Animal Groups-Benefits and Disadvantages

Jennifer Valentine
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan
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.



In this lesson students: 1) share what they think they know about why animals live in groups, 2) watch a Powerpoint to stimulate their thinking and engage their interest, 3) review what they’ve already studied about animal groups, 4) are introduced to claims, evidence and reasoning (with examples), 5) share their ideas about why animals live in groups (sometimes acting out their ideas), 6) read short passages about animal groups, and 7) participate in a science talk to share their claims based on the evidence they have gathered about how groups benefit some animals.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Grade 3
Access Restrictions

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

Performance Expectations

3-LS2-1 Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students gather information on animal groups; are introduced to claims, evidence and reasoning; and construct explanations, then share their claims with others in a science talk. The teacher may need to model/guide instruction before students begin to make their own claims.The reading passages provided (from Wikipedia) may be too difficult for some students. The teacher can provide books and videos in order to ensure that the information is accessible for all learners. Some suggestions might be: Animals That Live in Groups by Kelsi Turner Tjernagel, Do Animals Work Together? by Faith Hickman Brynie, Insects That Work Together and various videos available online (Bubble Net Fishing, Coming Ashore, Dolphins Trick Fish with Mud “Nets,” Battle at Kruger, What’s Inside the Termite Mound, and Musk Ox Save Calf from Wolves).

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
After sharing their explanations in a science talk, students could be asked to individually write their own explanations (after the teacher explains and models this process). This could be used for assessment purposes.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students can research other animal groups and make claims on how the groups help the animals survive. They can work together to create a chart/charts showing examples of how groups help animals in different ways (to obtain food, for defense, to meet other needs such as warmth, etc.).

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The teacher can introduce or review the concept of systems and show examples of how animal groups (such as humans) act like a system with individual parts performing individual functions.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This resource provides students with relevant phenomena that can be used to construct arguments about how animal groups help animals survive. The practice of constructing explanations is specially addressed and introduced to students. However, the crosscutting concept of systems is not explicitly mentioned.

  • Instructional Supports: The lesson provides students with relevant phenomena. However, the reading passages may be too difficult for some learners. In addition, no differentiation supports are provided. Strategies for helping students with constructing explanations could include creating word walls, using sentence frames and constructing explanations together as a class. As an extension, students could brainstorm and then describe possible disadvantages of working in groups.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The lesson attempts to assess student ideas about animal groups at the beginning of the lesson using the Powerpoint. Students could also be asked to generate their own questions (instead of just responding to the questions provided in the Powerpoint). In addition, nothing is included to assess their understanding about animal groups or their mastery of constructing explanations during the rest of the lesson. Students could be asked to provide evidence to support the claim that some animals work together in groups in order to help them survive (either in writing or orally).

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -