Animals Live in Water

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SWBAT describe water habitats and explain how plants and animals live in water habitats.

Big Idea

How do plants and water survive in 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 can 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 types of water (river, streams, ponds, and lakes). 



How Fish Float Lab Sheet

Plastic tub of water

Empty 2-Liter plastic container

Container of water



10 minutes

While the students are at their desks, they observe the Animals Live in Water PowerPoint.   The students learn about various animals and plants that live in water. They "investigate the relationship between an animal's characteristics and the features of the environment where it lives." I show the students a PowerPoint to assist my visual learners.

After the PowerPoint, I discuss the following vocabulary terms: river and streams.  Students are shown body language for each term. In showing the students body language for each term, it helps my kinesthetic learners recall scientific terms.

I posed the following questions: How do animals and plants live in lake? How do ponds animals eat What animals live near a river?  These questions are asked to make sure that students observed the PowerPoint. Also, it permits me to check for understanding.


20 minutes

As a class, students investigate "how swim bladders help fish float."  I lead groups through the scientific method. While students are at their desks, they observe a clear tub of water and a half- full bottle of water with a secured cap. I ask them: What questions do they have about the items? 

I remind them to look at the question stem poster located in my room.  The chart is displayed to help students with developing questions. They record their responses on their lab sheets. Some students are permitted to share their questions so other groups can hear their peers' responses.

I call on a student to place the half-full bottle of water in the tub to observe what happens. Students are encouraged to write down their hypotheses. They record the following:  What happens if you decrease the amount of water in the bottle? What happen if you increase the amount of water in the bottle? Observe the Water on land-video.

The students are invited to plan their fair test. Then I call on a student to increase and decrease the amount of water in the secured bottle.  A student places the bottle in the tub of water, and they record what happens in the data chart. Students draw a conclusion about their findings, and they record their results.

I explain to the students that fish have an organ called a swim bladder. Fish can add air to the swim bladder to change how deep they sink. The fins or other propulsion help the fish to move forward.  

Here is the How Fish Float-video.

Here is the How Fish Float-Lab Sheet.


10 minutes

While students are at their desks, students discuss what happens when we increase and decrease the water in the bottle.

I take up the lab sheet to make sure that students complete the entire lab sheet.

The students complete an exit ticket. In looking at the exit ticket, I am checking for students understanding and misconceptions.