Here is a sample of a combined Checklist plus Story page that can be shared with youngsters who are learning about the complex vitality of healthy, living soil.
The first section reinforces students’ awareness of the English names of some of the creatures that they’ve discovered. perhaps during an enjoyable ‘field trip’ focused on digging with trowels in different kinds of soil. It can also be used to augment the learning accomplished during time spent gently poking around big potted plants or terrariums in the classroom. (The former was a popular activity for my 1st and 2nd graders in years past, particularly in November when geraniums were carried into the art room to escape winter weather, accompanied by a rollicking cohort of isopods and millipedes.) This worksheet can also be handed out following a half-hour spent transplanting newly-rooted cuttings or bulbs into the school garden. Formal written activities like this can add a verbal overlay of knowledge to what was, hopefully, an interesting time spent interacting with the earth’s crust and its denizens. The words on the activity sheet can aid students’ memories, and offer teachers insight into what the students are actually learning and able to express.
Notice that the second section challenges students’ imagination and their capacity for empathy. They’re invited to speculate about how a particular soil creature (of their choice) might experience their world. They’re asked to weave ideas (ideally enriched from recent direct contacts with the soil biome) into an engaging story, crafted with written words and pictures, that they can share later with others. This procedure aligns well with insights about integrative cognitive processing described very eloquently by Dr. Antonio Damasio in his recent book The Strange Order of Things.
Here’s the PDF: Little World – The Living Soil