As part of the second module of our 4th grade curriculum, the 4th grade crew has been studying animal defense mechanisms. We began our time as researchers and scientists by learning more about various animal defense mechanisms. Then, the crew broke into four “expert” groups to research more about the defense mechanisms used by the ostrich, monarch butterfly, springbok gazelle, and three-banded armadillo. Students researched about their animal’s habitat, physical appearance, predators, and, of course, their defense mechanisms. They then wrote an informative piece that included all their research and explained how their animal uses its defense mechanism.
After we had done our research and become experts on our animal, it became time to work on our final product -- “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” narratives featuring our expert group animals as the main character! Not only did we need to transition from informative writing to narrative writing, but we also needed to learn more about the “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” format. This was a new format to us, and is very unusual -- we would have to write in the second person point of view and come up with multiple choices or “paths” for our animals to take throughout the narrative.
In order to become experts of the “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” format, we traveled to 826 Michigan’s Robot Factory in order to learn more! When we arrived, Jose showed us around the Robot Factory and demonstrated their “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” generator, which allowed us to read an example “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” narrative written by other students! Jose led us in a discussion of our animals, and as a group we wrote an exciting introduction that included all four of our animals. After our crew came up with two exciting choices for our animals, we split into two different groups and wrote with next pages with the help of the Robot Factory experts. Then, we split again and continued to add more twists and turns to our animal narrative. The crew was excited to share all their expert knowledge with our hosts at the Robot Factory, and our hosts were very impressed with the crew’s knowledge -- our hosts never knew that ostriches make a “booming call” sound to scare away predators! Finally, each student showed off their creativity and wrote their own individual ending to our narrative.
At the end of the trip, each member of our crew got their own copy of the “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” narrative we had written -- with all of our different choices and endings! We know that these narratives are going to be an excellent guide for us as we continue our own “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” narratives in class!