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Wildlife Soundscapes

By Caitlin Davey 90 minutes
Level
Grades 1-3
Subjects
English Language Arts,
Science and Technology,
Mathematics
components
  • Programming
  • Design
Tools & Languages
Block-based,
Scratch

Key Coding Concepts

  • Algorithms
  • Events
  • Sequences

Terminology

Algorithms

A step-by-step set of operations to be performed to help solve a problem

 

Events

One thing causing another thing to happen i.e. ‘when clicked’ block

 

Sequences

Identifying a series of steps for a task. Computers and Scratch read and perform commands in order from top to bottom

In this lesson, learners will explore the sounds of wildlife in protected environments and begin to consider how we can restore and protect animal habitats.

Technology

  • Computers
  • Access to Internet*

*If you will not have access to the internet during the lesson, download the Scratch App and starter project onto computers ahead of time.

Before the lesson...

This lesson was made in partnership with

Tutorial

Introduction

Watch this video about wolves (~4 minutes).

Ask: What does this video tell us about [wildlife / ecosystems]? (A: That they’re all connected!)

Provide some background information on the boreal woodland caribou:

Say: “The boreal woodland caribou is threatened with extinction in every province and territory.”

Ask: “What does ‘extinction’ mean?”

Say: “These shy animals need large forests without roads and buildings to survive. At least half of the boreal caribou have been lost as their homes have been destroyed. For example, all of the woodland caribou in oil and gas development areas of Alberta are shrinking in half every 8 years.”

Say: "We’re making a 'wildlife soundscape' for the woodland caribou using Scratch. A soundscape is when we take all of the sounds we might hear in a place, and put them together."

Ask: What is wildlife? What sorts of sounds might we hear in a wildlife soundscape? (Take note of the answers on a whiteboard or anchor chart paper)

Create a wildlife soundscape with your class!

  1. Tell learners that we are making a soundscape. Each of them will take turns adding a sound that they would hear in a forest (when you point at them, or when they pass a ‘talking stick’ item). Remind them that forests are quiet and peaceful, so let’s try to make our soundscape sound the same!
  2. If learners can’t think of a sound effect, they can use a sound from the list that you created (from the previous question)
  3. Go through the entire class until everyone has had a chance to add their sound. Congratulate learners on creating their first soundscape. Now, let’s make one using the computer!

Code Along

  1. Open up a new Scratch project at scratch.mit.edu and click on “Create” (top, left corner).
  2. Point out the main elements: Stage, Sprites, and Scripts (especially the “sounds” category). Demonstrate how to drag and connect blocks.
  3. Give learners a few minutes to click on blocks and explore.
  4. Go through 1-2 challenges with the group, where learners are tasked with trying to make something happen in Scratch. For example, “Try to make Scratch move” or “Try to make Scratch say something when the space key is pressed” (See the Code-Along Challenges doc for more examples and solutions)

Activity

Show the example project so learners know what they are working towards. Ask them what they see/hear - what is happening in this project?

Open the starter project and review the Sprites and backgrounds. Have learners open the starter project on their screens and click "See Inside" or “Remix” (The remix button will only be visible once they are signed into their accounts.)

Use the solution sheet to guide learners through the following steps:

  1. Animal sounds
  2. Change the backdrop
  3. Showing/hiding animals

Give learners time to work on their projects, and add as many sounds and changes as they like.

Learning Outcomes

I can use code to tell the computer what to do
I can use events to control when things happen in my project
I can create a soundscape in Scratch

Assessment Ideas

  • Have learners write a reflection on the effects of human activity on animal life.
    • What did they learn from creating a rich soundscape in Scratch?
    • What would their forest sound like if there were fewer or even no animals?
  • Show learners how to add a “say [hello] for _ secs” script to provide some context for their soundscape. They can edit the ‘hello’ text to describe what they learned about the caribou and their habitat.

  • Complete a KW(D)L chart with the group (Know, Want to know, (Do), Learned). Ask them what they think they know about habitats (or caribou) at the beginning of the lesson, and what they want to know. After the lesson, regroup and complete the ‘learned’ column as well. Brainstorm and research what we can DO as a group. How can we help save the boreal woodland caribou and their habitat (or endangered species in general)?
  • Use this as an opportunity to learn about onomatopoeia (when words look the way they sound - like ‘buzz’). When brainstorming sounds in a wildlife soundscape, have learners think of these words and write them at the front.
  • Define ‘nocturnal’ and spend time discussing which animals come out at night, and which are out during the day. Have learners demonstrate their understanding by having animals in the project ‘show’ and ‘hide’ according to the backdrop.
  • Geography/Science and Digital Connectivity (Use the Internet to Conduct Research): Introduce learners to the Nature Sound Map Website. Listen to nature sounds on other continents of the world. Encourage learners to research a specific Biome (Resource: World Biomes by Kids Do Ecology). Have learners create an interactive Scratch project including information on the Biome, pictures and nature sounds from their selected Biome. Discuss how creating this Biome project could be used to inform people about the importance of food chains and the environmental impact people have on nature. How could this project be shared to promote awareness of these issues?

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