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Science - 4th Grade
Standard 5 Objective 2
Students will understand environments and how organisms adapt to their environment.
Each of the environments studied in this objective has many interactions between living and non-living things. The animals, plants, rocks, and soil of an area form a community that depends on physical features to provide many different types of shelter and plants as a food source or shelter. They are also vital to most plants because they help pollinate flowers and disperse seeds. At the same time, animals such as deer, rabbits, and insects may eat certain plants, greatly reducing their numbers. Some insects can damage an ecosystem if their numbers get too high. Insect-eating birds play an important role in keeping insect populations in check. When creating a web of life for an environment, the web will show eating and shelter relationships.
1. Use a Science Process and Thinking Skills
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Pre-Assessment/Invitation to Learn
Play a game of 20 questions. Have one student come to the front of the class and mentally choose an animal or plant from a habitat. (They can pick from a list if they need to.) They will then take questions from other students that can only be answered with a "Yes" or "No" answer. The class will try to guess 1) the name of the animal, and 2) the environment in which it lives. The questions they ask will also help the teacher pre-assess the prior knowledge of students about this topic, or do formative evaluation if the lesson is part of a previous study about ecosystems.
You may want to refer to the Food Web for the Oakbrush Environment (pdf) example.
Homework & Family Connections
Have students take a walk in their neighborhood. As they journey, have them write down a list of at least ten living things that they see. Create a web of life on paper like the one in the activity they participated in. For example, perhaps they see a tree. They would then connect the tree to something else they see that relies on the tree for either food or shelter, such as a magpie. If they saw an insect, this could connect to the bird. Have them continue until everything hooks together. Then have them take one of the links out of their web. Will it affect the other items? Have students share their results and discuss findings.
By asking questions as the activity progresses, the teacher can correct or redirect misinformation.
Have students choose an environment, and then describe and draw an interaction between animals and plants in their science journals. State two inferences that they can make after participating in the activity (i.e.: "Plants and animals in a food web are connected" or "When one organism is taken from a food web, it causes other parts to be affected.")
Extension ideas can also work as performance assessment tools. Use the rubric found at UEN.