During the 8 lessons of the following topics will be addressed: characteristics of animals, animal survival, animal habitats, and observation and research. To begin, students are invited to think about animals in their environment. Through discussion and comparison, student knowledge of animal diversity is extended. Students take part in setting up, caring for, and observing an ant farm. Throughout the rest of the unit they will observe ant activities and movements of the ants, noting how they create tunnels and move through the farm. The subject of the environment is furthered in Lesson 2, which addresses how animals use their sensory capabilities to survive in their environment. Students investigate how animals detect their surroundings, with a focus on seeing, hearing, and smelling.
In the next section of the unit, students analyze where animals live as they are introduced to the term habitat. They choose a nearby habitat to observe during an on-going investigation. Lesson 4 introduces students to the habitat of a forest. In a whole-class project students complete a mural of a forest habitat. In Lesson 5, another area of the class is transformed through a mural depicting a habitat as students learn about deserts. A Desert Guide Book is the goal of a class project in which groups provide information about various desert plants and animals.
Next, studies of freshwater and saltwater habitats reinforce the concept that animals live in a specific habitat because it meets the basic needs for food, water, air, and shelter. Students participate in creating and discussing such habitats through additional murals and by exploration of various plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects. In Lesson 7 students look closely at two habitats—forest and desert—and determine living and nonliving parts of the environment. The final lesson challenges students to consider how humans change habitats. In a hands-on investigation students observe a model of how human activity can neg