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Grade 3

3-LS2-1 Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.
              Science and Engineering Practices: Engaging in Argument from Evidence
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Social Interactions and Group Behavior
              Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
 
What could we do?
A visit to a state park or other natural area in any season can allow students to observe animals that live in groups for survival. Flocks of birds, herds of white-tailed deer in winter, schools of minnows along the shoreline, ants in a colony, bees in a hive and hornets in a nest are among the many groups of animals or their signs that can be fairly easily seen. By taking a hike through various habitats, you can have the students observe and record the animals that they see as single individuals versus those that they find in groups. Discuss their results as well as the limitations of this type of sampling. What could be done to be more thorough in their study?
 
Where could we go?
Illinois state parks, city parks, national wildlife refuges, forest preserve district sites, conservation district sites, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites and other locations

3-LS3-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms. 
              Science and Engineering Practices: Analyzing and Interpreting Data 
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Inheritance of Traits; Variation of Traits
              Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns
 
What could we do?
Students could go for a walk in a natural area in spring to look for adult animals and their offspring. Geese and ducks make good subjects for observation, although do not try to get close to these animals or touch them. Geese and ducks are present statewide at many locations. Students can observe how the adults and offspring are similar and different. If a source of water is at the site, you might be able to find tadpoles of frogs and salamanders. The adults may be harder to find, but you can use field guides to look at pictures of adult frogs and toads. It will be difficult to determine which plant was parent to another, unless a young plant is growing from the base of the parent plant, so with plants, you may want to look for varying traits between the same species of plants: leaf shape; height; pattern of bark; flower structures and other characteristics. Students can collect data using digital tools and possibly multiple data collections experiences. They draw conclusions from their field trip observations.
 
Where could we go?
Illinois state parks, city parks, national wildlife refuges, forest preserve district sites, conservation district sites, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites and other locations

3-LS4-3 Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well and some cannot survive at all.
              Science and Engineering Practices: Engaging in Argument from Evidence
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Adaptation
              Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect, Science is a Human Endeavor
 
What could we do?
Students could study Illinois species and their needs in the classroom then take a field trip to a natural area. At the natural area, the students could visit different habitat types and propose which of the species they studied would live there and why. They should look for the requirements of the species within the habitat. Do they find all of them?  Another way to do this activity is to observe species and their adaptations in each habitat. Make a list of traits at each habitat that seem to be important to the inhabitants. Are there any differences between the organisms in the different habitats? Could an organism switch easily from one habitat to another? Pick an organism that seems to be particularly well-suited to its habitat. Describe what adaptations it would need to develop to live in a different habitat.
  
Where could we go?
Illinois state parks, city parks, national wildlife refuges, forest preserve district sites, conservation district sites, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites and other locations