Superintendent's Memo #310-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

December 17, 2010

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Second-Grade Model Cross-curricular Unit: Virginia Animals & their Habitats

The Virginia Department of Education is pleased to announce the completion of the second-grade model cross-curricular unit, Virginia Animals and their Habitats for use by classroom teachers, schools, and divisions. Virginia Animals and their Habitats was created and written by a group of six Virginia second-grade teachers in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education's Office of Standards, Curriculum, and Instruction, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Wildlife Education Office. The unit was piloted by 36 Virginia second-grade teachers.

Virginia Animals and their Habitats is a model unit that demonstrates how cross-curricular teaching can be used to successfully teach across the four core areas of the curriculum using a theme-based approach. Virginia Animals and their Habitats is aligned to the following grade two versions of the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL): 2010 Science SOL, 2010 English SOL, 2009 Mathematics SOL, and 2008 History and Social Science SOL. Through integration of the four core content areas of the curriculum, students develop an understanding of Virginia's animals and their habitats by exploring animal classifications, habitats, life cycles, food chains, and adaptations. Students conduct research, make observations, collect and analyze data, and communicate their findings through visual, written, and oral presentation formats. Lessons and activities from Project WILD, a national wildlife education program that is a key component of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' K-12 educational effort, are woven throughout the unit.

Virginia Animals and their Habitats is available on the Virginia Department of Education Web site. Due to its size, the unit has been designed to be downloaded in its entirety or by the individual component topics.

If you have questions about the Virginia Animals and their Habitats unit or need additional information, please contact Barbara Young, science specialist, Office of Standards, Curriculum, and Instruction, by e-mail at Barbara.Young@doe.virginia.gov or telephone at (804) 225-2676.

PIW/BPY/as