Water Habitats

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SWBAT identify and describe different kinds of water environments and habitats by providing examples of animals and plants meeting their needs in water habitats.

Big Idea

What are different water habitats?

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 permits students to learn that a habitat is a place where particular plants and animals live. Habitats are within an ecosystem and ecosystems show how living and non-living things interact. 

Science and Engineering Practices:

SP 8 addresses obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K–2 which 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. This lesson helps students to be engaged in learning about pond and ocean habitats.  These two habitats were selected because students will compare and contrast salt and freshwater in an investigation. The investigation permits students to communicate their scientific findings about these two habitats. 

Building Background:

Students have prior knowledge of habitats, and they have learned that plants and animals live in a particular habitat depending on its needs such as sunlight, water, food, and space. Habitats provide animals with shelter, food,and safety. The students have learned about Tennessee habitats and various land habitats (tundra, desert, rain forest, and forest).  In  this lesson, students learn about the animals, plants, and type of water (fresh and salt) found in ocean and pond habitats. My students have prior knowledge of oceans and ponds from social studies. However, they have not been introduced to the types of animals and plants that live in or around pond and ocean habitats. 

This is a two-day lesson. 




10 minutes

With students at their desks, I give each student an index card. Then I have them write down an animal that lives in or near water.  They are instructed to write a complete sentence. I encourage the students to write in a complete sentence to promote better communication among my students. I collect the cards and review them quickly to assess what the students have written.

I inform the class that we are getting ready to play Charades. I call one student up and show them one of the cards. They are instructed to act out the animals without speaking, and they are told that they can only use their body to act out the behavior while other students guess its name. The students are given 2 minutes per animal.  I call on 3 other volunteers. This game helps students to communicate with only body cues to express themselves as their peers think critically to guess the animal. 

Listen to the students play, Charades.

On the carpet, the students will observe a water habitat PowerPoint.  The PowerPoint serves as a visual for my students and it helps to build background knowledge.

After the PowerPoint, the students are asked questions: What kind of animals might live along the edge of the pond? What kinds of plants live in the water of the pond? How is a pond habitat different from an ocean habitat? How are they alike?  The students are asked questions to help make sure that they process the content. 


10 minutes

Teacher note: The students complete a salt and freshwater investigation because this lesson takes overnight for the salt water to show its impact.

At group tables, students complete the investigation "What effect does fresh and salt water have on lettuce?"  Students collaborate in groups.  Students are placed in groups of five to begin the fresh and salt water experiment.  I assign the leader, but the group decides who will record, manage, report, and measure. I have assigned the leader which is an advanced student.  The students are provided their group labels. They use clothes pins to put their labels on.  They have their lab sheets at their table.  The students are provided the opportunity to work in groups to work on team building skills. This skill is needed as they move towards college and career readiness. 

Groups are at the table and they have 2 lettuce leaves, a bag of salt (2 spoonfuls of salt), and 2 cups of water in a clear cup.  I ask them: What is one question that they have about the items?  

I remind them to look at the question stem poster.  The chart is displayed to help students with developing questions. The groups record their responses on their lab sheets.  I permit the groups to share their question. 

Also, I discuss the following safety rules with the students- 1. Think Ahead  2. Be neat. 3. Be careful. 4. Do not eat or drink things. The rules are discussed to make sure that they understand a sense of what is and isn't appropriate during their investigation. 

After the group shares their questions they are permitted to use the lab sheet and prompts to help them plan their investigation.

As the students complete their investigation, I walk around to make sure that the students are on task. I also answer questions as needed.    

Here is a video, Saltwater-Freshwater and a Saltwater- Freshwater picture.

I let the students know that this is a two-day investigation.


Extend- Day 2- Salt Water and Fresh Water Investigation

10 minutes

Day 2-Fresh and Salt Water Investigation

While groups are sitting at their tables, they check the lettuce. They revisit their lab sheet to write down their observations. Also, they write down if their prediction was correct.

Groups report their findings to the class. I asked the groups: What happened to the leaf in the salt water and fresh water? Why does the leaf look different in the salt water? If you water a flower with salt water, what do you think would happen? Explain.  I take up the group lab sheets. In looking at the lab sheet, I make sure that the groups completed them successfully.


Students' work- Freshwater and Saltwater-lab sheet.