In this unit, students explore how the external characteristics of animals are essential for their survival. Students also make observations of parents and their offspring, determining how they are similar and how their behaviors help offspring survive.
In this lesson, students make observations of baby animals and their parents, gathering evidence that they look similar because they share many of the same traits. In the activity, Baby Bird Rescue, students help identify lost baby birds based on observations of their specific traits.
Cut along all dotted lines so that you have six individual birds per sheet. A paper cutter will make this task go quickly. Make sure to keep bird “A,” “B,” and “C” in separate piles.
Divide envelopes into three equal piles. Use a marker to label all envelopes in one pile “A.” Label all envelopes in another pile “B,” and label all envelopes in the third pile “C.”
Then, place one bird card in each labeled envelope, making sure to put bird “A” in envelopes labeled “A,” bird “B” in envelopes labeled “B,” and bird “C” in envelopes labeled “C.” Each pair of students working together will need three envelopes (“A,” “B,” and “C”) for the activity.
In this lesson, students carry out an investigation to determine the relationship between the shape of different bird beaks and the food each bird eats. In the activity, Find the Best Beak, students experiment with long pointy beaks that are great for picking up seeds and wide flat beaks that are good for scooping. They discover that different beaks are best for different kinds of food.
In this Read-Along lesson, Juan Carlos visits his grandmother who has a backyard full of ducks. The lesson includes a short exercise where students get moving by acting like ducks. If you want to extend the lesson, you can try this optional activity, What’s Going On?, where students watch videos and discover ways that animal parents help their offspring.
In this lesson, students make observations to construct an explanation of why camouflage is helpful to animals. In the activity, Moth Hide and Seek, students test their ability to spot camouflage moths, and then design a camouflage pattern for a moth of their own and hide it in the classroom!
Each tree takes a wall space measuring about 32" wide by 55" tall (about the size of a door). You can build your trees on an empty wall, a bulletin board, or on a door. The activity works best if you have three different bark patterns, but if you don’t have enough space (or time) to make three trees, you can make one tree and two stumps.
To make your trees and/or stumps, follow these steps:
Cut out the pieces of each tree and stump by cutting on the dashed lines of the printouts. Then cut out the moths, following the instructions on the "Moths for Teachers" printouts.
Arrange the pieces on your wall to make trees and stumps, using glue dots or push pins to hold the paper in place. Watch this video to see how we did it.
Hide the Moths
You are going to hide paper moths for your students to find, and then your students will hide moths for you to find. Put a glue dot on the back of each moth and place it on a tree or stump — hide all nine moths. Put most of them on the bark that match, but put a few on the bark that don’t match, so that they are easy for your students to find.
Read-Along Lesson 5: Inheritance & Variation of Traits
In this Read-Along lesson, Amy notices that baby animals look a lot like the adults in their families—and then discovers that she does, too! The lesson includes a short exercise where students get moving by acting like farm animals. You can extend the lesson with the optional activity, Matchup Game, where students work together to match pictures of animals with their babies.
Print enough picture cards so that each student can have a parent animal or a baby animal. We suggest printing one copy of the parent animal cards and enough baby animals for the rest of the class since many babies can group with the same parent. If you have 30 students, you’ll need all 6 parent animal pictures and 24 assorted baby animal pictures. For homeschool or small classes, print out one of copy of each page, cut out the cards, and have students match mothers and babies. Cut out the pictures and put each one in its own envelope to distribute to your students.
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