Plants and Animals

Next Generation

Resources by Investigation

Resources by Investigation
Investigation 1: Grass and Grain Seeds
Students engage with the phenomeon of plant growth from seeds. They plant miniature lawns with ryegrass and alfalfa. They mow the lawns and observe the phenomenon of how grass and alfalfa respond to cutting. They plant individual wheat seeds in clear straws and observe early growth of plants, as well as variation in the growth of the same kind of seed. They conduct a schoolyard plant hunt and continue to look for variation. They use media to look at variation in kinds of animals and individuals of the same kind.
Investigation 1, Part 3: Wheat
Students plant seeds of an important grain: wheat. The wheat is carefully positioned in transparent straws with pieces of paper towel to provide support and water to the seeds. Students observe what happens to the plants and record changes by drawing pictures and making bar graphs.
Investigation 1, Part 4: Variation in Plants and Animals
Students explore the diversity of plants living in an area of the schoolyard. They work in pairs to collect leaf samples from a variety of plants. The class sorts the collected leaves by kind to come up with the number of different plants sampled. They look for differences between types of plants and variation in leaves of one kind of plant. They use media to look at variation in animals.
Investigation 2: Stems
Students observe and describe the phenomenon of making new plants from stems of houseplants. They put sections of stems into water and look for evidence that a new plant is forming. Stem pieces that develop roots are planted to make new plants. Students plant pieces of potatoes (modified stems) and observe them grow.
Investigation 2, Part 1: Rooting Stem Cuttings
Students try to make new plants from the stems of mature plants. Each student works with a part of a plant—a stem, a leaf, or a stem and leaf. They put the parts into water and observe them over time. Students draw and describe in words what they observe.
Investigation 2, Part 2: Spuds
Students cut white potatoes (modified stems) into pieces and plant them in soil. After 2–3 weeks, students observe the results and discuss the role of potato eyes in producing new plants.
Investigation 2, Part 3: New Plants from Cuttings
Students select the cuttings that show promise for developing into new plants and plant them in soil.
Investigation 3: Terrariums
Students set up terrariums using seeds and plants from Investigations 1 and 2. They add local animals such as snails and isopods and provide for the needs of the plants and animals. Students learn about other animals and plants through readings and multimedia and compare and sort structures and functions. Through an outdoor simulation, students learn about variations in how squirrels store food for winter survival. Students read about how engineers learn from nature to solve human problems.
Investigation 3, Part 1: Setting Up Terrariums
Students build a terrarium with soil and the seeds and plant cuttings from Investigations 1 and 2. They construct a map showing the location of the seeds and plants. Students review what plants need to live, and read about what animals need.
Investigation 3, Part 2: Animals in the Terrarium
Students care for the terrarium and record changes they observe over time. They add food, water, shelter, and small animals such as isopods and snails collected from the schoolyard. Students review the concept of habitat, and read about different habitats around the world.
Investigation 3, Part 3: Habitat Match
Students match plant and animal cards to various habitats. They learn that plants and animals have structures (including sensory structures) and behaviors that help them live in their habitat. They review the needs of living things and see how habitats provide for these needs. Students view a video that shows the differences between desert and rain forest habitats.
Investigation 3, Part 4: Squirrel Behavior
Students engage in a simulation activity to investigate the food-storage strategies of two kinds of animals—red squirrels and gray squirrels. Students read about how scientists and engineers study animal behavior and structures and apply what they learn to solve human problems (moving in water; climbing trees and poles; keeping warm in cold water or air). Students apply their own ideas.
Investigation 4: Growth and Change
Students plant bulbs in moist cotton and observe and describe the phenomenon of young plant development. They plant parts of roots—carrots and radishes—to discover which parts will develop into new plants and compare young to parent plants. Students adopt a schoolyard plant and compare it to other plants. They use media to learn about how behaviors of animals help their young to survive. Students describe the phenomenon of how young organisms resemble their parents.
Investigation 4, Part 1: Planting Bulbs
Students observe garlic or onion bulbs and plant them in a cup with a bit of cotton to hold them in place. They observe the emergence of the roots and the shoot.
Investigation 4, Part 2: Planting Roots
Students investigate plants with edible roots—carrots and radishes. After observing the parts—leaves, stems, and roots—students cut the plants into three or four parts and plant them in vermiculite to see if they will produce new plants. After observing the changes for 2–3 weeks, students draw conclusions about the likelihood of producing new plants from parts that are usually found underground.
Investigation 4, Part 3: Plant and Animal Growth
Students adopt schoolyard plants to observe throughout the school year. They document their observations in their notebook and discuss the living and nonliving things in the plants’ habitat. Students read and observe media about animals and their young. They discuss the patterns of behavior of parents and young that help the young to survive.