistle twice, each deer will find and run to a resource that matches the symbol they are seeking. 
When the deer reaches the resource, the resource travels back to the deer line holding hands with the deer and the resource then becomes a deer for the next round (the deer reproduce).
Any deer who comes to the line and can’t find the resource they are seeking dies and stays at the resource line to become a resource in the next round (scavengers/decomposition, etc.).
Students record their observations for the round.

These six steps constitute one round.

Additional Steps
The teacher will seek to effect variables on the population such as drought, loss of habitat, reduction of food supply, etc. Teacher should call students together after each of these rounds to discuss the effects as a group (these observations will be the basis for the paragraph they will be writing.
Teacher, after many rounds, will introduce carnivores (wolves). The wolves can be selected from the deer population, and will stand between the two lines with the teacher. The game proceeds as normal except that the wolves are released to chase the deer on the third whistle, allowing the deer to get a head start. If a deer makes it to the resource line without getting caught by a wolf, the deer is safe and takes the resource to the deer line. If a deer is caught by a wolf prior to making it to the resource the deer becomes a wolf. Discuss with wolves that they should “run like wolves,” so that the deer can distinguish them from the other students. Have them decide what this means – hunched over and snarling with hands snapping open and closed is a good one.
Teacher should now be careful to discuss the dynamics of the populations between each round as the results will rapidly become dramatic.
The teacher may again effect variables into the game so that the students can witness the effects on the populations.
Call the students all together and discuss the observations again. Make sure you use terms such as scarcity, resource, environment, variables, herbivores, carnivores, etc.
Return to the classroom and write the terms used on the board so the students can use them in their writing. Ask the students if they need or would like any other words on the board. Have students copy the prompt, “Today in science we played a game about how organisms compete for resources.” Explain to the students that their paragraphs must contain details about 1) their observations regarding competing with the other deer for the same resources, 2) their observations about what happened to the deer when carnivores were introduced, 3) their observations about what happened to the wolves as they competed for the same resources, and finally 4) what happened to the populations when natural phenomena such as fire or drought were introduced.  Explain, also, that students must use the science vocabulary discussed and used in the game (and used in their textbooks). Write these directions on the board. 
Allow students time to write on the same day the game is played. They should start the writing on the same day, but they may finish the next day. The experience should be fresh in their minds and bodies when you ask them to write. This will produce the most meaningful content in their writing.

Rubric for formative assessment

5: Student work demonstrates mastery of understanding how organisms compete for resources in a given environment. Student completed all points of assignment; writing flows easily from one point to the next.
4: Student work demonstrates proficiency in understanding how organisms compete for resources in a given environment. Student completed all points of assignment; writing flows easily from one point to the next.
3: Student work demonstrates approaching proficiency in understanding how organisms compete for resources in a given environment. Student completed most points of assignment; writing may not flow easily from one point to the next.
2: Student work demonstrates approaching proficiency in understanding how organisms compete for resources in a given environment. Student completed some points of assignment; writing detracts from content discussion.
1: Student lacks fundamental understanding in how organisms compete for resources in a given environment. Student writing is off-topic.


  1. I love this game! What a creative way to integrate movement into science. :)

    1. The best part is that the kids really GET the concept after playing the game. Their dialogue with me is rich with understanding, and they are able to write about competition for resources with a knowledge of vocabulary that is not there after only taking notes and reading the text.

  2. First of all, THANK YOU for this! I taught this lesson to my class and it just really clicked. The gestures with vocabulary cater to not only the EL learners, but to all of the kids. This type of instruction gets kids excited about learning. I especially appreciate that I can have the students carry their knowledge over to blank stares here because they were so engaged, everyone was eager to write! Looking forward to more...