K-ESS3-1. Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals (including humans) and the places they live. [Clarification Statement: Examples of relationships could include that deer eat buds and leaves, therefore, they usually live in forested areas; and, grasses need sunlight so they often grow in meadows. Plants, animals, and their surroundings make up a system.]
Take your class outdoors on a warm day and encourage students to find and follow a small animal, such as an ant or a spider. While the children are observing the animal, walk among them and ask: What do you think the animal is doing? What do you think it will do next?
After the students have had time to think about these questions, ask them: How do you think the animal depends on the land, water, and other living things around them? Do you see evidence to support your ideas?
As the children think about these questions, encourage them to draw a picture of the creature and its surroundings. When they are done, ask the children to circle and label anything in their picture that they think the animal needs to survive.
Before going back inside, invite the students to gather together and guide a discussion about the physical characteristics of the area where the creatures live. This is a great opportunity to introduce the word environment. (All the factors—soil, water, and other living things—that affect the life and activities of a creature.)
The class should consider some of the following questions: What kinds of plants grow in the environment? Do the plants seem to be healthy? Is there a source of water in the environment? Record the students’ ideas in a notebook and transfer them to a piece of chart paper when you return to the classroom and return to the students’ observations as you read and discuss some of the following books:
Just Ducks by Nicola Davies
Hip-Pocket Papa by Sandra Markle
Fish Wish by Bob Barner
What Bluebirds Do by Pamela F. Kirby
Bat Loves the Night by Nicola Davies
Dig, Wait, Listen: A Desert Toad's Tale by April Pulley Sayre