Project Based Learning: Endangered Animals – Tigers

Last summer I was wracking my brains to try to find a project that would hold A8’s attention for longer than about five minutes.  As she really does enjoy anything linked to nature I decided to go with an animal project.  I wanted it to be a meaningful project so that she could feel that her work was helping something or someone other than herself – I thought this might be motivating for her.  I began to research endangered animals, and the more I found out, the more ideas flew through my head.  This was just what I was after – a project on endangered animals!  It was perfect.  A8 could learn about one animal per term and as it could last for as long as her interest did.  So last September we began what would be an incredibly successful foray into the world of majestic and near extinction animals that we might have otherwise took for granted.  A8 got on-board immediately and her interest hasn’t waned at all.

I first had her watch this video about animals which will never been seen again on this earth:

This video had the effect desired.  She was very upset (which I realise sounds terrible for me to say I desired it, but once she was emotionally invested in the project it would pretty much work itself) and raring to find out more about things she could do to help.  This was going to be a great project for her!

We have just finished all things Tiger and will shortly be moving onto all things Giant Panda so I thought I would share some of the stuff we have been doing over the past few months….

Adopted a Tiger

We adopted a tiger with the World Wildlife Fund for £36.  A lovely pack was sent to us with a cute cuddly toy.  We wrapped this up and gave it to A for her 8th birthday.  Although her birthday was an 80 Days Around the World themed birthday, the present giving was ALL about the Tigers:

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As you can see, she received Tiger themed cards, an animal rug, some Schiech Tigers, her adoption pack, a polymer clay tiger key ring made by Lillie and some tiger books and videos.

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Handily, her birthday falls right at the beginning of the autumn term so we were all set for some fun learning adventures.

Kamrita, her adopted tiger, died sometime after we adopted her so we received a whole new pack of information about the new adopted tigers.

So many excellent activities stemmed from this adoption…..

  • Reading and discussing all the material they sent us:

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  • An endangered animal scrap-book

We stuck all of the adoption bits and pieces into the scrap-book.  A8 looked up firstly where Kamrita lived (India) and then where her new adoptive tigers lived (Indonesia).  We marked them on a map which she stuck in her scrap-book along with any other information about tigers which appealed:

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Each time we received an update or magazine throughout the year we completed all the suggested activities and then stuck it into the scrap-book:

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  • Tiger crafts

As well as colouring in activities there was a suggested model making exercise which looked a lot of fun.

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It required only simple supplies and the girls both thoroughly enjoyed making their toilet roll tigers!

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  • A Tiger Poster

In the first magazine we received there was a competition to create a poster increasing the awareness of the tiger’s plight.

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A and I chatted a bit about ideas for this and decided to attempt a collage created exclusively out of tiger photos copied off the internet and cut up:

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We were so incredibly pleased with the result.  One of my readers asked for a close up, so May, this is for you 🙂

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Literally each eye is the eye of an actual (and different) tiger, each ear is the ear of a real tiger, each strip, each toe ….well, you get the idea:

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A8 wrote a little bit about how and why we created such a collage and we stuck that on the back of the collage and sent it off as an entry to the competition:

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Who knows if we will win (I do hope so because the prize is some very very cute crocheted tigers), but it was a huge amount of fun to create and it was lovely working with my 8-year-old alone.

  • Increasing awareness of Tigers as an endangered species

There was also a place in the ‘Wild Times’ magazine (included with the adoption) where a child can send in photos of things they have done to increase awareness.  I thought it might be quite fun to transfer a photo of the above tiger poster onto a t-shirt.  So to this end, I bought two t-shirts and transferred the picture using an iron on photocopiable transfer paper:

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I made the original photo a bit brighter using Ribbet.  I thought it might make the image more striking once it was transferred:

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I photocopied this image onto some transfer paper and ironed it carefully onto the t-shirts:

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We also sent of a photo of the girls in them to the magazine, entering a second competition to win a polar bear which had been signed by none other than David Attenborough .  Because that had worked out so well, I bought some blank canvas bags and transferred the same picture onto them:

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These were perfect as Christmas presents as well as a way to spread the word about tigers.

  • Write a newspaper article

A8 wrote a short newspaper report about her adopted tiger, Kamrita.  She drew the pictures herself to illustrate.  We stuck it into her endangered animals scrap-book:

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National Geographic MISSION:TIGER RESCUE

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We bought the following two books for A on her birthday.  She read the first to herself and the second I read out loud over the term.  We finished it just in time for our end of unit celebration.  As we read the chapters we did research online and stuck into A’s scrap-book related information we found:

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In addition to fueling our efforts to fill the scrap-book, we learnt heaps about tigers, their environment, the animals which live beside them and their most pressing needs to ensure their survival.  We learnt about food webs and the importance in preserving huge areas of their environment in order to ensure they have enough to eat:

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We read interviews with the scientists and conservationists who work so tirelessly to prevent them becoming extinct.  To mark the end of each chapter, there was a double spread which contained lots of suggested activities to try out.  On a small-scale we did the following:

  • Team building 

We formed a tiny team (consisting of me, A8 and B5) and created a team identity to use throughout any campaigning efforts.  Of course the tiger collage was just too good not to use it as our ‘identifying mark’.  As already noted we made up T-shirts for us to wear (see above) but I also designed some business cards, some badges and some stickers for us all to use.  All included the logo of the collaged tiger.

  • Tail building party and Tiger cat-walk fashion show

The girls invited their best friends and spent a few messy but happy hours creating tiger fashions out of paper, card, material and double-sided sticky tape:

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Some tiger themed music (Eye of the Tiger) was chosen to play as the girls roared, crawled and pounced their way down the cat-walk.  A8 used the head of a brush as a microphone to introduce each tiger:

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We finished the party with tiger soup (carrot soup), served with tiger claws (croutons) and some ‘Tiger bread’ (!).  For dessert they ate tiger stripes fruit salad (black grapes and orange satsumas) and an incredible cake decorated by Leah:

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Messy but simple fun 🙂

4 comments

  1. This is so good! I was expecting it to be fabulous because all your projects are, but this is so much more than I had hoped for! Thanks for the lovely close-up picture. I’m still keen to get one of those tshirts, or even better one of the bags! The fashion show is really clever too, some very imaginative inventions there.

    Now I am feeling like I might like to adopt an animal. I used to have a giraffe, but never got to visit him. Maybe it is time to consider looking for a new adoptee!

  2. Catching up on your blog from December and saw this pop up. What an awesome study! If she doesnt win those contests I can’t even imagine what would come in ahead! Great job on everything.

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