Answers from the Gray Whale Expert
Since 1995, experts have answered students' questions about each Journey
North species. The questions and answers about robins are archived
our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. You
can use these questions and answers in the following ways:
a Reference Book
Create a reference book for students to use throughout their Journey North
adventure. Print out the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) and place
them in a three-ring binder. Display the reference book at a learning
center. Encourage students to create additional pages of questions and
answers for the reference book.
Students Paraphrase Facts
Help students paraphrase facts revealed on the pages. Students build understanding
by putting the facts in their own words. Be sure to check the paraphrased
sentences for clarity and accuracy.
Assess students' prior knowledge about a species by listing questions
from the FAQ's on chart paper. (Do not include the answers.) Invite students
to make predictions about each question. Encourage students to add their
own questions to the list. Revisit the questions as students learn facts
throughout the unit.
the following activities, print out the FAQ pages and cut them into
strips so that each slip of paper contains a question and its answer.
an Ask the Expert discussion.
Give each student 3-5 of the fact strips. Each student is responsible
for the facts described on the strips he or she receives. Ask questions
about the species you are studying. The student with the strip that answers
the question responds as the expert.
Related Questions: Invite students to sort the strips into groups
of related questions. For example, How big is a robin's nest? How does
a robin build its nest? Where do robins build nests and why? These questions
are all related to the nesting habits of robins. Encourage students to
explain how they grouped questions.
into Categories: Sort questions into the following categories:
Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? And Other. Students organize the strips
of paper by the first word used in the question. Analyze the results:
What type of question was asked the most? Least? Invite students to brainstorm
to Questions: Place strips in a box. Pull 1-2 questions each
day. Have students respond to the questions orally or in writing. If the
question is review, use their responses for assessment. If the question
is new, invite students to make predictions and ask questions. Encourage
them to find the facts on the Journey North website or other resources.
Ask students to share their findings.
a Concept Map: Create a Concept Map for the species you are studying.
Tape a large sheet of chart paper to the wall. Write the name of the species
across the top of the chart. Below the topic, write categories for sorting
the FAQ strips: Life Cycle, Migration, Habitat, Physical Adaptations,
Behavioral Adaptations, etc. As a class read aloud questions and decide
where to place the strip on the Concept Map.
Have students compare and contrast more than one species. Print out the
FAQ pages from two or more species. Place students in small groups to
create Venn diagrams that show the similarities and differences among
a Nonfiction Book
Create a classroom nonfiction book about the species you are studying.
Invite students to choose two or three related questions. The questions
become their focus for writing a page for the class book. For example,
one student may choose questions about the physical adaptations of a species
for his or her page. Another student may choose to create a page about
the behavioral adaptations of a species.
Board and Game Cards
Invite students to create a gameboard and game cards using the questions
and answers. When players take turns throughout the game they must answer
questions correctly in order to move ahead spaces on the board.
Have students play "Journey North Jeopardy." Use the FAQ pages
to create game show cards. Here are some sample cards: Clue Card: "The
tallest bird in North America." Contestant (student) response: "What
are whooping cranes?" or Clue Card: "The only mammals with 6
cervical (neck) vertebrae." Response: "What are manatees and
Invite students to work in groups for this activity. Give each group a
set of questions. Have them create AlphaBoxes: The ABC s of Learning.
The alphabox is a graphic that contains 26 squares for the letters of
the alphabet. Students collect facts from the FAQ pages. They write words,
phrases, and fact sentences in each box. For example, In the first square
labeled A, students may write about the ADAPTIONS of a species. In the
square labeled H, they may write facts about the animal's HABITAT.