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First Grade Mini-Unit – Basic Needs of Plants and Animals

Elaborated Unit Focus


In this unit, students will learn that plants and animals have basic needs that must be met to ensure their
survival. They will begin to understand that plants and animals share some needs and not others.

At the end of this unit, students will create a model of a habitat for an animal that they “rescued.” The
Culminating Task model will ensure that the animal has all of its needs met.

S1L1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the basic needs of plants and animals.
GSE for Science a. Ask questions to identify the parts of a plant—root, stem, leaf, and flower.
(standards and b. Ask questions to compare and contrast the basic needs of plants (air, water, light, and nutrients)
elements) and animals (air, water, food, and shelter).
c. Design a solution to ensure that a plant or animal has all of its needs met.
2. Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation. Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes
multifaceted. A major activity of science is investigating and explaining causal relationships and the
mechanisms by which they are mediated. Such mechanisms can then be tested across given contexts and
Cross-cutting Concepts
used to predict and explain events in new contexts.
6. Structure and function. The way in which an object or living thing is shaped and its substructure
determine many of its properties and functions.
Connection to Literacy
Standards for Science Literacy standards
(reading and/or ELAGSE1RI1: Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
writing)
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ELAGSE1W2: Write informative/ explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the
topic, and provide some sense of closure.
ELAGSE1W8: With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather
information from provided sources to answer a question.
ELAGSE1SL1: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and
texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
ELAGSE1SL2: Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented
orally or through other media.

Booksource (6 copies per school)


● Caring for My Pet (Level B)
● Look at an Ash Tree (Level B)
● Seeds and Soil (Level B)
● How Plants Grow (Level E)
● Flowers (Level E)
● Caring for Our Lizard (Level G)
Available Literature to ● A Bean’s Life (Level K)
enhance instruction

Reading A-Z
 I Am Your New Plant (Level E)
Get Epic (getepic.com Membership is free and it is a GREAT resource!) Be sure to sign in first!
● https://www.getepic.com/app/user-collection/262185

Troup County Schools 2017-18


First Grade Science
Quarter 1
Essential Questions and Related Supporting/Guiding Questions
Essential Question How can you prove what a plant or animal needs to survive?
1
Guiding Questions 1. What do animals need to survive?
2. What do plants need to survive?

Essential Question How can you compare the needs of animals with the needs of plants?
2
Guiding Question 1. Do plants and animals share any needs?

● I can identify the needs of plants and animals.


Learning Targets ● I can compare and contrast the needs of plants with the needs of animals.
● I can create a model to ensure that a plant or an animal has all of its needs met.

Troup County Schools 2017-18


First Grade Science
Quarter 1
Instructional Activities
Phenomenon: All plants and animals have needs.
Charlotte wants a puppy. Charlotte’s parents want her to get a plant for a pet because they believe that plants have
fewer needs than animals. Are they right?

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First Grade Science
Quarter 1
Lesson 1: Parts of a Plant
1. Put students into groups and give each group a real potted flower or a picture of a potted flower and have
them identify parts of the plant that they know. It is ok for them to not identify the parts correctly. This is
all about the conversation and questions that are taking place during this time.
2. Walk around and listen while students share their thoughts with one another. Once they are finished with
the conversations, give students a chance to share in whole group. Again, this is not a time to correct their
thinking or their answers. This is a time for the students to investigate.
3. Pull up the “Plant Flipchart” and introduce the four words on the first page (you can also pull up this
interactive website). Have students read them together in whole group. Explain that these words are used
to identify parts of a plant.
4. Have students get back in their group and attempt to label their plants using those words. This is not a
time to correct their thinking or their answers- just another opportunity to investigate.
5. Be sure to walk around and listen while students share their thoughts with one another. After adequate
time, come back together in whole group. Discuss one part at a time and have one student come to the
promethean board to label that part. Repeat with all parts of the plant. The class should come to an
agreement about each part (even if it is incorrect).
6. Explain to the students that they are about to watch a video that will explain the parts of the plants. As
you watch it, check and see if the diagram is correct.
7. Be sure to clear up any misconceptions the students may have.
8. Optional- Interactive Science Journal Notebook Page. Pass out Parts of a Plant Interactive Notebook
pages. Have students follow directions on gluing into their notebook (suggestion- do during morning work
so that when it is time for the lesson, it is already complete). Under each flap, have students write the
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name of each plant part. Extension- have students write why each part is important.

Science Journal Entry: Have students draw a plant in their journal and label
the parts using the words root, stem, leaf, and flower.

Lesson 2: Basic Needs of Plants


1. Review parts of a plant using the flipchart or website from yesterday.
2. Split students into pairs or groups of 3. Again, give them the potted flower or picture from yesterday and
Basic Needs of Plants graphic organizer to glue in their Science Journal (this can be done during morning
arrival). Have them brainstorm what they think the basic needs of plants are. Have them fill out their
sheet together (only fill out the words- do not have them draw a picture at this time. They will have an
opportunity to change their answers later in the lesson as well as draw a picture). This is just a
brainstorming activity- not a time to correct misconceptions.
3. Explain to the students that they are about to watch a video about plants. Pay special attention to the
basic needs of plants and see if you are able to name the four basic needs of plants once the video is over.
Show “Parts of a Plant” video on brainpopjr.com. Have students get into their groups and discuss the four
basic needs of a plant. Be sure to walk around and monitor student discussion. After adequate discussion,
have a whole group discussion and guide students to understanding the four basic needs of plants (air,
water, light, and nutrients). Use the video again if needed. As a whole group, fill out graphic organizer.
4. Be sure to clear up any misconceptions students may have.

Science Journal Entry: Answer the following...Which of the four basic needs
of a plant is the most important and why?

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First Grade Science
Quarter 1
Lesson 3: Plant Study- ONGOING for two weeks

(You may choose to use the Watch and Record Plant Lab for this activity OR complete this activity as it is written
and use the Plant Lab for a separate activity. Divide the students into four groups and provide them with a
different plant to grow in the “Lab Bags” to monitor the growth rate for all four plants while providing them with
all of their basic needs.)

1. Explain that beans are really bean plant seeds, which are filled with everything a bean plant needs to begin
life. Give each student a zip‐top plastic sandwich bag containing 1/2 cup of potting soil. Explain that the soil
contains many of the nutrients (food) the plant needs to grow. Plants absorb their nutrients through the soil
through their roots. They also use sunlight, in a process called photosynthesis to create energy for them to use.
(First‐grade students are not expected to know any details about photosynthesis.)
2. Encourage students to use the word soil rather than dirt. Also, explain that the bag of soil is the place the
plant needs to grow.
3. Give each student four beans that have been soaked in water. Have them place the four beans in the soil in
the front of the bag, separate from each other. Remind students that each seed needs space to grow.
4. Ask students what else plants need to grow besides a place and nutrients. They should know the correct
answers (water, air, and light), but if not, review yesterday’s lesson. Ask what should be added to each bag next.
(water) Add to each bag two sprays of water from the spray bottle. (Note: There will be no need to add
additional water as condensation inside the sealed bags will supply the beans with sufficient moisture.)
5. Guide students to seal their bags carefully without disturbing their beans and making sure there is ample air
above the soil in each bag when it is sealed. Place the bags where students can observe them frequently and
where they will receive plenty of light, e.g., on a window ledge or on a bulletin board. The bulletin board may
also display picture references to each plant need.
6. Beans generally sprout within a few days and grow rapidly, given the above growing conditions. Have students
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observe their plants daily to monitor changes. Have them record changes, such as length of plant growth, in
their science journals or on a small chart.
7. Distribute copies of the attached Plant Needs Review Cards, scissors, and glue. Direct students to cut out the
cards and paste them in their science journals to use for review of plant needs and to assist them with
assessment questions and prompts.

Science Journal Entry: Students will be making observations about the


growth of their bean plants in their science journals.

Procedure, Part 2
1. When the stems and leaves are tall enough to bend over in the bags, remove three hardy plants (the ones that
have the most leaves, strongest stems, and good root systems) from a bag or bags to continue the plant needs
experiment. (Note: Leave the remaining bags in place to demonstrate plant demise due to lack of air. You may
also want to put some pin holes in several of the bags to demonstrate how supplying air to the plants will
prolong their lives.)
2. Fill each of the three plastic cups 3/4‐full with potting soil. Make a hole in the center of the soil deep enough
to place a sprouted seed inside. Carefully remove one plant at a time and place it in one of the holes. Push the
soil around the stem to secure the plant. Water lightly.
3. Label the three plants 1, 2, and 3 and write the names of the students to whom the plants belong. Put plant 1
near a sunny window, and water it every three days. Put plant 2 near a window, but do not water it again. Put
plant 3 in a dark closet or cupboard or under a large cardboard box, and water it every three days.
4. Distribute copies of the attached Plant Growth handout. Have students predict what will happen to each
plant, and write their predictions on the handout. Have students draw and write observations at the end of the
first week and at the end of the second week.
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5. At the end of the second week after students have finished drawing and writing their observations, have
them compare plants 1, 2, and 3, as well as the plants still in the bags. Prompt a class discussion with the
following questions: Which plant grew best? (Plant 1) Why? (Has all the things it needs to grow) Why didn’t
plant 2 grow well? (Lack of water) Why didn’t plant 3 grow well? (Lack of light) Why didn’t the plants that were
left in the bags grow well? (Lack of air)

Assessment Questions: How did growing bean plants help us really see exactly what plants need to live?
What can you learn about all living things from this experiment?

Create a class anchor chart that shows both the parts of a plant and the basic needs of plants. (See example
Anchor Chart.)

Science Journal Entry: Based on what we have learned about the basic
needs of plants, which of the four basic parts of a plant do you think is the
most important? Be sure to defend your answer with facts.

Lesson 4 Basic Needs of Animals (The first part of this activity may be completed as an ELA lesson.)
1. To engage students and to activate their background knowledge, read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You
See?”, written by Bill Martin, Jr. This text is chosen, even though it is fiction, because first graders are familiar
with it. Their familiarity allows the focus to be on asking questions to my students and not just reading to them,
inviting them into conversation about different animals. The focus of reading the book is for the students to
visually see many different animals and to engage in discussion with the students as you read. After completely
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reading through the book, go back through the book with the students and make a list of the animals that are
included. (An ELA lesson surrounding this book might involve a sequencing activity.)

Invite the students to share what they know about each animal as you add them to your list, even if it is not
quite correct. Then review the plant parts and basic needs anchor chart that was created and ask...
"Do you think that animals have basic needs like plants? What do you think those needs might be?"
Have students brainstorm with partners or groups what they think those needs are. Come together as a whole
group and create an anchor chart including their suggestions. Do not come out and tell students that they need
food, water, etc. so that they will develop the understanding on their own.
2. You can provide pictures of animals, let students cut pictures from magazines, or draw pictures to choose
three animals. Encourage students to think about animals that they have at home, classroom pets, or ones that
they just know something about. Pass out “Animal Facts” sheet. Have students glue down their pictures, write
the names of their animals and record facts that they know about the animals, including its basic needs.

While they are working, continue to question students to evaluate their understanding of the basic needs of
animals. The goal of this activity is not for everything on their paper to be accurate and complete, but to check
for understanding and potential misconceptions. Be sure to make corrections to the basic needs of animals
anchor chart as students realize things that need to be added or removed.
For students who seem to not have a great deal of background knowledge about animals, take the opportunity
to sit and talk with them about animals. You could say things such as, "I have rabbits, and I have to to feed them
every morning and check that they have water for the day. They live in a hutch. Have you ever seen a rabbit in a
hutch?" Then show them pictures and/or videos of the animals you discuss. This supports both the instructional
learning and engages the student in conversation in a meaningful way.

Troup County Schools 2017-18


First Grade Science
Quarter 1
3.Pass out Basic Needs of Animals graphic organizer to glue in their Science Journal (this can be done during
morning arrival). Have them brainstorm what they think the basic needs of animals are. Show “The Needs of
Animals” video. Have students get into their groups and discuss the four basic needs of a plant. Be sure to walk
around and monitor student discussion. After adequate discussion, have a whole group discussion and guide
students to understanding the four basic needs of animals (air, water, food and shelter). Use the video again if
needed. As a whole group, fill out graphic organizer.

Science Journal Entry: Students will fill out a graphic organizer to glue in
their journals. Have them choose an animal and write about how their
basic needs are met. (This can be a wild animal or a domesticated animal.)

Lesson 5 Compare and Contrast Basic Needs of Plants and Animals


1. Review basic needs of plants and animals using videos and graphic organizers from previous lessons.
2. Explain to students that today we are going to compare and contrast the basic needs of plants and animals.
Pass out Basic Needs T-Chart. Put students into pairs or groups and have students brainstorm and write down
the basic needs of both plants and animals.
3. Come back together in whole group. Give students an opportunity to share what they came up with.
4. Using the Basic Needs of Plants and Animals venn diagram, compare and contrast the two. You can all
students drag from the sun and drag the words into the appropriate circle or you can have students write down
the words under the appropriate circle.
5. Have students get back in their groups or pairs and discuss the following question: “Can you predict what
would happen to a plant or animal if they were unable to get the basic needs that we have gone over?” Give
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them a chance to discuss this and ask each other similar questions. The teacher should continuously walk around
and facilitate during the discussion. After adequate discussion, come back together in whole group and allow
different groups to share.

Science Journal Entry: After comparing and contrasting the needs of plants
and animals, light is a need for plants, but not animals. Can you use facts to
argue that animals need light too?

Lesson 6 Plant Rescue (This activity is being done whole group to scaffold to group work on culminating
activity.)
1. Review basic needs of plants and the parts of the plants.
2. Complete the following project as a whole group to model for the students.
3. You are an environmentalist that has gone into a greenhouse of dying plants. You have to choose one plant to
save.
As a whole group using different books about plants from the media center, booksource books, on Reading A-Z,
or www.getepic.com, research a plant you would like to have.
● While researching have student think about our driving question. How will we keep our class plant alive?
● Have students write down questions or their ideas to post on our driving question board.

4. Our class plant needs a suitable environment to live and grow in. Our challenge is to design and create a
model of a habitat for our plant out of recycled materials. The model of our habitat needs to provide our plant’s
four basic needs; water, air, light, and nutrients. Here is a parent letter to send home asking for possible supplies
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that could be used for lesson 6 and lesson 7 and throughout the year.

5. As a whole class, decide on what materials to use to create this habitat.

6. Once finished creating the model of the habitat, complete the Four Square graphic organizer explaining how
your model ensures that your plant has all of its needs met.

Science Journal Entry: Explain the process used to create the habitat model
to ensure our plant survives.

Culminating Task

Lesson 7 Animal Rescue


1. Review the basic needs of animals.

2. Put students into groups and give them the following scenario:
● You are an environmentalist that has an opportunity to save one animal.

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● In your group, use different books about animals from the media center, booksource books, on Reading A-
Z or www.getepic.com, research an animal you would like to have.
● While researching have student think about our driving question. How will we keep our animal alive?
● Have students write down questions or their ideas to post on our driving question board.

3. Your animal needs a suitable environment to live in. Your challenge is to design and create a model of a
habitat for your animal out of recycled materials. Your habitat needs to provide your animal’s four basic needs;
water, air, food, and shelter.

4. Have groups use provided materials to create their model of the habitat.

5. Once finished creating the model of the habitat, complete the Four Square graphic organizer explaining how
your model ensures that your animal has all of its needs met.

Other Activities

1. Parts of a Plant and Basic Needs Craftivity- this would be a wonderful activity to do during fourth quarter
as a review.

Troup County Schools 2017-18


First Grade Science
Quarter 1
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First Grade Science
Quarter 1