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Building Blocks of Science® 3D: Plant and Animal Structures (©2019) 3-Use Unit Kit

(in stock)


Grade 4. In 6 lessons spanning 24 class sessions, the Building Blocks of Science® 3D unit Plant and Animal Structures introduces students to a variety of internal and external structures of plants and animals. Building Blocks of Science® 3D lessons are structured in 30-minute class sessions, making it easy to fit science into your day. The Plant and Animal Structures 3-Use Unit Kit includes a teacher's guide (item #515042), a license for the teacher and students to access online digital resources, and enough supplies and apparatus to teach the unit 3 times to a class of up to 30 students.

Along with hands-on learning, this Building Blocks of Science® 3D unit also provides digital resources to enhance the classroom experience. These components offer an additional method of delivering content, particularly for classrooms with consistent access to computers or tablets. Digital components include digital teacher's guide, simulations, digital literacy reader, interactive whiteboard activities, interactive student investigation sheets, and assessment. All digital resources for Building Blocks of Science® 3D are accessible at CarolinaScienceOnline.com.

Unit Summary
During this unit students review what they know about organisms and identify the common structures and behaviors of plants and animals. Students draw conclusions about the needs these organisms have to meet to be able to reproduce, grow, and survive in their environment. In the investigations that follow, students explore specific animal and plant structures. Students identify behavioral and structural adaptations of different organisms and argue how each supports the animal's survival. A squid and flower dissection support class discussions and analysis of organisms' adaptations. Students then focus on the five senses and their importance in the survival of animals. A teacher-led dissection of a sheep brain introduces the concept of information processing, and students begin to understand how the senses cause actions and thoughts that aid survival. Vision becomes the focus, and students learn how an image is transmitted and processed. A cow eye dissection provides tangible evidence of the structures of the eye. Students consider how light moves in waves and explain why different animals experience color differently. As a culminating activity, students draw inspiration from other organisms to design a model of a more powerful human eye.

Next Generation Science Standards*
The Building Blocks of Science® 3D unit Plant and Animal Structures (©2019) integrates process skills as defined by the Next Generation Science Standards.

Performance Expectations

  • 4-LS1-1: Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
  • 4-LS1-2: Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.
  • 4-PS4-2: Develop a model to describe that light reflecting from objects and entering the eye allows objects to be seen.
  • 3-5-ETS1-2: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • LS1.A: Structure and Function
  • LS1.D: Information Processing
  • PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation
  • ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Developing and Using Models
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Cause and Effect
  • Systems and System Models
  • Common Core State Standards
    Language Arts

    • RI.4.1: Key Ideas and Details
    • RI.4.2: Key Ideas and Details
    • RI.4.3: Key Ideas and Details
    • SL.4.1: Comprehension and Collaboration
    • W.4.1: Text Types and Purposes
    • W.4.2: Text Types and Purposes


    • 4.OA.A: Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems.

    Lesson Summaries
    Lesson 1

    Students identify the needs of living things and the specific structures that are used to meet those needs. Students are introduced to adaptations and consider how specific organisms are adapted to their environments. Students also categorize structures based on their function for survival, growth, or reproduction. To gauge knowledge about plant life, students plant radish seeds in plastic bags and make predictions about how they will grow; students will revisit these seeds in a future lesson and compare their predictions to what happens. The next lesson will focus on external and internal animal structures. Students will dissect a squid to identify some of its structural adaptations and draw comparisons between the squid and other animals.
    Lesson 2
    Students engage in two investigations that focus on external and internal structures. Investigation A asks students to draw comparisons between the external structures of vertebrates and invertebrates. They read about squid and observe the external structures of their squid specimens. In Investigation B, students focus on internal structures. Students learn that animals tend to have similar internal structures but that they use them to meet their own specific needs. To support this concept, students dissect their preserved squid specimen and identify specific structures. Exploration of internal and external structures will be further explored throughout the unit. In the next lesson, students will focus on the internal and external structures of plants by exploring a plant's life cycle and dissecting a flower.
    Lesson 3
    Students focus on plant structures. First, students examine seeds and explain how these structures help protect the baby plant and assist in its initial growth in the soil. Students observe the radish seeds they planted in Lesson 1 to identify external plant structures that grow from a seed. Celery and carnations are used to demonstrate the presence of internal structures, such as veins. The reproductive structures of a plant are discussed, and students draw conclusions about how seeds develop inside a plant. Finally, students dissect a flower to review structures and their functions. In the next lessons, students will gather evidence for the idea of communication between internal and external structures. They will explore the senses and describe how organisms use external structures to produce internal reactions and make decisions.
    Lesson 4
    Students examine how their senses help them experience the world. Students begin by reviewing the five senses and the structures associated with each sense by investigating a bag of candy. As students develop the understand that sense information must be processed, they learn about the brain using a sheep brain dissection. Different parts of the brain are identified, and their functions as they relate to the senses are described. Students begin to understand how the senses and memory aid in an organism's survival. In the next lessons, students will focus on the sense of sight as they gain understanding about the importance of light in how the brain processes information.
    Lesson 5
    This lesson focuses on the eye and how the sense of sight enhances our experience of the world. To begin, students share their existing knowledge of the human eye. This leads to a discussion of the structures of the eye and the importance of light when it comes to viewing images. A teacher demonstration challenges students to think about how the brain processes what we see with our eyes. Students apply what they learn during an interactive dissection of a cow eye. This lesson is important preparation for the final lesson, in which students design a model of the human eye using inspiration from other organisms.
    Lesson 6
    During this unit, students have learned about plant and animal structures, their functions, and how these structures work together to allow an organism to experience senses and survive in its environment. Students have spent time exploring sight and how the eye works. In this final lesson, students are challenged to create a model of an "improved" human eye. Students read about different organisms and determine which features make for a more functional, more powerful eye. They work in groups to design a model of this eye and present their model to the class. Each model is evaluated, and students argue which features are best for enhancing vision.

    *Next Generation Science Standards® is a registered trademark of WestEd. Neither WestEd nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.


    What’s Included:
    • 1 Teacher's Guide
    • 1 Unit Technology Pack (subscription to CarolinaScienceOnline.com to access digital teacher's guide, digital instructional resources, and digital literacy reader)
    • Plant and Animal Structures On-Grade Student Reader
    • Plant and Animal Structures Below-Grade Student Reader
    • 50 Bag, Paper, Brown
    • 40 Bag, Plastic, Resealable, 12 x 15"
    • 96 Bag, Plastic, Resealable, 2 x 3"
    • 96 Bag, Plastic, Resealable, 4 x 6"
    • 300 Ball, Cotton
    • 6 Carolina's Perfect Solution® Preserved Cow Eye
    • 3 Carolina's Perfect Solution® Preserved Sheep Brain
    • 30 Carolina's Perfect Solution® Preserved Squid, 12"+, Double Injected
    • 50 Clothespin, Wood
    • 3 Clove Oil, 7 mL
    • 3 Peppermint Oil, 7 mL
    • 112 Cup, Plastic, 2 oz, with Lid
    • 30 Cup, Plastic, Clear, 24 oz
    • 8 Dissecting Scissors, Nickel
    • 1 Dissection Mat, Cow Eye
    • 24 Dissection Mat, Squid
    • 1 Flashlight, LED, with Batteries
    • 72 Foam Tray, 7-1/2 x 9-1/2"
    • 1 Food Coloring, Blue, 1 oz
    • 8 Forceps, Plastic, 5"
    • 800 Gloves, Nitrile, Disposable, Small
    • 32 Lens, Hand
    • 10 Bead, Glass, Flat
    • 3 Paper Towels, Roll
    • 8 Penlight, Disposable
    • 8 Photo Card Set, Plant and Animal Structures
    • 3 Playfoam® 4-Pack
    • 1 Safety Goggles, Large
    • 30 Safety Goggles, Vented
    • 4 Sandpaper, 2 x 2" Sheet
    • 1 Scalpel, Disposable, Nonsterile
    • 360 Seed, Kidney Bean
    • 6 Seed, Radish, 'Scarlet Globe,' 1 oz
    • 2 Silk Flower, Tiger Lily
    • 3 Tank, Plastic, 1 gal
    • 100 Thumbtacks
    Return Policy:

    If for any reason you are not satisfied with this item, it is eligible for a return, exchange, refund, or credit up to 180 days from date of purchase. Restrictions may apply. Returns & Exchanges Policy.