1.)Show the students a picture or poster of nocturnal animals. Explain that nocturnal animals are active while the students are sleeping. Tell the students that this unit will cover owls, bats, spiders, frogs, and skunks.
2.)Have the students name some nocturnal animals. List these animals on the board. Discuss any facts the students know about the animals (including the number of legs each animal has). Have the students help complete a chart that shows the number of legs each animal has. Let the students write five different animal names at the bottom of the chart. Have the students color a box for each of the animals legs.
3.)Have the students go on an animal hunt using the Internet. Have them look for nocturnal animals that have the same number of legs as the animals on their charts.
( Nocturnal Animals
)This website provides different links to nocturnal animals. The students will find out new information and look at different pictures.
4.)Discuss with the students that most nocturnal animals have special eyes that reflect light to help them see. The pupils of a nocturnal animal eyes get larger to let in more light in darkness. Behind each eye is a shiny surface called a tapetum (tah-pee-tum). The tapetum reflects light like a mirror back into the eye. The yellow eye shine is what we see when light catches the eye of a nocturnal animal.
5.)Divide the students into pairs. Turn off the light and let the students' eyes adjust to the dark (about 1 min.). Allow the students take turns looking at their pupils when the lights come back on. Turn the lights back on and ask the students to tell how their vision was different with the lights off.
6.)Explain to the students that because the pupil is the part of the eye receiving light, it will open wide when there is not much light so that it can receive as much light as possible in order to see. Have the students explain this process to check for understanding.
7.)Read the book, Creatures of the Night by Mary Ann Fraser. Discuss any new information about nocturnal animals with the students.
8.)Discuss the writing process with the students. Show them a chart listing the steps of the writing process. Choose one animal to write about in order to demonstrate the writing process with the students. Use an overhead projector so all the students can see as the teacher writes.
9.)Ask the students to choose one nocturnal animal to write about and illustrate. Have the students describe what nocturnal means before they begin writing. This process may take two days to complete. Monitor each student during this process. Have the students turn in the final copy for a grade.