Day 2-Vertebrate vs Invertebrate Animals

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SWBAT identify and classify animals.

Big Idea

Students will conduct research to create an animal classification booklet.

Lesson Overview

5e Lesson Plan Model

Many of my science lessons are based upon and taught using the 5E lesson plan model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. This lesson plan model allows me to incorporate a variety of learning opportunities and strategies for students.  With multiple learning experiences, students can gain new ideas, demonstrate thinking, draw conclusions, develop critical thinking skills, and interact with peers through discussions and hands-on activities.  With each stage in this lesson model, I select strategies that will serve students best for the concepts and content being delivered to them.  These strategies were selected for this lesson to facilitate peer discussions, participation in a group activity, reflective learning practices, and accountability for learning.

Unit Focus  

The Ecosystems and Interactions unit focuses on students recognizing the interrelationship between organisms and their ecosystems.  It engages students in understanding that organisms have observable characteristics that are fully inherited and can be affected by the climate and/or environment. Students distinguish structures that define classes of animals and plants, and develop an understanding that all organisms go through predictable life cycles. They learn that organisms depend upon one another for growth and development and discover that plants use the sun's energy to produce food for themselves. They observe how the sun's energy is transferred within a food chain from producers to consumers to decomposers. 

Lesson Synopsis   

In this lesson, Day 2-Vertebrate and Invertebrate Animals, students conduct independent research on one example of an animal from each group of animals they have learned about... mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish, mollusks, annelids, arthropods. They use chromebook and a variety of books from the library to find their information. Once they have finished a page on each animal, they create a classification animal booklet. I use this booklet as an assessment

Next Generation Science Standards  

This lesson will address and support future lessons on the following NGSS Standard(s): 

2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment

5-PS3-1. Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.  

Why Do I Teach this Lesson and Address This Standard?

I teach the Day 2-Vertebrate and Invertebrate Animals  lesson because many of my students have very limited background in science since the elementary school's within my district do not formally teach science prior to my students entering the 5th grade (the middle school); therefore, they have not been exposed to earlier grade level NGSS standards or other previous state standards pertaining to animals, plants, and ecosystems.  I find it important to expose my students to parts of these earlier standards in order for them to truly develop a thorough understanding of how matter moves among organisms and developing models to describe how animals' food was once energy from the sun in future lessons. 

Scientific & Engineering Practices

Students are engaged in the following scientific and engineering practices

8.) Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information: Students conduct independent research finding specific information on an example from each kind of animal they learned about from yesterday. They use a template to record and organize their information. 

Crosscutting Concepts

The Day 2-Vertebrate and Invertebrate Animals lesson will correlate to other interdisciplinary areas.  These Crosscutting Concepts include:

6.) Structure and Function: Students research the certain features of a specific features reflect the animal's behavior, adaptation to the environment, and their survival in life.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Disciplinary Core Ideas within this lesson include:

LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

LS3.B Variations of Traits


Importance of Modeling to Develop Student

Responsibility, Accountability, and Independence 

Depending upon the time of year, this lesson is taught, teachers should consider modeling how groups should work together; establish group norms for activities, class discussions, and partner talks.  In addition, it is important to model think aloud strategies.  This sets up students to be more expressive and develop thinking skills during an activity.  The first half of the year, I model what group work and/or talks “look like and sound like.”  I intervene the moment students are off task with reminders and redirecting.  By the second and last half of the year, I am able to ask students, “Who can give of three reminders for group activities to be successful?” Who can tell us two reminders for partner talks?”  Students take responsibility for becoming successful learners.  Again before teaching this lesson, consider the time of year, it may be necessary to do a lot of front loading to get students to eventually become more independent and transition through the lessons in a timely manner.

I have modeled proper use of chromebooks early in the year. At this point in the lesson, students are familiar with expectations when using them.  They understand the responsibility and accountability factors that allow them to use the chromebooks independently.


10 minutes

I start off by giving students an entry ticket.  This is similar to a typical exit ticket, only it is given at the beginning of the class instead of the end of the class.  

Students match characteristics to key terms learned from yesterday. While they work independently, I walk around the room monitoring students. When they finish, I direct students to their elbow partner for a turn and talk.  

At the end of turn and talk, the class reconvenes as a whole. I use the quick pick bucket to call on a couple of students to share. To keep others as active listeners, I remind students to give a thumbs up if they agree to the students sharing. 

Elaborate / Evaluate

50 minutes

Researching Animals

After distinguishing key characteristics between different groups of animals, I introduce a mini-research project to the class. I tell them they are creating an Animal Classification Booklet. I explain to the students that they are researching one example of an animal that represents a specific group of animals they have learned about. These groups include mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish, mollusks, annelids, arthropods.

I continue explaining, "your task is to find out more information about each animal. Yesterday you found out basic characteristics about each kind of animal, and today you are building on that information by finding out more details about where the animal lives, their life cycle, physical features and behaviors that help them survive.  When all research is complete, you will design a cover for your booklet.

I hand them a template for recording research notes. This template is designed to help students organize their research and have a focus for specific information they must find.  They conduct this research using our class chromebooks and a variety of books from the library. As research is going on, I circulate the room checking in with students, making sure they are on task and finding accurate information.

This assignment continues over the next four class periods.  At the end of the week, I collect their final product. I find each final product displays a uniquevariety of animals. Many selected an animal based on their liking or interest.


 Eagle -student researchStudent sample research