Time: 2:05 – 3:15
Animal Communities and Habitats
Goals and Objectives:
To be able to distinguish between an
ecosystem and a community. (Science 4.5)
Will know that ecosystems include
living and nonliving things and communities only include living organisms.
Will understand that ecosystems
and communities are all around us. (all)
Will give some examples of
various ecosystems and communities. (all)
Will state the importance of an organism’s
habitat. (Science 4.5)
Students will identify what their
own habitat is. (all)
Identify producers, consumers, and
decomposers in a chosen community.
Will make distinctions between
structural and behavioral adaptations in consumers.
Will create a food chain for a
chosen community in small groups.
Interactive animal notebooks, pencil, and
community activity sheet.
Grouping; Adult and/or Peer Supports:
Whole group for anticipatory set,
demonstration, and closure. Students work in pairs or small groups for activity
sheet (instructional aide near “A’s” group, but only assists when necessary).
I. ANTICIPATORY SET
Seated at tables, interactive notebooks opened
to “Animal Communities and Habitats” page.
(Call on individual students who are sitting with their hands raised)
We have been learning about animals and
Why are animals, such as deer, cows, and
even flies important? [They are
all part of our food chain and food webs that affect us; all organisms
depend on each other.]
What are producers?
[Plants; they can use the sun’s energy to
produce their own food. The greatest amount of energy comes from
What are consumers?
[Animals that eat plants or other animals. Consumers can be herbivores,
plant eaters; omnivores, plant and animal eaters; or carnivores, animal
What are decomposers?
[They, like consumers, cannot make their own food, but they differ in that
they obtain their energy by decomposing the bodies of dead things and
consumers eat living things.]
We learned that animals have structural and
behavioral adaptations which help them survive.
What is the difference between a structural and behavioral adaptation?
[Structural adaptations are different ways animals are shaped, their
physical characteristics, which help them survive. For example, appendages
like wings and fins, warning coloration, defensive structures like spines
and antlers, body coverings like feathers and scales, mouth structures like
sharp teeth and special beaks, and so on. Behavioral adaptations are
different ways animals act or respond to their surroundings to help them
survive. For example, migration, hiding, remaining still to avoid a
predator, storing food, defending territory, spinning webs, and so on.]
Objective & Purpose/Rational:
Today, we are going to learn about where
different types of animals and nonliving things live. We will also learn about
the special job each animal has there. This is important to know because
Here is the order of the things we will do.
First, I will explain to you what
animal communities and habitats are.
Second, we will compare our
communities and habitats to those of animals.
Third, you will work with a
partner or in a small group and do a fun activity where you get to create your
II. INSTRUCTIONAL INPUT
If you think of the whole state of
Virginia, there are both living things (i.e. other people, animals, plants)
that you interact with. There are also nonliving things (i.e. rocks,
pencils, desks) that you interact with as well. We can think of Virginia as
one big ecosystem. An ecosystem is an area in which living and
nonliving things interact. Ecosystems can be much smaller than the whole
state of Virginia. They can be as small as a puddle, or as large as the
Earth itself. Any group of living and nonliving things interacting with
each other can be considered an ecosystem.
Lets have Virginia be our ecosystem, and
we’ll make a list of all of the living and nonliving things we interact
with. (Write the word
“Ecosystem” on the board, and just below it, make a chart comparing living
organisms, on the left side, to nonliving things, on the right side). Here
is an example:
Within an ecosystem, there are
communities. The town of
Blacksburg is a good example of a community within our ecosystem of
Virginia. A community is made up of organisms that live together in an
ecosystem. Unlike ecosystems, communities only include living organisms,
not nonliving things. They can be any living organisms, such as people,
dogs, horses, worms, bugs, and so on.
Communities are organized by the energy
flow through the food webs in a community. All organisms in a community
depend on others; they transfer energy along food chains from one organism
to the next. Without this flow of energy, individual organisms cannot
survive and the community collapses.
In every community, there are producers,
consumers, and decomposers. In our community, we are
consumers. We eat plants and/or animals (like when you eat a hamburger,
steak, or a chicken leg).
If Virginia is our ecosystem and Blacksburg
is our community, what do you think our habitat could be? A habitat
is a place that provides food, water, shelter, and space to an organism;
it’s the place an organism lives. Your habitat is your house, because you
have food, water, shelter, and space there. Each of us has a different
habitat since we don’t all live together.
a community on the board and list the producers, consumers, and decomposers of
the community.) Use the following as an example:
(Ask for additional producers, consumers,
As you can see, we have put examples of
different types of producers, consumers, and decomposers that could live in
our community if it was a forest.
All of the listed organisms are very
important to their community, and they depend on each other for energy. We
can make a food chain to show how the organisms in this community are
connected to one another. (Draw
a simple food chain on the board) Here is an example:
(Producer) (1st order (2nd
order (3rd order
Now let’s look at our
consumers only. What type of structural adaptations do they have? What type of
behavioral adaptations do they have?
(Call on students and write adaptations next to
each consumer. Draw a picture to further demonstrate if necessary). Here
are some examples: (1) Snakes have a very important structural
adaptation, their scaly body covering. It protects them when they slither
around on rough surfaces. (2) Birds have a very important behavioral
adaptation; they migrate south in the winter because it get too cold for them to
survive up north.
Students will get an activity
sheet that follows the example done on the board. They need a pencil, and
possibly their interactive notebooks to use as a reference. They can work in
pairs or groups of three or four to complete the assignment, but each student
must fill out his or her own sheet.
Check for Understanding:
(Ask class the following questions, calling on
students one at a time).
True or False: A community includes both
living and nonliving things.
True or False:
Producers are plants. (True)
True or False:
Consumers are plants. (False)
True or False: Both consumers and
decomposers cannot make their own food.
What is the main difference between an
ecosystem and a community? (An
ecosystem in an area where living and nonliving things interact, and a
community is made up of only living organisms).
Give me an example of a behavioral
adaptation on an animal of your choice.
Give me an example of a structural
adaptation on an animal of your choice.
Hand out Community Activity Sheets. Assist students as necessary to complete
the activity. Anna may need some assistance to fully understand what is
expected for the activity. First, let her work with a peer, and if she still is
a bit confused, go over the steps of the assignment.
Ask for volunteers to share their
communities with the class. Discuss the producers, consumers, and
decomposers they chose. They can share their food chains and structural and
behavioral adaptations as well.
What is an ecosystem?
(An area in which living and nonliving
What is a community?
(A community is made up of organisms that live together in an ecosystem).
What is a habitat?
(A place that provides food, water, shelter, and space to an organism; it’s
the place an organism lives).
Draw an example of an ecosystem, community, and habitat in their interactive
Note students who have difficulty applying the
What went well?
Reviewing and giving examples of the activity sheet. Students also enjoyed
being able to work with their peers. They all really grasped the concepts, and
were able to clearly identify various producers, consumers, and decomposers in
What will you do differently next time?
Give more examples of different types of
communities for students to use when completing the assignment (the majority of
the class chose to do a forest). Also, be more encouraging and really try to
get Anna to work with at least one other peer; she wanted to work alone while
the other students were working with peers.
Lesson Plans (Hunter Model)