Shells on their Backs

Information for Teachers

Curriculum links

This investigation is linked to the following Grade 4 Next Generation Science Standards.

LS1.A: Structure and function
Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction (4-LS1-1)

PS4.C: Information technologies and instrumentation
Digitized information can be transmitted over long distances without significant degradation. High-tech devices can receive and decode information (4-PS4-3)

How to search the internet

1 Keep your request short

Fewer words will give a more accurate search.

2 Choose exactly what you want

For example: Arctic Circle Climate

3 Use quotes

Double quotes around a set of words tell the search engine to consider those exact words in that exact order without any change. For example: “Arctic Circle Climate”

4 Use the plus sign (+)

If you add a plus sign (+) between words, the internet will search for all the words. For example: migrate+birds+whales+mammal

5 Use the minus sign (–) to say what you don’t want

Use a minus sign (–) to show words you do not want to appear in your results. For example: if you search for burrowing animals and do not want mammals in your search,  –mammals will exclude mammals. Note that you need to put a space before the minus sign for the word to be excluded.

6 Be very clear about what you don’t want

Part 1
Ask questions and define problems

After reading Shells on their Backs, you may have many questions about reptiles that grow a protective shell.

List your questions

  • Compare your list with questions that others have.
  • Choose a question you would like to investigate.
  • You can work alone, with a partner, or in a small group.

You may want to investigate one or more of these questions

Q1. Why do some reptiles have a protective shell?

Q2. How do they move around with this shell?

Q3. What is the major difference between turtles and tortoises?

Q4. Why are many of these reptiles endangered?

Go to Part 2 Investigate →

Part 2

Helpful websites

You may want to use websites to help with your investigations.

You can choose an animal with a shell on its back and search for the animal+shell.

Go to Part 3 Record data →

Part 3
Record data

Find a way of recording your information that will allow you to see any patterns in the data.

Data Chart for Shells on their Backs
[download and change to suit your information]

Download Chart
Go to Part 4 Organize, analyze, and interpret data →

Part 4
Organize, analyze, and interpret data

1. Look over the information you have gathered and the patterns
you have found.

• How do all these reptiles reproduce?

• Where do they reproduce?

• What happens after their young are hatched?

2. Search for other patterns.

• Why are some species of tortoises and turtles seriously endangered?

• How are scientists using technologies to assist in the conservation of tortoises and turtles?

3. Make notes about what you find.

Go to Part 5 Present and share →

Part 5
Present and share

Look over all the information that you have gathered in your investigation.

What are the most important ideas about turtles and tortoises?

Make a chart showing the most important ideas.

Download Chart
← Return to menu