Cactus Hotel

Contributor
Brenda Z. Guiberson
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Informative Text
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

The book Cactus Hotel, written by Brenda Z. Guiberson and illustrated by Megan Lloyd, presents the 200 year life cycle of a saguaro cactus and its relationship to the animals in its desert habitat. The cactus' interdependence with other plants and animals at different stages of its growth is shown, providing an opportunity for students to consider similarities and differences between the life cycles of each.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 2
  • Grade 1
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Available for purchase - The right to view, keep, and/or download material upon payment of a one-time fee.

Performance Expectations

3-LS1-1 Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.

Clarification Statement: Changes organisms go through during their life form a pattern.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment of plant life cycles is limited to those of flowering plants. Assessment does not include details of human reproduction.

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Book for Children depicts the life cycle of the saguaro cactus in detail, from seed through death and decomposition. The role other organisms play in its survival is highlighted explicitly in the text. During and after reading students can be guided to think about the relationship between plant and animal life cycles. Students might also work together to develop models of other examples of interdependence between organisms.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Through reading and discussion based on this text, students will be able to make sense of the interrelationship between plants and animals in a desert habitat through their various life cycles. If the teacher guides students through additional research from electronic and other print resources, students can begin to develop a fuller understanding of the similarities and differences among the life cycles of other plants and animals in other habitats.

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Prior to or after an initial reading, students could be asked to choose whether they think plants do or do not have life cycles similar to animals. After reading the text, they could reread, looking to find evidence to support their claims. This could be followed by additional research in books or online about the life cycles of animals portrayed in the book to find more detailed evidence in support of their claims than is available from the text. Providing them with a Claim-Evidence-Reasoning sheet or structure for their notebooks could give them a framework for presenting their claims to a group or to the whole class. Students could be given a chance to question each other and to defend or revise their claims.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This resource highlights the seed dispersal process for the cactus and mentions birds laying eggs in nests excavated in the cactus, but the reproductive aspect of the core idea will need to be made more explicit through additional research or discussion. Comparing various plant and animal life cycles using a Venn diagram or other graphic organizer could help students to see the similarities and differences between them.

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 author provides detailed information about the life span of the cactus. Third grade students might have a hard time conceptualizing its 200 year time span, so the teacher should provide examples of commonly understood time frames relevant to plants and animals with which they are familiar. They may know a large tree that seems permanent, but over many decades it experiences changes like the cactus in the book. Students may also be fascinated to learn about other types of trees, such as giant sequoias or bristlecone pines, that have been alive for thousands of years. They may also be introduced to the idea that an ecosystem as a whole may be more stable over a longer period of time than the individual organisms within it.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: - none -

  • Instructional Supports: - none -

  • Monitoring Student Progress: - none -

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -