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Abstract

In the lesson on which this practical article is based, third grade students constructed a “lift-the-flap” page to explore food webs on the prairie. The moveable papercraft focused student attention on prairie animals’ external structures and how the inferred functions of those structures could support further inferences about the animals’ diets. In general, most students made simple causal connections between an animal’s observable characteristics and the food it would probably eat. Some students were also able to make multi-agent connections to develop a more complex mental model of a food web. Ultimately, the lift-the flap project was engaging to students and motivated them to focus their attention on the characteristics of animals of different ecosystems to infer their probable diets.

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