Cloud in the Classroom
Lesson

OVERVIEW

In this lesson students will view the NATURE program Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies. They will conduct a survey, learn about the history and treatment of wild horses in the United States, create a mock news broadcast, research wildlife photography, learn about horse behavior, engage in reading and writing activities, conduct Internet research, and create an artistic response to the film.

Subject: Language Arts, Science
Grade Level: 6-8

ORGANIZERS FOR STUDENTS

Click to download PDF documents:

Activity One | Activity Two | Activity Three | Activity Four

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Students will do the following:

  • be able to express their understanding of the varied elements surrounding the care and treatment of wild horses in the United States
  • create a summary articulating their views on a topic based on varied information resources
  • learn how media can function as a tool to examine societal issues
  • be able to critically analyze and interpret varied sources of information
  • create an artistic response to film
  • be able to understand varied elements of animal behavior

To assess students’ understanding of the above learning objectives, teachers may rate students on the quality of their written summarizations, their presentations, and their participation in group discussions.

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STANDARDS

Language Arts

Gathers and uses information for research purposes
http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Standard.asp?SubjectID=7

  • Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media
  • Understands a variety of messages conveyed by visual media (e.g., main concept, details, themes or lessons, viewpoints)
  • Uses a variety of criteria to evaluate and form viewpoints of visual media (e.g., evaluates the effectiveness of informational media, such as Web sites, documentaries, news programs; recognizes a range of viewpoints and arguments; establishes criteria for selecting or avoiding specific programs)

Contributes to the overall effort of a group
http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Benchmark.asp?SubjectID=22&StandardID;=1

Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts (e.g., textbooks, biographical sketches, letters, diaries, directions, procedures, magazines, essays, primary source historical documents, editorials, news stories, periodicals, catalogs, job-related materials, schedules, speeches, memoranda, public documents, maps)
http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Benchmark.asp?SubjectID=7&StandardID;=7

  • Uses new information to adjust and extend personal knowledge base

Science

Understands relationships among organisms and their physical environment
http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Benchmark.asp?SubjectID=2&StandardID;=6

Civics

Understands ideas about civic life, politics, and government
http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/Standard.asp?SubjectID=14

BACKGROUND ACTIVITIES

Activity One

The purpose of these activities is to encourage students to explore the relationship between animals and humans.

1. Have the students conduct a survey by asking five people of varied ages the following questions:

  • Why do you think animals are important to people?
  • Can you describe your relationship with animals?

2. Collect and discuss the students’ survey responses.

3. Create a class chart that categorizes the class results. Post the chart to be used as a reference throughout the lesson activities.

Activity Two

The purpose of these activities is to give students an opportunity to respond to a poem that describes the relationship between a human being and a horse.

1. Share the following poem with the class at http://www.returntofreedom.org/PAGES/poetry.html.

2. Ask the students to respond to the poem in writing journals. Allow the students about five minutes to collect their thoughts.

3. Divide the class into pairs and ask the students to discuss their responses. Ask for student volunteers to share their thoughts with the class.

Activity Three

The purpose of these activities is to provide students with background knowledge on wild horses.

1. Ask the students to brainstorm ideas on what they know about wild horses. Record students’ responses on a board.

2. As a class, visit the following Web sites that contain information on wild horses:

Photo Gallery:
http://www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov/photo_gallery/
http://www.kbrhorse.net/whb/mustang.html

Facts on Horses:
http://www.savewildhorses.org/kidspage.htm

STEPS

Activity One

The purpose of this activity is to research the treatment of wild horses in the United States.

1. Divide the class into small groups to conduct research on wild horses. Tell the class that they are going to stage a mock news broadcast that will focus on the care of wild horses in the United States. They will be asked to form an opinion after researching diverse views regarding the management of wild horses in the United States. Some excellent Web sites to begin researching include the following:

History of federal intervention with wild horses
http://www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov/america.htm

Management issues
http://www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov/rangeland.htm
http://www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov/faqs.htm

Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971
http://www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov/

KBR’s World of Wild Horse
http://www.kbrhorse.net/whb/blmhrs04.html#1

Black Beauty Ranch
http://www.fund.org/ranch/

Save Wild Horses
http://www.savewildhorses.org/unequal.htm
http://www.savewildhorses.org/horses.htm

Animal Protection
http://www.api4animals.org/doc.asp?ID=89

International League for the Protection of Horses
http://www.ilph.org

Return to Freedom
http://www.returntofreedom.org

Institute of Range and the American Mustang
http://www.gwtc.net/%7Eiram/

2. Ask each small group to prepare a statement that summarizes its opinions based on research and discussion.

3. As a class, decide on the format of the news broadcast. The only requirement is that each group of students should have the opportunity to present their opinions. This might be done as a series of interviews based on each small group’s research, as a debate, as a story, or in any other appropriate format that the class decides upon.

4. Stage the mock news broadcast. Invite other classes to the performance, and, if possible, videotape it.

5. After the presentation, allow time for discussion and questions.

6. Ask the students to respond to the following questions:

  • Did you change your opinions after listening to the varied viewpoints?
  • If so, what was the most compelling argument that made you change your views?

Activity Two

The purpose of this activity is to explore Ginger Kathrens’ experiences with wildlife photography and filmmaking.

1. Choose a student to read the following selections from the film aloud to the class:

  • The violent clash of wild stallions … battling to win mares.
  • Into this vibrant, perilous world a fragile colt was born.
  • Though frail at first … he soon revealed his strong, funny, precocious personality.
  • He grew up in a Montana wilderness of danger and excitement.
  • I watched him develop into a feisty adolescent … and agonized with him when his freedom was threatened.
  • In his rugged citadel, I searched for him through the seasons of his life.
  • I rooted for him like a proud parent as he fought to start his own family.
  • Unique, daring, and resilient … he is a wild horse of dreams, a legend in the making.
  • I came into their world with a camera and intense curiosity. How do they live and survive? Will they let me get near them? Little by little they start to ignore me. That’s more than I could have ever hoped for. I can’t help coming back again and again to learn more about them.

2. Divide the class into small groups for discussions based on the following questions:

  • What do you think of the filmmaker’s mission?
  • What do you think of the career of wildlife photography? What do you think the challenges and rewards of this career might be?
  • Why do you think she chose to do this film?
  • How would you describe her relationship with Cloud and the other horses?
  • How did the horses remind you of humans?
  • Could you see yourself as a wildlife photographer? Why or why not?
  • What do you think she really learned from making this documentary?
  • What did you learn from watching this?

3. Ask each group to create a response that reflects the key points of their discussion. This might consist of a poster, a summary, a poem, or a drawing.

4. Each group should share its work with the entire class.

Activity Three

The purpose of this activity is for students to learn about animal behavior.

1. As a class, visit the following Web site that describes horse behavior at http://www.horse-behavior.com.

2. Divide the class into small groups to research different aspects of horse behavior. Tell the students that they are going to create a presentation suitable for teaching an elementary school class about the behavior of horses. They should create teaching tools, such as posters, drawings, games, etc., to enhance their presentations. Some good topics to research include the following:

  • Instinct
  • Communication
  • Care of the Young
  • Age
  • How did the horses remind you of humans?
  • Could you see yourself as a wildlife photographer? Why or why not?
  • What do you think she really learned from making this documentary?
  • What did you learn from watching this?

3. Have the students conduct a class to teach the younger students what they have learned.

4. Provide an opportunity for the younger students to respond to the presentation.

5. After the presentation, ask the students to critique their effectiveness and discuss what they did well and what they might have done differently.

Activity Four

The purpose of this activity is to provide students with opportunities to respond to the story of Cloud in different ways.

1. Divide the class into pairs. Tell the students to choose one of the following options.

  • Create a story map based on Cloud’s life.
  • Pretend that you are Ginger Kathrens’ assistant. Write a journal entry that describes your experiences.
  • Tell the story of Cloud through a drawing or a painting.
  • Create a music video based on Cloud’s life.

2. Present the students’ work to the entire class.

Extension Activities

1. Ask the students to choose three books about horses to read. Have the students share what they have learned with other students by creating an annotated bibliography or posting comments on a Web site. A great resource to use may be found at http://www.lfpl.org/kidspages/booklists/picturing_horses.htm.

2. Create a class mural depicting the history of horses. Use the following Web sites as an information source to begin researching:

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