Predator Showdown

Yes, of course we know that predators have few reasons to fight each other. They are too busy hunting for prey to ensure their survival. But if they did battle each other . . . Well, wouldn’t we all just love to know what would happen? Lucky for us, Scholastic has published this very cool book about exactly that: Predator Showdown (30 Unbelievably Awesome Predator vs. Predator Face-offs!)

We are currently exploring this book with our Reading Group. It allows us to interact with non-fiction text features such as bar graphs to compare stats about speed, strength, defence, brains, etc or charts that tell us about predator style, range and sample prey. Students are asked to decide between two predators – First Instinct: Who would win? Justify. Some students are very familiar with the predators and find this easy, others are guessing just by looking at the pictures. Either way, it’s okay. There will be an opportunity to read more and make a more informed decision.

Today Catriona was thinking about a battle between a lion and a spotted hyena. Her first instinct? Who would win? She wrote:  “A hyena because male lions are lazy. Female lions do all of the work. And this is a picture of a male lion.”  She shared this thinking with me and then went on to explain, “I happen to know this. I’m taking my background knowledge and putting it into the paper.” (How much do I love when students are able to articulate exactly what they are thinking like this?)

We have been looking at three Predator Showdowns in more detail.

  • The Lion vs. Spotted Hyena
  • The Raccoon vs. North American River Otter
  • Tasmanian Devil vs. Dingo

After students have a chance to read the information page, they answer specific questions. Some questions have answers easily found on the page like: Look at the Stats section. Where is the raccoon superior? Other questions ask the students to include their own thinking. Can you think of a real life situation where these two animals might actually battle each other? Explain why you think this might happen?

We are also asking students to read a section and identify what was important to them about what they just read. For example, What is something you found particularly interesting about otters? Student answers varied. Some were intrigued that otters can stay underwater for up to 8 minutes. Others thought it was interesting that otters could dive up to 60 feet in search of prey.

After reading, students are asked to again think about who would win in a showdown. Many students changed their initial answers and provided lots of evidence from the text to support their thinking.

An inside page from Predator Showdown

Such a great book to engage children in learning and discussions. Answering questions allowed the students to build their confidence about forming an opinion based on evidence. Everyone wants to read this book when I put it out on the new non-fiction shelf! It will be a battle – a Student vs Student Showdown. Who will win and get to read it first?

1 thought on “Predator Showdown

  1. Hey Ms. Gelson,
    Is it ok if I link your blog and my blog? I would like to share your blog with some NV teachers this week. I am doing a workshop about blogging and technology with teachers and wanted to highlight how blogging helps us reflect, pay attention to our practice and live a writerly life… a life that is fascinated and engaged. Gowa

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