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Grade 1. In 4 lessons spanning 14 class sessions, Exploring Organisms introduces students to the importance of structure and function in plants and animals and the ties that exist between parents and their offspring. Building Blocks of Science® lessons are structured in 30-minute class sessions, making it easy to fit science into your day. The Exploring Organisms 3-Use Unit Kit includes a Teacher’s Guide and enough supplies and apparatus to teach the unit 3 times to a class of up to 24 students.
Grade 1. In 4 lessons spanning 14 class sessions, Exploring Organisms introduces students to the importance of structure and function in plants and animals and the ties that exist between parents and their offspring. Students actively investigate the difference between living and nonliving things, the needs that all of life depends upon, the structures that organisms have to help them obtain these needs, the parental roles that exist in the animal kingdom, and the similarities and variations that exist between parents and their offspring. Throughout the unit, students tie in the basic concepts of structure and function that help different species survive. Students also begin to observe patterns that exists between parents and their offspring, starting with the forms of communication and types of parental care that exist between many animals. Students then begin to observe the pattern that offspring look similar, but not identical, to their parents, by looking at themselves and their own relatives. By the end of the unit, students understand that variations exist between the parents and offspring of all members of the plant and animal kingdoms. The unit culminates with an engineering activity in which small groups work together to apply what they know about structure and function to design a solution to a real-life problem that exists for human parents in the care of their offspring.
Building Blocks of Science® lessons are structured in 30-minute class sessions, making it easy to fit science into your day. The Exploring Organisms 3-Use Unit Kit includes a Teacher’s Guide (item #515722), teacher and student access to digital materials, and enough supplies and apparatus to teach the unit 3 times to a class of up to 24 students.
Next Generation Science Standards®
The Building Blocks of Science® unit Exploring Organisms integrates process skills as defined by the Next Generation Science Standards®.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Science and Engineering Practices
This unit offers several ways to assess students, including a pre- and a post-unit assessment opportunity. Teachers can also use class discussions and charts to assess each lesson. Student Activity Sheets and Science notebook entries—including drawings, writings, and dictated statements—can be used to gauge individual understanding of objectives and key vocabulary throughout the unit. The Assessment Observation Sheets supplied with each lesson help teachers document and measure students’ progress and knowledge using informal assessment. A general rubric is provided to help teachers evaluate individual students at any point in the unit. The rubric provides a progression of skills and understanding that covers exploration, vocabulary, concept building, and notebook entries. Finally, a summative assessment gives teachers the opportunity to evaluate students’ understanding of the science concepts explored during the unit.
Lesson 1: Needs for Survival
This lesson is designed to pre-assess what students already know about living things and their needs. Students discuss what seeds typically need to survive, and then plant their own bean seeds. Then, they discuss the difference between living and nonliving things. Students’ misconception of the word dead is addressed at this time. After a sorting activity, the class discusses characteristics that make something living and create a list of requirements of living things. Finally, students observe various plant and animal structures and determine which need(s) each structure assists with to help that organism survive.
Lesson 2: Raising Young
Students apply the knowledge they gained in Lesson 1 to the behaviors that exist between animal parents and their offspring. This lesson focuses on how many animal offspring rely on their parents to help them meet their basic needs for survival, such as food and water. Students begin by looking at human parents and offspring. Based on their own experiences, students discuss which basic needs a baby, child, teenager, and an adult can provide for themselves and which needs they need to rely on their parents for. Students apply these concepts to other animal species and discover that many animals care for their young. Using a variety of books and media clips, students begin to notice patterns in the behaviors of animal parents and offspring. By the end of the lesson, students understand that many offspring communicate through vocalizations and other behaviors to express being hungry, tired, scared, and cold. Students also understand that parents react to these behaviors by protecting the offspring, feeding them, teaching them, and by displaying encouragement and affection.
Lesson 3: Parents and Their Young
Using photos and their own prior knowledge as evidence, students observe and discuss how humans look similar to their parents. They also compare the appearance of mature animals to that of their young, recognizing similarities. During these comparison activities, students begin to notice the pattern that offspring look similar but not identical to their parents, and they construct an evidence-based explanation of this concept. Students then observe their bean plants and compare their plant to a more mature “parent” plant, noting similarities and differences. To build on this concept for plants, students observe various photo cards, recognizing that plants, like animals, are similar but not identical to their parents.
Lesson 4: Structures and Functions for Survival
In this final lesson, students explore plant and animal structures. They begin by identifying the different structures they observe on their bean plants, and they learn what each structure does to help the plant survive in its environment. They then investigate several common animal structures through a series of activities that help them determine the function of each of those structures. To dive deeper, students brainstorm other animal structures they have observed and predict what the animal would use it for. Finally, students observe 10 different insects, investigating the various body parts and predicting the function each serves. To end the lesson, small groups will work together to apply what they have learned about structure and function to design a solution to a real problem faced by human parents while they raise their offspring.
|Unit Technology Pack (includes digital access to teacher’s guide and digital student access to student reader)||1||Included|
|Discovering Plants Student Reader||1||Included|
|Seed, Lima Bush Bean, 1/2 lb||1||Included|
|Bag, Plastic, Resealable, 6 x 9”||140||Included|
|Dough, Crayola®, Blue, 3 lb||1||Included|
|Photo Card Set, External Structures||1||Included|
|Card Set, Animal Parents and Their Babies||12||Included|
|Card Set, Living and Nonliving||12||Included|
|Egg, Plastic, Large||12||Included|
|Foam Tray, 7-1/2 x 9-1/2”||12||Included|
|Plant Pot, Plastic, 2-3/4”||30||Included|
|Bottle, Plant Mister||4||Included|
|Sprayer, Plant Mister||4||Included|
|Rubber Band, #33||32||Included|
|Soil, Seed Starter Potting, 16 qt||1||Included|
|Spoon, Plastic, Heavy-Duty||16||Included|
|Tank, Plastic, 1-1/2 gal||6||Included|