New science TEKS are coming to Texas! One change is that students will learn about specific scientists in various fields. Another change is that the STARR tests will pull from science and social studies topics for reading passages. This is a good change because so much of our reading comprehension depends on our background knowledge of a topic. What isn’t great is that some of these topics will be taught starting in kindergarten, and kindergarteners will not be ready to absorb the necessary knowledge. As a result, we will have to continue going back and reteaching what students have already learned.
Jane Goodall is a scientist students will learn about for the first time in second grade. She was the first scientist to observe and report on chimpanzees using tools. Before Jane’s research, people thought only humans used tools. Jane is famous for her research methods. She lived in the forest with the chimpanzees to observe them. It took her years to gain their trust. Jane no longer lives in the forest, but other scientists have continued her work. Today, Jane Goodall teaches about the importance of protecting the environment.
JANE GOODALL: A SHORT BIOGRAPHY
Jane Goodall was born in London, England, on April 3, 1934. From a young age, she showed deep love and curiosity for animals, often observing the wildlife in her backyard. Little did she know that this childhood fascination would lead her to become one of the most influential conservationists of our time.
Jane’s life took an extraordinary turn when, at the age of 26, she ventured to Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, Africa. Armed with determination and an unwavering desire to understand chimpanzees, she embarked on a groundbreaking study that would change how we view these intelligent creatures. Jane’s patient observations and unique insights revealed that chimpanzees have rich and complex social lives, use tools, and share emotions – much like us!
Jane Goodall’s work wasn’t just confined to the forests of Gombe. She expanded her efforts to promote conservation and raise awareness about the importance of protecting the natural world. Her tireless advocacy efforts led to the creation of the Jane Goodall Institute, which inspires people globally to connect with nature and take action for a sustainable future.
Through her numerous books, lectures, and documentaries, Jane Goodall has become a beacon of hope and a symbol of the power of one individual’s dedication to making a difference. Her emphasis on the interconnectedness of all life on Earth has resonated with people of all ages, inspiring them to become stewards of the environment.
TEACHING SECOND GRADERS ABOUT JANE GOODALL
Here are the big ideas second graders need to know about Jane Goodall:
- She went into the forest to observe chimpanzees in Tanzania when she was 26. She was one of the first people to observe chimpanzees in the wild. It took years for the chimpanzees to trust her.
- She was the first scientist to report that chimpanzees use tools.
- She saw that chimpanzees were very similar to humans.
- She teaches people about protecting the environment.
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN READING AND WRITING
Reading and writing are two ways we work to understand information. To ensure that your students understand and remember what they learn about Jane Goodall, you will have them read and write about her. There are many writing structures you can use in your classroom. I have created an “adding details” system to help students write more interesting sentences.
Here is how it works:
- There are three to four videos on the subject. Students do not need to watch all of the videos. I like to show my favorite video to the entire class and then share the presentation with students so that they can choose which other videos they want to watch. Watching the videos aims to build up the students’ background knowledge on a subject. They get familiar with the relevant vocabulary and start making connections. This helps them understand what they read.
- Students read the paragraph on the subject. They may have to read it a couple of times to understand it.
- Students complete the details chart (who, what, where, when, why, and how) to organize their learning from the reading passage. There will be multiple ways to complete the chart correctly.
- Students use the charts to write three questions about the subject (and the answers) on the back of the reading passage. Later, you can turn one of the questions into a writing prompt for the students.
JANE GOODALL PRESENTATION AND READING PASSAGE
Click on the picture below to access the Jane Goodall presentation.
MORE BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE
Background knowledge is so important for helping our students and children be successful. Reading books is a great way to build background knowledge. Watching videos can build background knowledge too! I have lots of blog posts that build background knowledge! Check out some below!