Interdependency. reflect

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1 reflect Pets need people to feed and play with them. Houseplants need people to give them water. You need someone to make you dinner. In fact, all living things depend on each other to survive! depend: rely on, or need survive: stay alive How do you think plants and animals depend on each other? Animals need plants for shelter. Birds make their nests in trees. Squirrels and insects also live in trees. They live in the trunk, or middle part, of the tree. Plants help keep animals safe. Plant leaves protect animals from the weather like rain or hot Sun. Plants also help smaller animals hide from other bigger animals. The bird lives in a tree. It uses branches to build a nest. The fish hide in the plants. Bigger fish can t find them! 67

2 Animals need plants and other animals for food. Some animals eat leaves or twigs. Others eat tiny plant parts called pollen. Some animals eat other animals. The bee eats plant parts called pollen. The spider eats other animals. Look out! Many animals eat meat. Meat comes from animals. Some animals eat plants. Plants can make their own food. Can you see how the fish below depends on plants, even if it doesn t eat them? A food chain shows how food moves from one creature to the next. The food chain starts with plants. Beetles eat plants. Fish eat beetles. What do you think eats fish? 68

3 Every food chain starts with the Sun. Plants get their energy from the Sun. Look at the pictures of animals eating. Fill in the blanks about food chains. Then circle the word plants in both sentences. People eat hamburgers. Hamburgers are made from cows. Cows eat. Insects eat plants. Fish eat insects. Then, bears eat. Plants need animals too. Animals give off a gas when they breathe out. We can t see the gas. But plants need that gas to grow. They take the gas from the air. They use it to make food. So plants even depend on us! Looking to the Future: Removing Part of a System Plants and animals work together. They make up a system. What if part of a system was removed? The rest of the system would be hurt. Deer eat plants. They also hide in plants. What if people cut down all the plants? What would happen to the deer? Fill in the blank spaces. The deer would because they need plants for and. 69

4 What Do You Know? Look at the picture of the shark. What does it depend on? Think about what it eats. The shark depends on fish for food. Now you try. Look at the pictures below. Decide how each animal or plant depends on another living thing. Use a word from the word box to answer. Use each word one time. Write your answers in the blank spaces. Word Box shelter food gas people The bird depends on fish for. The fish depend on for food. The grass depends on given off by the cow The frog depends on plants for. 70

5 connecting with your child Build a Terrarium Help your child learn more about the interdependency of organisms by building a terrarium. You can build a terrarium out of nearly any container. A clear container works best so that you and your child can more clearly observe the interactions among the plants and animals. Suggestions include glass jars, water pitchers, aquariums, two-liter soda bottles, or large glass bowls. Before beginning, you can take your child outside to observe a few pieces of a local habitat, such as plants, dirt, and insects, or whatever you come across. Have your child make a list of all the things you will need to include in the terrarium to make a mini habitat. As you make the list together, ask your child to explain why each item is being added to the list. Some items will be nonliving, so steer the conversation toward how these things are related to living things. For example, your child may say that soil should be included in the terrarium. Point out that soil is nonliving, and follow up by telling your child that animals like earthworms add nutrients to the soil that are beneficial to plant growth. Your child might say rocks provide animals with shelter. Point out that logs and other plant parts can provide shelter, too. After making your list, gather the materials with your child. It is best to build a terrarium with both plants and animals in order to see the interdependency. Animals can include insects, worms, or small lizards. If necessary, conduct research to find out what the animals you include eat. You might decide to keep the terrarium for a very long time, but if not, be sure to come up with a plan for the living things that you decide to use before building the terrarium. For example, you might decide to re-plant the grasses outside in a garden and release native insects or earthworms back into the wild. Please remember that many animals like frogs, turtles, and lizards that are sold in pet stores cannot be released into the wild. If you decide to use these kinds of animals, plan to keep them as pets for a very long time. 71

6 Assemble the terrarium with your child. Allow students to use creativity when putting it together, but stress the importance of building the terrarium so that the living things can interact best. Ask questions such as, Are there enough leaves for the animal to have shelter? Is there food for the animals? Can air get into the container for the animals to breathe? Can plants get the gas (carbon dioxide) they need? When completed, set the terrarium in a place where your child can often revisit it and look for interdependency between the living things. Stress the importance of caring for the living things by making sure the resources like food and water remain available. Here are some questions to discuss with your child: 1. Why does the terrarium need both plants and animals? 2. Why do the plants and animals in the terrarium need you? 3. What happens if one of the living things in the terrarium is removed? 72

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