Science Mini Unit – The Needs of Living Things (Biology) for Years 3/4

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Summary of Mini-Unit:

In this mini-unit of 3 lesson plans, students focus on the needs of living things, the way in which they need each other to survive and how the environment can impact on their survival. This unit also has a focus on sustainability and how the students can help protect the environment, in particular, living things such as plants and animals that they come in contact with.
The first lesson incorporates ICT as a way to introduce the topic to engage students, as well as a means for gauging their knowledge.

Australian Curriculum Links Throughout Unit:

Year 4 Science:

Science Understanding

  • Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073)

Science as a Human Endeavour

  • Science involves making predictions and describing patterns and relationships (ACSHE061)
  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE062)

Science Inquiry Skills

  • With guidance, identify questions in familiar contexts that can be investigated scientifically and predict what might happen based on prior knowledge (ACSIS064)

Unit Sequence of Lesson Plans:

Lesson Plan 1/3: Introduction and Understanding Food Chains

Prior Knowledge and Experience:

Students would have looked at the basic needs of living creatures in previous years of study, they will understand the features of living things and that they need to grow. The life cycles of living things would also have been examined earlier in this year level.

Objectives:
  • Understand that living things rely on certain other living things and the environment around them to survive.
  • Identify the conditions that living things need for survival.

Resources:

  • Computers – with internet for students to complete online activity
  • Interactive Whiteboard – with internet (YouTube video)
  • Paper handouts (in case of technological issues)

Environment:

Students will need to have clear view of the IWB and whiteboard. Students will need to be close enough to the teacher and each to share ideas. Computers – laptops or computer room will be needed for the body of the lesson.

Introduction/Motivation (15 mins)

  • Start the lesson by viewing the video ‘What animals need to survive’ on YouTube. This will revisit some of the concepts learnt in previous years and uses specific examples which will prompt some questions.

 

  • Ask students about what animals may work together to survive and in what ways animals can also use each other to survive.
  • Write some answers on the whiteboard. Relate information to the answers they give and expand if possible.
  • Explain that animals sometimes use each other as a means of survival and that a food chain exists within the animal kingdom.
  • Ask questions to engage students as well as finding out understanding.
Body (30 mins):
  • Students can then be directed to computers where they will complete an online activity on the food chain via http://www.tesaustralia.com/ResourceDetail.aspx?storyCode=6018715&
  • This quiz will test the knowledge of the students and give them a deeper understanding of food chains that exist between animals.
  • Allow students time to complete the quiz. (In case of any technological issues a printable sheet will be on hand for students to complete should the online form be unavailable).

Conclusion:

Students will then come back together. Ask students what they found interesting about the topic.

  • Did they find any new information?
  • Ask students what animals eat?

Assessment:

  • Anecdotal Notes
  • Questioning

 

Lesson Plan 2/3: Sustainability and Environmental Factors

Rationale/Goals:

This lesson will look at the environment and the way that it can impact on the survival of living things. We shall look at the way that we as humans can help in the sustainability of the environment for the protection of all living creatures.

Prior Knowledge and Experience

Students would have looked at the basic needs of living creatures in previous years of study, they will understand the features of living things and that they need to grow. The life cycles of living things would also have been examined earlier in this year level.

Objectives:

  • To understand the role the environment plays in the survival of living things
  • To understand the human impact on living things
  • To develop thoughts on what can be done to help our environment and protect living things.

Resources:

  • Whiteboard
  • Pens, Pencils, Paper
  • Pictures of animals in the environment (displayed at the front of the room)

Environment:

Working in the classroom every student will need access to the whiteboard to see group answer as well as the opportunity to give their opinions. The classroom will need to be quiet for some parts of the lesson for work.

Introduction/Motivation:

  • Explain that along with animals needing each other to survive that the environment can play a large role in the growth and survival of animals and that for a sustainable future (give a quick definition of sustainability) for living things we need to be mindful of our actions in the environment.
  • Again we shall then move onto a brainstorming activity where we will discuss and write down on the whiteboard some of the things that can environmentally impact on the survival of living things.
  • Discuss the different impacts different events can have on certain living things. For example. Oil spill effects marine life, drought can affect farm animals etc.
  • Now on a separate sheet ask students how they think they can care for the environment in the long term future. What can they do individually and what can we do as humans to help?

Body:

  • Once the initial brainstorming is complete send the students back to their tables have them rank the order they think each one of the things we can do to help is.
  • Explain that they need to think and justify why they rate one above another.
  • The prompt question for this activity; “What are the most important things we can do for our environment and living things sustainability?”
  • Allow the student’s time to think and during this time talking should be at a minimal level as this is an individual piece of work where solo thinking is involved. There are no right or wrong answers in this piece. Very Open ended.

Conclusion:

  • Conduct a poll to survey the students on what they saw as the most important things that can be done.
  • Remind students that there are no right or wrong answers and that science is about justifying your answer.
  • Ask students to justify their answer explaining why they think a particular action would/wouldn’t help the most.

The third lesson in the unit will tie the first two together where both food chains and environment are looked at in a real life situation.

Assessment:

  • 1 Anecdotal note for each student on the following question:
    • Did students come out of the lesson with the knowledge to help them help the environment in a sustainable manner?

 

Lesson Plan 3/3: Outside Investigations

Rationale/Goals:

This lesson will link to classes together as well as having two teachers work together as students are divided into two groups to conduct hands on field work before bringing their work back to the class to discuss their findings.

Prior Knowledge and Experience:

Students would have looked at the basic needs of living creatures in previous years of study, they will understand the features of living things and that they need to grow. The life cycles of living things would also have been examined earlier in this year level.

As well as this the previous two lesson (completed within the previous week will lay the platform to be able to put their learning into practical sense.

Objectives:

  • For students to understand the environment and the way animals need to survive using each other and the habitat around them.

Resources:

  • Cameras (computers for printing pictures)
  • Pens and Paper for recording data
  • Students may need other resources at the time that can be arrange within reason

Environment:

This lesson will be conducted mainly outdoors. If wet weather is imminent, a time change of the lesson may be required.

Introduction/Motivation:

Students from two classes will come together and then will be divided into two groups. Each class will go with one teacher and set off on a different ‘field trip’ around the school.

Body:

Group One – Will take cameras (ICT) and go on a walk depending on the school environment within the school or to a local park where they will collect data (and take photos) of the local animals that exist within the area.

These photos will then be used back in the classroom to create a visual food chain web.

Group Two – Will also venture to a local park or area of habitat and conduct a metre box audit whereby they will examine the animals and the environment that are within it. They will then extrapolate the numbers for the size of the park and determine if it could support larger animals.

Ensure all students are giving a chance to participate in the activity.

Conclusion:

The two groups will then come together and each group will explain their findings to each other. This part of the lesson should be conducted by the students. Peer teaching is a great way of helping students learn.

Assessment:

  • Peer assessment – Students leading the lesson is a way looking at the work that they put together.

After this final lesson questions can be asked to gain information on their understandings and future work can also follow up on this, including looking at a specific living thing and compiling a report on it – students could do this individually or in groups.

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hiya,

    I’m loving this plan, however the link to TES isn’t working. I’ve tried searching TES myself, but it’s a little overwhelming!

    Any chance you can point me in the right direction please?

    Thanks

    Katie