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Building Blocks of Science® A New Generation: Plant and Animal Structures 2nd Edition 3-Use Unit Kit



Grade 4. In 6 lessons spanning 24 class sessions, Plant and Animal Structures introduces students to a variety of internal and external structures of plants and animals. Using a variety of activities, including animal and plant dissections and models, students explore how these structures allow plants and animals to survive, grow, and reproduce in their environments; how these structures influence the senses; the brain's role in processing the world; and how light helps our eyes to see objects.

To begin, students are pre-assessed on what they already know about plant and animal structures. Throughout the unit, students will build on these concepts as they observe and investigate a variety of structures of plants and animals and their functions. The unit culminates with a project-based assessment in which groups develop a 3-dimensional model of the eye. Groups present their models and use them to describe the process of sight, including the role of the brain, while answering questions that tie the entire unit together.

Building Blocks of Science® 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 #515002A), teacher and student access to digital materials, and enough supplies and apparatus to teach the unit 3 times to a class of up to 30 students.

Next Generation Science Standards®
The Building Blocks of Science® unit Plant and Animal Structures, 2nd Edition, 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 eyes allow objects to be seen.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • LS1.A: Structure and Function
  • LS1.D: Information Processing
  • PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Developing and Using Models
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Cause and Effect
  • Systems and Models

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. 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 students the opportunity to demonstrate unit-specific content knowledge by responding to questions in a variety of formats.

Lesson Summaries
Lesson 1: What Do We Know About Plant and Animal Parts?

Students understand that plants and animals are different from one another. Lesson 1 begins with a class brainstorming session about the structures that plant and animals could have that allow them to better survive in their environment. After brainstorming, students sort images of various structures into categories based on what they believe the purpose of each is. Finally, students plant radish seeds using just a paper towel, water, and a plastic bag.
Lesson 2: Animal Structures
Students investigate the difference between internal and external structures found within different animal species. Students come to understand the importance of these structures and how they relate to the survival, growth, and reproduction of that species. Students begin by exploring external structures. After applying the concept of external structures to humans, students identify structures on a preserved squid specimen. Students then investigate internal structures in animals. To help strengthen understanding of what goes on internally, students explore a diagram and dissect their squid to view its unique internal structures.
Lesson 3: Plant Structures
This lesson begins with a review of the external structures of a plant and their functions. To do this, students examine their radish plants from Lesson 1 and identify the structures that are helping the plant survive. Students then investigate the internal structures of a plant. They perform a seed dissection to look closely at the parts of a seed that enable a new plant to grow. Students then explore the veins of a plant, which help move materials around the plant's body. They observe these veins first hand using celery, carnations, and colored water. To conclude, students read to learn more about different structures found in the flower and how they aid in reproduction, and then dissect a flower to explore these structures first hand.
Lesson 4: Animal Senses
This lesson focuses on the five senses and the brain's role in processing information gathered by the senses. Students review this concept by performing an activity that engages all five senses. Next, students explore the structure of the brain and how information is sent to the brain for processing, developing the understanding that we then react to the information in different ways. Students more closely explore the brain's structure through an interactive sheep brain dissection. Finally, students reengage their five senses through a series of activities, this time explaining the brain's role in the processing and response.
Lesson 5: Exploring the Eye
Students extend the knowledge gained about the brain Lesson 4 and begin to dig deeper into how we are able to see the world around us. To begin, students are pre-assessed on what they already know about the human eye. This leads to a discussion about the significance of light when it comes to viewing images. Students then explore the main structures within an eye that allow animals to view the world around them through an interactive cow eye dissection. Students then apply what they learn from observing the internal structures of the eye to a diagram of the eye, following the path of light from the object all the way to the brain. Finally, students investigate the backwards, upside-down image the eye creates, and how the brain corrects this as it processes the information that it is sent.
Lesson 6: Structure and Function
In this final lesson, students display the knowledge they have gained throughout the unit by participating in a culminating project-based assessment. Groups work together to design and build a 3-dimensional eye model. Students are expected to explain—to the teacher or to the class—the path that light takes into the eye and how animals are able to see images. Students then describe the brain's role in helping animals see the world around them.


Shipping Information or Purchase Restrictions
  • This item is not currently available for purchase. Please call 800.334.5551 for details. New 3D edition available, Keyword Search Building Blocks of Science 3D
What’s Included:
  • 1 Teacher’s Guide
  • 1 Unit Technology Pack (includes digital access to teacher’s guide and student digital access to student reader)
  • Plant and Animal Structures 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 Formalin Preserved Squid, 12”+, Double Injected
  • 18 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
  • 72 Foam Tray, 7-1/2 x 9-1/2”
  • 1 Foil, Aluminum, 25-ft Roll
  • 1 Food Coloring, Blue, 1 oz
  • 8 Forceps, Plastic, 5”
  • 800 Gloves, Nitrile, Disposable, Small
  • 32 Lens, Hand
  • 10 Marble, Clear Glass, Flat
  • 3 Paper Towels, Roll
  • 1 Paper, Waxed, 75-ft Roll
  • 8 Penlight, Disposable
  • 8 Photo Card Set, Plant and Animal Structures
  • 3 Playfoam® 4-Pack
  • 32 Rubber Band, #33
  • 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
  • 16 Tube, Cardboard, 3.8 x 22.7 cm
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