Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Life of Mammals hosted by David Attenborough

Who doesn’t enjoy watching real, vivid, and up-close footage of animals in the wild? David Attenborough, veteran wild-life expert, hosts and narrates each segment on this DVD collection of four discs, roughly 500 total minutes of mammals. Each disc is further broken down into chapters of mammal-types, making it ideal for showing short bits to a class at a time. By far, most popular with students I have watched it with is the Meat Eaters chapter, where lions and tigers and other big beasts hunt their prey with breakneck speed and ferocity, but students are also riveted to the screen while watching the less obvious chapters on Chisellers (squirrels, marmots, beavers, etc.), Opportunists (hyenas, prairie doges, etc.), Return to the Water (whales, dolphins, seals, etc.) and the others. Like teens everywhere, presumably, our students are fascinated by animals, especially wild ones roaming in places where they have never been. This collection is a perfect tool for beginning research and inquiry projects because students naturally ask many questions while watching it. These questions, which are authentic and organic, make their research all the more valuable. ELA teachers may also use this collection for writing prompts, both creative and non-fiction.

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