Saturday, October 10, 2015

Do Chicks Ask for Snacks?: Noticing Animal Behaviors

Do Chicks Ask for Snacks?
written by Martha E.H. Rustad; illustrated by Mike Moran
2016 (Millbrook Press)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

"Does anyone notice a pattern?" Max says, "I do! Babies make noises, and parents feed them."

The students in Ms. McLean's class are observing animal behavior in anticipation of their trip to the zoo. They've made a chart of behaviors to look for as they are guided by Mr. Sato at the zoo. First, the class observes a baby tiger meowing. The mother tiger responds by feeding it. This same call and response happens at the zebra exhibit. Ms. McLean's students notice the pattern of babies making noises in order to be fed. I've noticed this with teenagers as well. Other patterns are noticed. Otters and raccoons learn from their parents how to find food and be safe. Lion cubs practice hunting and chimpanzees learn how to use tools. Not power drills, but sticks to find ants. Group patterns observed include a herd of elephants traveling together. Mr. Sato tells the students about how elephants protect their young in this manner. Ms. McLean's class learns to look for patterns and observe examples of cause and effect. The final effect of the zoo trip is for students to go recess after returning excitedly. I can understand that cause!

Do Chicks Ask for Snacks? would be a good mentor text for a unit on animal behavior. I like imparting this information through a narrative format. It's also a book that would be helpful for teaching the skill of seeing examples of cause and effect in a text. I would use this with K-1 students and second graders who are below grade level readers.


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