If you are a 3rd-grade teacher teaching the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), I have some excellent animal science lesson plans for you! I want to share a new resource about animal groups in today’s blog post. In this unit, students learn the basic principles of social interactions and group behavior of animals using the 5E’s of Instruction. These animal activities are sure to get your students’ attention.
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How do you Plan a Science Lesson Plan?
As always, start planning using the 5E’s of Instruction. These instruction outlines will help you stay on track and cover what is expected from the standards. However, before you begin planning this new lesson plan, determine the performance expectations from the NGSS. You need to know what students are expected to do by the end of the unit.
For this ecosystem unit, students: “Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.” Therefore, this is a lesson in which students learn to develop claims and support their claims with evidence from various sources. These animal science education resources will be excellent for your teaching toolbox.
Engage Your Students with Phenomenon
To engage students and activate their prior knowledge, start the lesson by displaying a video of ants working together to create a bridge from leaf to leaf. Ask students questions to promote curiosity and assess their prior knowledge.
Introduce the phenomenon: “Ants work together to make things happen. Ask students what they notice about the ants’ behavior from the video.Phenomena: Ants work together to make things happen. by TechwithJen
Allow your young scientists to work in groups to create a model of how the ants are showing cooperation. Have students write what they are noticing and wondering about ants. Key points might include:
- Ants work together to find and carry their food.
- The ants use their bodies to build a bridge so the two ants can move their food from one leaf to another.
- There are a lot of ants, so the bridge must be stable.
Tell students over the next few weeks, they will be studying animal groups and ask them some of the following questions:
- Can you name animals that live in groups?
- Have you ever observed animals living together in groups?
Explore through STREAM Stations
Students explore animal behavior with hands-on stations to investigate animal groups.
As usual, I set up STREAM stations to help students understand the concepts based on their grade level. Here is what students will explore:
Science – Types of Animal Groups
Students read sentences and match the name of each group with its animal. From zoo animals, forest animals, insects, and animals on the farm, students will understand that there are a lot of companion animals. This station also has an exit ticket and answer key for easy assessment.
Technology – Sort Advantages and Disadvantages
Now that students understand that animals live in groups, they must know that for some animals, living in groups is best for animal welfare. Still, for some, animal health can be affected. Students sort cards to show the advantages and disadvantages of animals living in groups.
Another option for the technology station is to show videos of animals living in groups. I have some fantastic videos you could use to show students. These videos will help students understand this subject matter at a higher level—one of my favorite videos is below. I recommend watching the videos first because some subject matter might upset students.
Read to Find Evidence
This is an essential station because part of the performance expectation is to make a claim based on evidence. To gain evidence, students must find resources such as books and online websites to help them. They need to learn how to use these resources to help them to make their claim. A great time to teach students how to do this is when integrating science into your literacy block.
Here are several resources you can use to help your students with this research for educational purposes:
- Penguin World
- Animal Agriculture – Specific Species
- Livestock Production
- Get Epic Collection
- Book Creator Book
Engineering a Nest for an Animal Group
In this station, students will use their critical thinking skills and the design process to build a nest. This experiential learning model allows students to design and build a nest holding at least three toy birds without breaking.
Art – Where Do Animal Groups Live?
Students will choose an animal and draw it and their habitat on an exit ticket.
Math – Rounding Numbers
This particular activity relates to the unit loosely. I wanted students to practice rounding numbers and word problems, so I created animal group word problem clip cards to practice their math skills. This activity is perfect for 4th grade, too!
Explain: The 3-Dimensional Lessons
Science and Engineering Practice (SEP)
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Construct an argument with evidence, data, and/or a model.
The Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI)
LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior
Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves, and cope with changes. Groups may serve different functions and vary dramatically in size.
The Cross-Cutting Concepts (CCC)
Cause and Effect
Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified and used to explain the change.
During this part of the lesson, Model for students how to engage in arguments from evidence. Choose an animal group to study for these research-based lesson plans. I chose to study the water buffalo using the Battle of Kruger video above, but any animal group will work.
Grab my free lesson plan to help students elaborate on what they’ve learned about animals living in groups to try researching and choice board projects with your students. Just enter your information below to grab the resource.
Elaborate: Make a Claim with Evidence Projects
In the elaborate phase, students apply their understanding of animal groups to choose to research an animal group. Students use what they learned from the three-dimensional lessons to help them construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive. Students choose three resources to help them develop their argument. I want students to write a paper showing what they’ve learned. Once complete, allow students to create a project from the choice board.
Evaluate: Interactive Rubrics
To evaluate students, share the interactive rubric to show students the expectations for the project; plus, it makes it easy for you to grade.
If you want to teach part or the complete bundle, click on the resources below. Available as digital downloads.