Grade 1: Collecting and Examining Life

Lessons at a Glance


Lesson 1: Comparing Living and Nonliving

Big Idea: How can you tell when something is alive?

Children collaborate to think and talk about what is alive. They look at some "mystery" substances and set up an experiment to discover which substance is actually alive.

 

Lesson 2: Identifying Living Things

Big Idea: How can you tell when something is alive?

Children examine the results of the previous lesson's experiment. They observe and describe hatched brine shrimp. They begin developing criteria to identify and classify animals.

 

Lesson 3: Going on a Fall Wild Walk

Big Idea: Many different kinds of living things share our neighborhood environment.

Children visit a study site and learn about the natural environment. They look for signs of living things and collect leaves, soil, and seeds for follow-up lessons in the classroom.

 

Lesson 4: Looking for Animals in Soil

Big Idea: Many different kinds of living things share our neighborhood environment.

Children construct special tools, called Berlese funnels, to extract tiny animals from soil samples. They count the number of animals found and graph their data in a mathematics extension.

 

Lesson 5: Making a Fall Nature Book

Big Idea: Many different kinds of living things share our neighborhood environment.

Children write captions for the pressed leaves and photographs from the fall Wild Walk. They create a class book to serve as a point of comparison for the spring Wild Walk.

 

Lesson 6: Observing Snails

Big Idea: Animals are living things. They have many parts that help them move, breathe, eat, and sense their environment.

This lesson is one of three in which children closely observe and then compare different animals. In this lesson they observe, measure, and draw land snails, focusing on body parts used for moving, breathing, eating, and seeing.

 

Lesson 7: Observing Crickets

Big Idea: Animals are living things. They have many parts that help them move, breathe, eat, and sense their environment.

This lesson is one of three in which children closely observe and then compare different animals. In this lesson they observe, measure, and draw crickets, focusing on body parts used for moving, breathing, and seeing.

 

Lesson 8: Observing Fish

Big Idea: Animals are living things. They have many parts that help them move, breathe, eat, and sense their environment.

This lesson is one of three in which children closely observe and then compare different animals. In this lesson they observe fish, focusing on body parts used for moving and breathing.

 

Lesson 9: Using Zoo Clues

Big Idea: Animals are living things. They have many parts that help them move, breathe, eat, and sense their environment.

Children observe various animals on a zoo field trip. They play "Zoo Clues," a game in which they search for animals that display different characteristics or live in different environments.

 

Lesson 10: Comparing Animals and Plants

Big Idea: Like animals, plants are living things.

Children discuss whether plants are living things. To compare and contrast animals and plants, they create collages, generate a poster, and construct a Venn diagram.

 

Lesson 11: Studying Leaves

Big Idea: Plants are living things. They have many parts that work together to help them grow and make new plants.

Children observe, sort, classify and measure a variety of leaves to learn about similarities and differences among leaves, basic leaf structure, and the function of leaves.

 

Lesson 12: Investigating Fruits and Seeds

Big Idea: Plants are living things. They have many parts that work together to help them grow and make new plants.

Children observe and compare various familiar fruits and their seeds. They learn the scientific definition of a fruit and consider the functions of fruits and seeds.

 

Lesson 13: Learning About Seed Dispersal

Big Idea: Plants are living things. They have many parts that work together to help them grow and make new plants.

Children observe different seeds to learn about seed variety and dispersal. They look at the characteristics of seeds and then try to figure out how seeds travel to a new location to sprout.

 

Lesson 14: Sprouting Seeds

Big Idea: Plants are living things. They have many parts that work together to help them grow and make new plants.

Children observe sprouts and dissect a bean seed to see what is inside. They prepare bean and corn seeds to sprout, then observe and monitor the growth of the sprouts for several days.

 

Lesson 15: Examining Roots

Big Idea: Plants are living things. They have many parts that work together to help them grow and make new plants.

Children explore root structure and function. They compare the weight of plant parts that grow above ground to those that grow underground, and experiment with rooted and rootless plants.

 

Lesson 16: Experimenting With Celery Stems

Big Idea: Plants are living things. They have many parts that work together to help them grow and make new plants.

Children investigate stems and their functions. They compare soft stems to woody stems and learn that stems provide support for plants, and move water and nutrients to plant parts.

 

Lesson 17: Going on a Spring Wild Walk

Big Idea: Many different kinds of living things share our neighborhood environment.

The class returns to the site of its fall Wild Walk to observes the sights and sounds of spring. Children choose a living thing or evidence of life to document for the spring nature book.

 

Lesson 18: Dissecting Flowers

Big Idea: Plants are living things. They have many parts that work together to help them grow and make new plants.

Children observe, compare, dissect, and draw pictures of flowers. They begin learning about flower parts and structure by noting similarities and differences between flowers.

 

Lesson 19: Making a Spring Nature Book

Big Idea: Many different kinds of living things share our neighborhood environment.

Children write about and draw the living thing or evidence of life they observed on the spring Wild Walk. They make a class book to serve as a point of comparison to fall's Wild Walk.

 

Lesson 20: Growing Mold

Big Idea: Fungi are living things that are neither plants nor animals.

Children are introduced to a third living kingdom, called fungi, and update their "Living Things" poster or Venn diagram. They set up a growing medium to examine a simple fungus called mold.

 

Lesson 21: Observing Mold Growth

Big Idea: Fungi are living things that are neither plants nor animals.

Children observe the mold farms they started on their growing medium. They also compare the characteristics of molds and other fungi to the characteristics of plants and animals.

 

Lesson 22: Playing Bio Bingo

Big Idea: Animals, plants, and fungi are living things.

Children review the three major categories of life they studied: animals, plants, and fungi. They recall and record the living things, and use what they learned to play a game called "Bio Bingo."

 

Skill Building Activity 1: Using Magnifiers

Big Idea: A magnifying lens makes things look larger than they really are. You can use a magnifying lens to examine objects closely and to see details that you might not see without it.

Children learn how to use a magnifying lens, like the ones supplied in the Science Companion kit. There is also an extension in which children learn how to use a jeweler's loupe.

 

Skill Building Activity 2: Making Scientific Drawings

Big Idea: A scientific drawing is accurate. It contains details about its subject.

Children look at scientific drawings, identify their characteristics, and discuss how they differ from other types of drawings. They make their own scientific drawings, with a focus on looking closely at and accurately drawing the object.

 

Skill Building Activity 3: Measuring Small Things

Big Idea: Measurements are not exact. It's all right to round to the nearest unit and say the object is "about ___ units long."

Children practice measuring objects and rounding measurements to the nearest centimeter.

 

Skill Building Activity 4: Using Balances and Scales

Big Idea: Measuring how much something weighs is a basic scientific skill.

Children compare the weight of various objects using balances and scales. They gain an appreciation and awareness of weight, and strengthen their measuring skills.