ALEX Lesson Plan

     

The Needs of Living Things: Constructing a Model Habitat

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Hannah Bradley
System: Dothan City
School: Carver Magnet School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35232

Title:

The Needs of Living Things: Constructing a Model Habitat

Overview/Annotation:

Students will begin by brainstorming a list of needs that must be met for an animal to survive in its habitat. Next, the students will observe an ant farm, created by the teacher prior to the lesson, and determine how the ants' needs are being met through their environment. Then, students will create a list of needs that must be met for a plant to survive in its habitat and compare this list to animals' survival needs. Lastly, the teacher will assist students in developing a plan to build a natural habitat conducive to meeting the needs of a plant. At the conclusion of the lesson, the students will construct a plant terrarium. 

This lesson was created as part of the 2016 NASA STEM Standards of Practice Project, a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (K)
30. With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. [W.K.8]
SC2015 (K)
5. Construct a model of a natural habitat (e.g., terrarium, ant farm, diorama) conducive to meeting the needs of plants and animals native to Alabama.

Local/National Standards:

 

Primary Learning Objective(s):

  • Students will be able to describe the needs of plants and animals.
  • Students will observe a model of a natural habitat and describe how the organism's needs are being met by the habitat.
  • Students will construct a model habitat conducive to meeting the needs of plants native to Alabama.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Student Materials (per student)

Pencil

"Habitat for Ants" Observation Chart (see attachments)

"Habitat for Plants" Chart (see attachments)

Materials to Create Jar Terrarium (for each student or group)

Simple, illustrated instructions for creating a terrarium can be found on this website-"Alabama Gardens: Terrarium" from Alabama Living

Clear glass container

Pebbles, small rocks, or marbles

Activated charcoal or perlite

Sterile potting soil

Plant/plant seeds conducive to terrarium growth (A list can be found on gardeningknowhow.com)

Teacher Materials

Chart paper or board

Materials to Create Ant Farm

Ant farms can be purchased commercially or created using household objects.

The following websites contain instructions on creating an ant farm. The teacher may wish to create one ant farm for the entire class to view or create several ant farms for students to observe in groups.

"Building an Ant Farm" from Arizona State University (uses clear CD cases) 

"Soda Bottle Ant Farm" from instructables.com (uses plastic soda bottles) 

Technology Resources Needed:

Teacher computer with internet access

Ability to project video and sound from computer

Video Clips for Before Activity:

"The Needs of an Animal Song" (1:02) from youtube.com

"The Needs of a Plant Song" (1:02) from youtube.com

Background/Preparation:

A "system" is a group of elements that that interact together to function as a whole. In this lesson, students will be introduced to two models of Earth systems: an ant farm and a plant terrarium. 

This lesson will serve as an introduction to the needs of plants and animals within their natural habitats. Students should have the ability to make simple observations of an ant farm, with assistance from the teacher. The students should be able to create a list of the needs of plants and provide ideas about how to meet these needs, with assistance from the teacher. During the last part of the lesson, the students will create a plant terrarium to model a natural habitat. Depending on the class's needs, the teacher may wish to invite parent volunteers to help the students with the construction of the terrariums. 

Prior to the lesson, the teacher should make copies of two handouts required for the lesson. In addition, the teacher will need to construct an ant farm, as a model of a natural habitat of an animal native to Alabama. 

Ant farms can be purchased commercially or created using household objects.

The following websites contain instructions on creating an ant farm. The teacher may wish to create one ant farm for the entire class to view or create several ant farms for students to observe in groups.

"Building an Ant Farm" from Arizona State University (uses clear CD cases) 

"Soda Bottle Ant Farm" from instructables.com (uses plastic soda bottles)

This lesson uses information from "Our Mission to Planet Earth" from NASA. "Our Mission to Planet Earth" guide provides lesson plans that can serve as a follow-up to this introductory lesson plan.

  Procedures/Activities: 

Before Strategy/Engage: 10 minutes

1. The teacher should begin by posing this question to students, "What do animals need to survive in their habitat?" The teacher should record student answers on chart paper or board. The teacher should also ensure students understand the meaning of the word habitat.

2. Next, the teacher should show this video clip: "The Needs of an Animal Song" from youtube.com. As the students view the video clip, they should be listening for the four needs that must be met for an animal to survive. After students have watched the video clip, the teacher should return to the list created in step one and add any additional needs the students discovered while watching the video clip.

During Strategy/Explore & Explain: 20 minutes

1. The teacher should show the students the ant farm that was created prior to the lesson and explain how the ant farm was created. 

Note: The teacher may create one ant farm for the class to observe or create multiple ant farms for the students to view in groups.

2. As the students observe the ant farm, they should record their observations in the "Habitat for Ants" Observation Chart (see attachments). The students will focus on how the ants' needs were met in the model habitat.

Note: The teacher may wish to complete the observation chart as a whole class first, then have the students individually write their answers on their own copy of the observation chart.

After Strategy-Explain & Elaborate-50 minutes

1. After students observe the ant farm, the teacher should return to the chart created at the beginning of the lesson. Ask students, "Do plants have any different needs than animals?" The teacher will create a new chart listing the needs of plants.

2. Next, the teacher should show this video clip: "The Needs of a Plant Song" from youtube.com. As the students view the video clip, they should be listening for the five needs that must be met for a plant to survive. After students have watched the video clip, the teacher should return to the list created in step one and add any additional needs the students discovered while watching the video clip. The teacher should post the charts of Animal Needs and Plant Needs side by side and lead a discussion on the similarities and differences between the two charts.

3. Tell the students they will be creating a plant terrarium, which is a model of a natural habitat. The students will begin by creating a chart of how they will ensure the needs of the plant are met using the Habitat for Plants handout in the attachments.. 

Note: The teacher may wish to complete this chart as a whole class first, then have the students individually write their answers on their own copy of the chart.

4. Lastly, the students will create a model habitat for a plant. The following website provides simple, illustrated steps to create a plant terrarium: "Alabama Gardens: Terrariums" from Alabama Living. This website provides suggestions for plants that thrive in a terrarium environment: gardeningknowhow.com

Note: Depending on the supplies available, the teacher may wish for each student to create a terrarium or students could be divided into groups of four to create one terrarium per group.



Attachments:
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  Assessment  

Assessment Strategies

Formative Assessment: The teacher will informally assess student understanding of the needs of plants and animals during the brainstorming sessions in the before and during activities. The teacher will informally assess students' "Habitat for Ants" chart to ensure students understand how the ant farm habitat met the needs of the ants.

Summative Assessment: The teacher will formally assess students by reviewing each student's "Habitat for Plants" chart and observing students' construction of the plant terrarium. The teacher should ensure students understand how the model of the natural habitat meets the plant's needs. 

Acceleration:

Students who require acceleration opportunities could perform additional scientific inquiries using the terrariums at the conclusion of the lesson. For example, the students could record how much each plant grows per day or determine how the amount of water provided affects plant growth. 

Intervention:

Students who require intervention strategies could be allowed to provide verbal answers to the teacher, rather than writing their answers on the charts provided. Additionally, the teacher should ensure these students receive additional support and scaffolding during the writing portions of the lesson.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.