Shark Tracker: An Interview with a Shark

By: Mary Kienstra on: May 9, 2015  in: audience, research   1 Comment


The OCEARCH website shows dots where the sharks were last pinged. Students enjoy keeping track of their sharks.

When students are excited about their work, the quality is amazing!  These days, my students are following their sharks on the OCEARCH shark tracker.  Since we started this project a few weeks ago, the excitement level in our classroom is outstanding.  Each student “adopted” a shark to track — they talk about their sharks like they know them!  They truly care about their sharks, bringing this unit to life.

They have read articles and websites and used educational resources on the site to learn about their sharks.  The next step is to report on their research.  What’s the best way to do that? An essay?  Boring. Why write paragraphs when you can write a script for an interview with a shark?

I’ve learned from past experience that when students write a script for anything, it  is much more engaging than writing a paragraph.  A script is authentic writing, implying a larger audience.  The quality of writing in a script is always better than that of a paragraph, even though the information is basically the same.

So, when it was time to write a report, I asked my students to write a script for an interview with their shark, reporting their information from the shark’s perspective.  Once again, the quality of their writing is fabulous.  The interviews include the shark’s vital information, how it was named, where it lives (including which body of water and ocean zone),  food chain information, and clever anecdotes about being a shark.  My students have effectively combined their creativity with shark facts, synthesizing the research they have conducted.

After they wrote their scripts and worked with a partner to revise, they practiced reading them until they read fluently.  As they practiced, they revised again and discussed how it sounded.  Once again, the script is the key to quality writing.

Next they will begin creating their video of the shark interview by recording in front of our green screen.  The assigned partnerships decided what props they will need and what digital pictures they will collect for their presentation.  I can’t wait to see the results!

  A comment   Comment

  1. 8 years ago  


    Yeah for You …-and-… for Your Students! Nice going w/a very interesting topic that grabs their attention! I always thought that when students are “interested” in their subject/course …etc that it *shows* in their grades! . . . hmm-(yes?)- . . . and, a “hands-on” lesson is even more fun!
    Congrats to You and Your Students for jobs well done in attempting to “understand” and, (thanks to OCEARCH), “explore” the “unknown” –( which, can be scary at times! )
    —[I didn’t see what grade your students are-(so, excuse me for that!)-but, no matter ~~~ still, “Kudos” to everyone!

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