Biodiversity of the Woodlands

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SWBAT list 3 animals and 3 plants that live in the woodlands.

Big Idea

Many special and unique plants and animals live in the woodlands.

Teacher Notes

Activity Description

The children will gather and record information on a classification organizer about plant and animal life in the woodlands after listening to the teacher read a book about it.  Then they will use their knowledge to create a page in their interactive science notebook.

NGSS/Common Core Connections

Students will learn about the plant and animal life in the woodlands. They will gather this information from listening to a book which will help them to make observations that will be used to make comparisons of the four different habitats, which is part of planning and carrying out investigations.  This lesson is directly connected to the nature of science since students will be looking for patterns and order by classifying animals when making observations about the woodlands.  As a result of their learning, they will conclude that there are many different kinds of things in the world and they exist in many different places on land and in water.  

At the end of the unit, the children will use information gathered from this lesson (and others) to create a habitat diorama and write a research report.  This will give them a base knowledge for that project.  


Woodlands Note Taking Chart 2 sizes--1 per student (pick the size you desire)

woodlands folded pockets - 1 per student

index cards cut to 3 x 31/2 inches to fit into pocket- 1 per child

Special note:  I usually spend an extra day or two reading books to help the children learn as much as they can about the woodlands.  During this time, they continue to keep notes on their chart.  This additional knowledge will promote a deeper understanding of woodland plant and animal life so they can back up their thinking with logical thoughts and be able to make comparisons.  I would highly recommend One Small Square Woods.  Other great books include OwlsIn the SnowWoods and Forests and Stranger in the Woods.


10 minutes

I try to get the children excited to learn about our next habitat, the woodlands.  I call them over to the front area by the Smartboard.  

I am so excited for our lesson today.  We are going to be learning about a habitat that we see right next door to our school, the woodlands.  This is a habitat that we are probably the most familiar with since it is right outside our backdoor.  Some people call this habitat the woodlands and others the forest.  It is very special since it has some very interesting plant and animal life.

Then I have them think about what they know about the woodlands and write a question at the top of the page.  If they find the answer as they are researching, they need to write the answer on the given lines on the organizer.


45 minutes

 For today's lesson, the children are going to be exploring the Wisconsin Woodland Critter website.   Although it focuses on animals native to Wisconsin, you don't have to live there to use the site.  The animals on the site are found most everywhere that has a forest.  This is a great website for the class to explore together or you could even take the class to the computer lab and have them explore the website with a partner.  I love the set-up of the web page since it has the same animal classifications that we have been using as clickable labels.  For example, if the children click on amphibians, a whole page of amphibians pops up for them to explore.  Since I would like the children to explore with a partner group on their own, I have chosen to take my kiddos to the computer lab.

Today we are going to explore a website about the woodlands.  You are going to be filling out our Woodlands Note Taking Chart, just like we have done previously.  We are going to be working with partners to accomplish our task.

See my reflection on why I use this type of organizer.  Here is an information sheet on using graphic organizers in general.

With a clipboard, note taking charts, pencils in hand we then head to the computer lab so we have access to enough computers at one time so each partner group has one. In advance, I have bookmarked the page so the students can access it with ease.  After they are all settled in, I explain how the website is set up with the clickable labels I explained above.  The students work together with their partner exploring the website and writing down the information on their charts in the appropriate boxes.  See sample 1sample 2 and sample 3.


10 minutes

I ask the children to look at their chart and pick out their favorite fact they have gathered from the website and share it with the class. This helps them evaluate and analyze their notes to see what they like best. 

To add to their interactive science journals, I have them make a Woodlands folded pocket.  The children should draw and color a picture that depicts life in the woodlands.  Then on an index card they can write down the most interesting thing that they learned along with a short explanation.  To make the pocket, follow the instructions on this page.  

Then they can glue the smaller sized animal classification graphic organizer on the left side and the pocket they just made right under it (see woodland science notebook).  This leaves the right side for the next activity, Woodlands Gems of Biodiversity lesson.  When finished, it creates a double-spread of information.

NOTE:  If you are not making science notebooks, make sure to SAVE the notes they took from today for this lesson.  


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