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  • 3rd Grade

    Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago. 3-LS4-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing. 3-LS4-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all. 3-LS4-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  4. Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change. 3-LS4-4

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

Science and Engineering Practices

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing data in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to introducing quantitative approaches to collecting data and conducting multiple trials of qualitative observations. When possible and feasible, digital tools should be used.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to the use of evidence in constructing explanations that specify variables that describe and predict phenomena and in designing multiple solutions to design problems.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Engaging in argument from evidence in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to critiquing the scientific explanations or solutions proposed by peers by citing relevant evidence about the natural and designed world(s).

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections

ELA/Literacy

  • RI.3.1 - Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. (3-LS4-1), (3-LS4-2), (3-LS4-3), (3-LS4-4)
  • RI.3.2 - Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea. (3-LS4-1), (3-LS4-2), (3-LS4-3), (3-LS4-4)
  • RI.3.3 - Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect. (3-LS4-1), (3-LS4-2), (3-LS4-3), (3-LS4-4)
  • SL.3.4 - Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace. (3-LS4-2), (3-LS4-3), (3-LS4-4)
  • W.3.1 - Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons. (3-LS4-1), (3-LS4-3), (3-LS4-4)
  • W.3.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. (3-LS4-1), (3-LS4-2), (3-LS4-3), (3-LS4-4)
  • W.3.8 - Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories. (3-LS4-1)

Mathematics

  • 3.MD.B.3 - Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step "how many more" and "how many less" problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. (3-LS4-2), (3-LS4-3)
  • 3.MD.B.4 - Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units— whole numbers, halves, or quarters. (3-LS4-1)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (3-LS4-1), (3-LS4-2), (3-LS4-3), (3-LS4-4)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (3-LS4-1), (3-LS4-2), (3-LS4-3), (3-LS4-4)
  • MP.5 - Use appropriate tools strategically. (3-LS4-1)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • A ninety second video of a chameleon changing from a dark blue-green to a bright orange-yellow color. This resource evaluation suggests how teachers might use the phenomena of color changing chameleons to introduce the concept of ...

  • Students will learn about frog, toad, and chameleon tongues, construct a sticky tongue, use the sticky tongue model to catch prey, and then analyze the data from the activity to see how the sticky tongue helped the frog to catch food in dif ...

  • In this investigation based on real-life fossils found in Texas, students examine an image of multiple dinosaur fossil tracks. The students look at three panels, revealed one at a time, to try to construct an explanation for the events ...

  • This March, 2017 Science and Children article gives suggestions for using the book Beneath the Sun to create a 5E lesson where students research a particular habitat in order to identify (1) an animal that lives in the habitat and (2) ...

  • This article includes background knowledge and instructional strategies pertaining to the use of the "Habitat Change" probe from the "Uncovering Student Ideas in Science" series.  Students are asked to share their t ...

  • Students use a model illustrating the effects of camouflage on animal visibility in an environment, then create their own moth to blend within the classroom environment. Students complete an activitiy where they try to locate moths camoufla ...

  • Students are introduced to the concept of interdependence in an ecosystem and its effect on the evolution of populations through a family of rabbits that include five offspring: one small rabbit, three medium sized rabbits, and one large ra ...

  • Students examine pictures of marine and dry land organisms in a teacher-made 'fossil pit' before making claims about what type of environment the organisms  in the fossil pit lived in. The fossil pit is arranged like a coordinate graph w ...

  • The book, Beaks! by Sneed B. Collard III is a beautifully illustrated guide to birds with different beaks adapted to gather food in their habitats by pecking, tearing, spearing, crushing, scooping, and more. The watercolor and cut paper collages ...

  • In this 5E inquiry lesson, students discover how the beaks of different birds are shaped to get food that is available in their environment in order to survive. Following a formative assessment, students share ideas about bird beaks and how they help ...

  • In this 14-minute video, Junior Naturalist Patrice and Naturalist Dave Erier talk about and give examples of animal adaptations. Following an overview of structural and behavioral adaptations, they feature the adaptations of the opossum, beaver, ...

  • This unit includes five lessons that build student understanding on why certain organisms survive better than others in a specific habitat. The lessons include: 1) Lesson 1-Biomes (students learn what biomes are by gathering information and crea ...

  • This nonfiction text describes the features and plants and animals of North American estuaries. It provides detailed information on how plants and animals adapt and survive there.

  • This nonfiction text describes the organisms and features of the ocean environment. It provides detailed information on how plants and animals adapt and survive there.

  • This nonfiction text describes the climate, soil, plants and animals of the North American boreal forests. It provides detailed information on how plants and animals adapt and survive there.

  • This nonfiction text describes the climate, soil, plants and animals of the North American tundra. It provides detailed information on how plants and animals adapt and survive there.

  • This nonfiction text describes the climate, soil, plants and animals of the North American prairies. It provides detailed information on how plants and animals adapt and survive there.

  • This nonfiction text describes the climate, soil, plants and animals of the North American rain forests. It provides detailed information on how plants and animals adapt and survive there.

  • This nonfiction text describes the climate, soil, plants and animals of the North American deciduous forests. It provides detailed information on how plants and animals adapt and survive there.

  • This nonfiction text describes the climate, soil, plants and animals of the North American deserts. It provides detailed information on how plants and animals adapt and survive there.

  • This picture book documents the history of the Galapagos Islands, from its volcanic beginnings six million years ago. It shows how the environment of the islands changed over time, resulting in changes in the types of plants and animals that live the ...

  • Students use the Kratts' Creatures "Creaturepedia" to gather information about the adaptations of animals from different environments. Students are then prompted with a series of questions around how an animal's relocation ...

  • Activity III: Adaptation focuses on the concept that organisms are adapted to specific environments. Students choose an organism and create a picture story of how that organism is adapted to its environment. Then, they create another picture story of ...

  • This lesson focuses on what we have learned and what we can learn from fossils about the organisms and the environments in which they lived. Initially, students investigate the story of Sue, the famous T. Rex on display at the Field Museum in Chicag ...

  • In this lesson, students explore what happens to organisms when they cannot meet their needs due to changes in the environment. They categorize scenario cards representing different changes to an environment, then discuss in a whole group. Using what ...

  • Do you have a great resource to share with the community? Click here.
  • This YouTube channel is a great (free) channel to show your students when learning about a new science topic in a simple way.

Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.