Tennessee Habitat

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SWBAT compare and contrast geographical areas in Tennessee and identify animals and plants found in Tennessee.

Big Idea

What kinds of habitats are found in Tennessee?

Setting the Stage

Next Generation Science Standards-

This lesson addresses 2-LS4-1: make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats. This lesson is imperative because it focuses on the disciplinary core idea, biodiversity, and humans.  Students learned that many different kinds of living things are  in any area and they exist in different places on land and in water. Students learn about Tennessee habitat. It is important that students learn about habitats in Tennessee, so they learn what plants and animals can be seen around their state.

Science and Engineering Practices

SP 8 addresses obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K–2 builds on prior knowledge, using text and analyzing text.  Students communicate what they learn to others about the information that they obtain from the lesson and additional research. This lesson helps students to be engaged in additional research to gather information about Tennessee habitats. They write their findings and communicate to their peers.

Building Background

Students have prior knowledge of habitats and they understand that plants and animals live in a particular habitat depending on its need such as sunlight, water, food, and space. Habitats provide animals with shelter, a place to live and safety. However, the students learn about Tennessee habitat so they can become familiar with the various types of animals and plants in the state that they live.


  • http://awesomeamerica.com/tennessee/
  • http://nashville.hubpages.com/hub/Facts-About-Tennessee
  • http://www.ducksters.com/geography/state.php?State=Tennessee
  • http://tnhomeandfarm.com/fun-facts-about-tennessees-state-plants-and-animals
  • http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/animals.htm
  • http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/plants.htm



10 minutes

While students are at their desks, as a class, we complete a K-W-L chart about Tennessee habitats.  Students are posed the following questions to complete the K and W section:

What  are habitats?; What habitats are in Tennessee?;  What are some living things found in Tennessee?;  What do you want to know about Tennessee habitats?; How are you going to learn about Tennessee habitats?

The K-W-L chart helps me assess students’ prior knowledge. I can see what they know and what they want to learn.  When I know what they want to learn, it helps drive my instructions. 



15 minutes

While the students are at the carpet, I show a PowerPoint on Tennessee habitats. The PowerPoint serves as a visual for my visual learners.

After the PowerPoint, students are asked these questions:  What are the habitats found in Tennessee?  How are ponds and lakes alike? How are they different? What animals live near a water habitat?  I asked my students questions to ensure that they had built background knowledge about Tennessee habitat. This helps students to be successful in the investigation activity.

To check for understanding, students participate in Voc”back” ulary. I write each vocabulary words, woodland forest, pond, lake, barrens on an index cards. Then I call a student up to place a vocabulary word on a student’s back, so they cannot see it. Then I asked the students that are sitting at the carpet to provide a one word clue. For example- If a student has barren on his or her back, they say hills and another child could say low. Then the student could say I have barren on my back. Then we continue until we have reviewed all of the vocabulary words.


25 minutes

Students collaborate in ability groups to complete additional learning opportunities.  They collaborate collectively at a table. Each student is provided with their own handout so they can complete the assignment independently. This affords each child the opportunity to excel in the classroom as they learn about Tennessee Habitats.

Achievers, my low performing students, complete a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting Tennessee woodland forest and barrens. They receive a copy of the teacher-created PowerPoint to assist with the assignment. Also, they are permitted to use their textbook, Tennessee Science- A Closer Look.  They must write in complete sentences.  This is recommended because they are learning how to develop their writing and phonics skills. Each student is provided their own copy. They are also required to draw a picture of the woodland forest or barrens habitat. 

Here is an example-Tennessee Habitat-Achievers.

The Super Stars, my on-grade level students, research additional information about Tennessee plants and animals on the internet. I have a computer ready for them to use. They are provided a template for recording their information. Also, they draw a picture of a Tennessee habitat.  They are encouraged to write in complete sentences, too. 

Here is an example-Tennessee Habitat-Super Stars.

All Stars, my high performers, write a narrative paragraph about Tennessee Habitats.  They are provided the following topic: Imagine that you visit the Great Smokey Mountains. What animal did you see?; What plant did you see? How did you feel; What did you hear? They also draw a picture with their paragraph. They use the internet to locate additional information.

Here is an example-Tennessee Habitat-All Stars

All groups present their findings so all students can learn from each group. This is done because I want all students to excel at a high level.  If a student is performing  below grade level, it is my goal to push them beyond their current ability level.



10 minutes

With students at their desks, we return back to the K-W-L Chart, and we record what the students learned in the "L" section about Tennessee habitats, discussing our K-W-L Chart. Students should mention that they learned various plants, animals, and habitats in Tennessee.

Also, I collect the students' work so I can make sure that they completed the assignment accurately.  I analyze each group's work. In evaluating the achiever work,  I am observing that they compared and contrasted the woodland forest and barren. They should name animals, plants, and various features. In observing the Super Stars' work, they should list animals, plants, and bodies of water from research.  The All Stars should have written a narrative paragraph depicting animals and plants that are found in the Great Smokey Mountains. They also should tell how it sounds, feels, and looks in the mountains. Each student's picture should reflect their assignment.