Animals have developed an amazing variety of body plans, behaviors, and strategies in order to succeed in the struggle for survival. Explore topics ranging from regeneration, camouflage, animal migration, how to attract hummingbirds, and more.

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Lesson Plan Grade: Kindergarten
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In this lesson, students play a game. Each classroom corner represents a habitat. After selecting an animal card, students have to move to the matching habitat while acting out the animal displayed on their card. By explaining why they selected a certain habitat, students realize that a habitat is a place that helps an animal survive. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • K-ESS3-1. Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live.
  • 2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
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Lesson Plan Grade: Kindergarten
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At some point, many children wish for a pet animal to play with and care for. But what does it take to keep an animal alive and healthy? In this engaging lesson plan, children will act out adopting a pet and shopping for items based on its needs. As they bring their items together, they will notice that every animal needs food, water, shelter, and air to survive. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • K-LS1-1. Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 2nd-5th
There are thousands of species of insects in our world, and each are adapted to survive in their habitat. In this activity, students will learn what an insect is and what some of their adaptations are. Then they will put their knowledge into play by "creating" an insect that is adapted to live in their assigned environment. Read more
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-12th
Some organisms, like whales and redwood trees, are so large that it's hard for us to picture just how big they are! In this lesson, students practice mathematics and computational thinking to create scale models of themselves, and then apply these skills to create models of other large organisms. This activity works best when stretched out over three (or more) class periods. Read more
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-12th
Scientists are concerned that climate change could cause the spread of mosquito populations that carry diseases like malaria, West Nile virus, Zika virus, and dengue fever. In this lesson plan, your students will access real-world data on mosquitoes at different locations throughout the United States, and examine the effects of temperature on mosquito populations. Remote learning adaptation: This lesson plan can be conducted remotely. Students can work independently on the Explore section of… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • HS-LS2-1. Use mathematical and/or computational representations of phenomena or design solutions to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-7th
In this activity, students learn about plant reproduction and use real data to construct explanations about which flowers are the most attractive to different pollinators. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-LS1-1. Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.
  • 4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
  • MS-LS1-4. Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants, respectively.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 2nd-6th
By building an edible coral polyp, students will learn the anatomy of coral and be able to explain why corals are animals, rather than plants. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
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Lesson Plan Grade: Kindergarten-2nd
Get creative with your students in this hands-on lesson plan! Students will use mostly natural materials to build a shoebox habitat that mimics a real-life habitat for an animal of their choice. As they present their miniature habitats to each other, students realize that not all habitats are suitable for all animals. Each animal species needs the resources of a specific habitat to survive. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • K-ESS-3-1. Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live.

  • 2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
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Lesson Plan Grade: Kindergarten
In this lesson, each student will create a bird feeder from recycled, bird-safe materials. While designing their own bird feeders, students will discuss what basic needs an animal has and how they can meet these needs with the structure they build. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • K-LS1-1. Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 5th-9th
Could you describe the kelp forest food web as a system? Your students will design and use a simple model to test cause and effect relationships or interactions concerning the functioning of a marine food web, ranking their hypothetical ecosystems according to their stability when faced with a natural or man-made disturbance. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
  • MS-LS2-3. Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
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