Interactions - How do interactions happen with living things?

Contributor
Georgetown College Katie Gissing, Tiffany Wagner, Jamie Bond, Ashley Norris, and James Morris
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Unit
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This cross curricular unit engages young students in the study of animals, plants, and their environment through the use of modeling, constructing arguments with evidence, and using observations to describe the ways animals interact with their environments to meet their needs for survival. Students also investigate ways plants and animals can change their environment. The unit culminates in a self-selected project through which students show their understanding.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Kindergarten
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

K-ESS3-1 Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live.

Clarification Statement: Examples of relationships could include that deer eat buds and leaves, therefore, they usually live in forested areas; and, grasses need sunlight so they often grow in meadows. Plants, animals, and their surroundings make up a system.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
There are several opportunities to meet this expectation throughout the unit through student representations that include drawings and dramatizations.

K-ESS2-2 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs.

Clarification Statement: Examples of plants and animals changing their environment could include a squirrel digs in the ground to hide its food and tree roots can break concrete.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Lesson five in this unit meets this Performance Expectation. Students learn that plants can affect erosion in some areas and can overtake other plants in other areas. They are then asked to draw and share before and after pictures showing how plants can change an environment. This is an introductory lesson for this Performance Expectation. Teachers can strengthen this expectation by providing additional examples through video, pictures, or books. Lesson six strongly reinforces this expectation with regard to animals by providing multiple examples of animals changing their environment. Students are then asked to describe what changes animals make based on the evidence they identify through pictures.

K-LS1-1 Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.

Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include that animals need to take in food but plants do not; the different kinds of food needed by different types of animals; the requirement of plants to have light; and, that all living things need water.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Lesson one encourages students to observe plants over time in various conditions while they make predictions and record data about the its growth and development. Students use their data as evidence to describe what happened to the plants and engage in discussions about what they need to survive. In lesson two, students discuss pictures of animals and predict what they might eat then watch videos of animals eating and discuss their predictions and their findings. Students discus and compare any pets they have, and how their needs are met, to those in the pictures and videos.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Teachers can describe what modeling is and how students are engaging in it through their activities in order to strengthen this Practice and introduce them to the scientific use of the terms (model and modeling).

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Follow the unit as directed. Encourage and take time for student discussion that includes the use of the KLEW chart included in the lessons. (What do we think we KNOW? What are we LEARNING? What is the EVIDENCE? What are we WONDERING?)

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
In Lesson 1, students consider the question, what do plants need to live and grow? They observe living plants in four different mock environments and record growth data for the plants over a period of time. Students discuss their findings and compare the growth patterns of the plants in their experimental conditions and plants in a variety of natural environments.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This unit thoroughly covers the needs of plants and animals in relationship to where they live, however, it does not cover the topic of human dependence on natural resources.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Provide examples of plants changing their environment in addition to those in the lesson in order to strengthen this Core Idea.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The unit is a series of lessons that include experiments with live plants, readings about plants and animals, and observations of plants and animals to help students understand this Core Idea.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Encourage students to identify and discuss patterns they see in their observations of plants and animals interacting with their environment. The teacher must explicitly guide students into making connections between cause and effect. For example, teachers can help students track the amount of water or light, and plant growth patterns in order to identify a pattern based on data. Young students may not immediately see this cause and effect relationship without guidance.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students are able to observe and identify patterns in the way both plants and animals obtain what they need to survive from the environment in which they live. The lessons include guiding questions for teachers to help students observe and identify these patterns.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This unit engages young students in developmentally appropriate activities that reinforce the standard of Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, include scientific practices, develop Core Ideas, and include Crosscutting Concepts. It could be rated superior with teacher support through the suggested tips in the Disciplinary Core Ideas, Practices and Crosscutting concepts mentioned in this review.

  • Instructional Supports: In addition to sufficient background knowledge for teachers, this unit is designed with instructional strategies for English Language Learners and suggested modifications to accommodate students' various developmental needs.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Each lesson in this unit includes an appropriately aligned assessment with grading rubrics.The end of unit assessment allows students to choose a project in order to show their learning and it includes an appropriate rubric for grading. Teachers can use each of the lesson assessments as a formative assessment to inform and adjust their teaching before the final projects in order to guide students' decisions. Teachers should adjust assessments according to the learning objectives in each lesson and may need to provide sufficient background knowledge through other resources when necessary.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The unit includes links to several sites for videos and pictures, however students do not interact with the technology. They are simply viewing and discussion what they see. They do access a music activity where they can sing along and a few interactive sites, but these are only supplemental to the lessons.