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Phenomenal Explorations™: Why Can a Sloth’s Fur Be a Habitat? Kit

(backordered: in stock 12/20/23)


Grade 5. Over 1 lesson consisting of 4 activities, students investigate phenomena related to why a sloth’s fur can be a habitat. Phenomenal Explorations™ kits support the NGSS innovations of phenomena and three-dimensional learning by integrating literacy and science investigation.

Kit includes a teacher’s guide, a 12-month individual license for 1 teacher and up to 32 students on CarolinaScienceOnline.com, and enough hands-on materials for a class of 32 students. In addition to the lesson activities, the teacher’s guide includes a pre-assessment, a post-assessment, and a scenario-based assessment. Also included are remediation activities to support struggling students and enrichment activities to challenge students who demonstrate a high level of comfort with the lesson’s concepts.

To replenish items consumed during the teaching of the kit, purchase individual components listed on the “What’s Included” tab.

Next Generation Science Standards Alignment*:
Performance Expectations

  • 5-LS1-1: Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
  • 5-LS2-1: Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
  • LS2.B: Cycles of Matter and Energy

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Developing and Using Models
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Energy and Matter
  • Systems and System Models

Connections to English Language Arts (ELA) and Math
English Language Arts

  • RF.5.4: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • W.5.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • W.5.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


  • MD.A.1: Convert like measurement units within a given measurement system.
  • MP.5: Use appropriate tools strategically.

Activity Summaries:
(10–30 minutes)
An optional pre-assessment activity identifies students’ prior knowledge of the lesson’s concepts about habitats and what living things need to survive, helps teachers identify and address misconceptions, and reviews the scientific concepts that are foundational to the lesson.

Strengthening NGSS Connections
Activity 1
—Develop Models (45–60 minutes)
Students develop a model to describe relationships among animals, plants, other living things (such as decomposers), and the environment.

Activity 2—Literacy and Science (45–60 minutes)
Students evaluate each other’s models for evidence that the model demonstrates the movement of matter and describes relationships within an ecosystem. Students focus on the presence of green algae in the rainforest and obtain information from a literacy reading about these plant-like organisms.

Activity 3—Plan an Investigation (60 minutes)
Students plan and carry out an investigation to determine which materials are required for green algae to grow. Each group chooses a different variable to test and observe over several days.

Activity 4—Review and Make a Claim (30 minutes)
Students summarize their findings and share them with the class. Based on the class data, students should conclude that the green algae rely on water and air for growth. Students apply what they have learned to construct an explanation for how a sloth’s fur can be a habitat.

Scenario-Based Summative Assessment
Scenario-based assessments blend science and reading comprehension and relay it to the fundamental scientific concepts from the lesson. Students apply their knowledge to answer questions based on a lesson-specific scenario.

*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 Why Can a Sloth's Fur Be a Habitat? Live Coupon (includes Green Algae Mixture and Alga-Gro® Freshwater Media)
  • 1 Teacher's Guide
  • 1 Carolina Science Online® Resources (1-year subscription for 1 teacher and up to 32 students)
  • 48 Pipet, Graduated, 3 mL
  • 1 Potting Mix, 1-L Bag
  • 16 Jar with Closure, 2 oz
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.