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Kindergarten

Performance Expectations
K-LS1-1 Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals need to survive.
Science and Engineering Practices: Analyzing and Interpreting Data 
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
              Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns

What could we do?
Take the students outdoors to observe animals and their behaviors. Squirrels, birds and insects provide good subjects to observe and are accessible in a variety of habitats. Plants can be observed, too. Watch to see what types of foods are eaten by the animals. Compare with the plants that are present. How are the plants obtaining food? If you can visit a water source, you can observe the animals that come there to drink and possibly some of the animals that live in the water. The plants can’t move to go to a water source. How do they obtain water, or do they need it? Students can make observations and predictions to be tested in the classroom. Students can observe squirrels and record the activities they see these animals doing. Students can hypothesize what the observed squirrel behaviors are used for and how they help the animals to survive. Students can look for behavioral differences between different types of squirrels and between squirrels and other animals.
 
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 where animals and plants are easily observed outdoors in natural habitats

 


K-ESS2-2 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals can change the environment to meet their needs.
Science and Engineering Practices: Engaging in Argument from Evidence
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Biogeology; Human Impacts on Earth Systems
              Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models

What could we do?

Take the students outdoors to observe animals and their behaviors. Squirrels, birds and insects provide good subjects to observe and are accessible in a variety of habitats. Plants can be observed, too. Students may see squirrels digging holes and burying nuts. They might see squirrels cutting branches and carrying them to build a nest. Birds can be observed building nests. You may find holes that animals have dug in the ground or excavated in a dead tree. You could find a crayfish burrow. Take a silent walk and see what evidence the students can find to show that animals have modified their environment. Then walk the same route and let them show you what they found. Plants can be observed changing their environment, too. Wherever a plant grows, it changes the environment in some manner. Its seeds can spread into new areas and change that environment as the new plants grow. The shade produced by plants can cool the environment under the plants. Plant roots can hold soil in place. 

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 where animals and plants are easily observed outdoors in natural habitats


K-ESS3-1 Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals and the places that they live.
Science and Engineering Practices: Developing and Using Models
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Natural Resources
              Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models

 
What could we do?
Students cannot make a representative model of a system that they are unfamiliar with. By taking them to one or more habitat types on a field trip, they can walk through the habitat and observe the components of the habitat. They can look for animals or their signs. They can see where plants live and how different habitats contain different plants and animals. Woodlands, wetlands, prairies and urban habitats can be compared. Look for plants, insects, squirrels, birds and other organisms and their signs.  
 
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 where animals and plants are easily observed outdoors in natural habitats


K-ESS3-3 Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air and/or other living things in the local environment.
Science and Engineering Practices: Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Human Impacts on Earth Systems; Developing Possible Solutions
              Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect

What could we do?
Students could go on a field trip to find examples of the impact of humans on the environment.  Even while being transported to the field trip site, the impacts of humans can be seen everywhere. A walk through a park may show many ways that humans have impacted the environment in both positive and negative manners. Let students show you what they think are the human impacts. Ask them why they selected these examples. Ask them to discuss why humans have impacted the environment in this manner. Take some of the negative examples and discuss how they could be alleviated. Talk about some of the positive impacts of humans on the environment, too, and why they are good.
 
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