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. Habitats are within an ecosystem and ecosystems show how living and nonliving things interact. After learning about various habitats, I want students to apply what they learn through this culminating activity. A diorama helps students to show what animals and plants live a particular habitat.
Science and Engineering Practices
SP 8 addresses obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. Students communicate what they learn to others about the information that they obtain during research. This lesson helps students to communicate about habitats (tundra, desert, forest and rainforest). As students continue to work like scientists, it is imperative that they learn how to communicate scientific findings. Also, the lesson addresses SP 2: developing and using models. Students create a model to duplicate a biome. The model should include plants and animals that live a particular habitat.
Students have prior knowledge about habitats and they have learned that plants and animals live in a particular habitat depending on their needs such as sunlight, water, food, and space. Habitats provide animals with shelter, food, and safety. Also, students have learned about the desert, rain forest, forest, and tundra. These different regions, along with the animals and plants, are known as biomes. There are six land biomes: tundra, taiga, deciduous forest, rain forest, grassland, and desert.
Parents send items for groups to use in creating their habitat. They are invited to attend so they can assist the students.
In addition, the students complete a book report on their habitat. This helps students continue to build background knowledge on the group's habitat.
With students at their desks, I randomly pass out word cards.
Teacher note: You should print out the PowerPoint slides, select one per slide, and pass out one slide to 12 students.
The students that have cards stand and locate their matches without talking. They are asked to line up behind the cards with the habitats on them. The other cards have animals, plants, or type of weather that pertains to the habitats. The students create a living web which is a graphic organizer. This helps to stimulate students' cognitive thinking about habitats: tundra, forest, rain forest, and desert. In addition, it helps visual and kinesthetic learners. The students without the cards help to determine if the students are in the correct order.
Here is the Living web video.
Here is a picture of the living web
Then I call on a student to read the "I Can" statement on the board. The student says, I can work in a group to create a habitat that shows the kinds of plants and animals that live there. The "I Can" statement permits the students to know what they can accomplish.
While students are at their desks, they review the Engineering Design process. A student put the Engineering Cards in order on the board. Magnetic strips are placed on the cards. They are familiar with the Engineering Design Process, but I want to review the process with the students. Once the students put the cards in order, I call on another student to explain.
Then I pose a challenge. Students are instructed to design and construct a habitat for animals in which spectators acquire a perspective of its natural environment without any explanation. Each group is assigned a habitat: tundra, rain forest, forest, and desert.
Students are informed that they do have some constraints. They have to add a plant(s), animals, and they must use a shoe box for creating their habitat. They can only select 7 items from the material section. They have 35 minutes to complete the lab sheet and model. The lab sheet guides the Engineer Design Process.
The students are shown the materials area where they can select materials for their model of a habitat. I also inform the students that their lab sheet and group labs are at their group table. I assign the leader and the students collectively decide on the person who records, manages, reports, and measures. I assign the leader because that is my advanced student, and I permit the students to assign the other roles. This permits students to have a choice. Then students are asked to pull a card with a habitat on it. They create the habitat that they pull.
I ask the students- Are you ready for the challenge? Then I say- We are on the move, and they proceed to their table while singing "We are on the Move" song.
I place 35 minutes on the clock so groups can manage their time.
Listen to the students complete the Engineering Design process.
Observe the students designing their habitat.
Students are instructed to stay at their group's table to share with the class.
Each group shares their model and peers offer suggestions for improvement. If improvements are needed, they can go back to their table to make the needed adjustments.
The tundra group presents.
We review the steps of the Engineering Design Process. We review to make sure students remember the steps.
I collect all group models and I evaluate them. I observe the diorama. At a minimum it must include animal and food sources (i.e. plants and/or prey). Also, I take up the lab sheet to make sure that students complete it, and they use it to design their diorama.