Fifth Grade, Lesson 1: Biodiversity

Fifth Grade, Lesson 1: Biodiversity

Concept 

The more diverse an ecosystem is, the more interdependence of species exists within that system. The complex relationships among diverse species are difficult to identify. As species disappear or become extinct we begin to see the vital links that exist among species. Essential levels of biodiversity vary among biomes and bioregions.

Essential Question 

Could an ocelot live where you live?

Step 1 -- Connect (The Concept to Prior Knowledge)

Challenge

Students will observe the biodiversity in their backyard by connecting the adaptations of the animals in their neighborhood to the climate and habitats in which they live in.

Materials

- Access to schoolyard or nearby park
- Paper, pencils

Procedure

  1. Take students out into the school grounds and look for signs of life.
  2. Search for insects, birds, animal tracks, scat, feathers, nests, different types of trees, grasses, soil types, etc.
  3. Make a class list that shows all findings in the schoolyard and post it as a visual in the classroom.
  4. Make headings to organize groupings: insects, plants, mammals, birds, etc.
  5. Discuss the Web of Life concept. Draw lines that connect one thing to another.

Step 2 -- Literature/Discuss (Give Expert Information Book; Ask Questions)

Step 2

Challenge

Students will learn about the biodiversity of the rainforest and compare and contrast with that of their own schoolyard findings.

Materials

- Book: The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
- Biodiversity list from Step 1
- 1 piece of long string or rope

Procedure

  1. Read The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry. Discuss the different perspectives voiced throughout the book.
  2. Activity: The Web of Life
    • Have students stand in a large circle.
    • Each student should choose one of the items from the classroom biodiversity list, making sure everyone represents a different living thing.
    • Use a string or a rope to represent the links between each person.
    • One person starts by saying the name they chose and, as a class, decide how they are connected to another organism in the circle.
    • The rope is then passed to that organism.
    • The goal is to finish with a web that is connected to everyone.
    • This game demonstrates the intricate web of life.
  3. Debrief in order for students to see how everything in their backyard, as in the rainforest, is ultimately connected in some way or another to their specific environment.

Step 3A -- Practice (Math and Learning Centers)

Challenge

Students will come up with their own web of life example.

Materials

- Access to natural area (i.e., yard, park, etc.)

Procedure

  1. Each student will look for an animal or insect in their own backyard or the schoolyard.
  2. Students will make observations based on the behavior of that animal or insect.
  3. Students will come up with their own web of life example based on the observations made and research on the behavior, food and habitat of that organism.
  4. Students will make observations that support the theory that all organisms are connected: behavior, food, habitat, etc.

Step 3B -- Create (Performance Tasks Related to Standard Indicators)

Challenge

Students will demonstrate through writing how all living things interact with their environment in order to survive.

Materials

- Paper, pencils

Procedure

Students will synthesize their observations of an organism and create a story that parallels The Great Kapok Tree. Using their observations as a framework, they will write their own stories to explain who depends on what for survival and why these interactions are unique to their environment.

Step 4 -- Present (Edit Work/Students Present Projects)

Challenge

Students will practice their oral reading skills.

Materials

- Story from Step 3B

Procedure

Each student will read their story to the class.

The Rainforest Alliance curricula is unique in that it teaches language arts, math, science, social studies and the arts while addressing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts and mathematics, and the Next Generation Science Standards. Our multidisciplinary curricula present information on forests, biodiversity, local communities and sustainable practices. Lessons provide a global perspective on the importance of protecting the world's natural resources, locally and globally, while giving students opportunities for direct action.

To help teachers seamlessly integrate our resources into their lesson plans, we have correlated our kindergarten through 8th grade and climate curriculum guides to the Common Core State Standards for both English language arts and mathematics, as well as the Next Generation Science Standards. Please feel free to use these correlations to help guide you through these lessons, as well to help you identify extensions and adaptations to advance your work.

The Rainforest Alliance can help your school district incorporate local standards and closely align our curricula with the educational mandates in your region.

In addition to the above standards, the education program seeks to advance alignment opportunities with the US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development; National Education for Sustainability (K-12) Student Learning Standards.

For any further inquiries, please contact us at education@ra.org.

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