GRADE 4 UNDERSTANDING LIFE SYSTEMS HABITATS AND COMMUNITIES

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1 GRADE 4 UNDERSTANDING LIFE SYSTEMS HABITATS AND COMMUNITIES UNIT OVERVIEW In this unit students will build on their prior knowledge about the needs of plants and animals to explore how habitats work and examine how habitats are communities. With an understanding of how habitats work, students will identify the various roles plants and animals play in a food chain with specific emphasis on how producers (plants) receive their energy from the sun and which is then passed on to consumers (animals). Students will be able to identify animals based on the classifications of herbivore, carnivore and omnivore. At the end of this unit, students will be able to build a complex food chain and demonstrate an understanding of how food chains work. CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS Science and Technology, Grade 4, Understanding Life Systems Habitats and Communities. 2.2 build food chains consisting of different plants and animals, including humans 3.1 demonstrate an understanding of habitats as areas that provide plants and animals with the necessities of life 3.2 demonstrate an understanding of food chains as systems in which energy from the sun is transferred to producers (plants) and then to consumers (animals) 3.4 demonstrate an understanding of a community as a group of interacting species sharing a common habitat 3.5 classify organisms, including humans, according to their role in a food chain 3.6 identify animals that are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores 3.7 describe structural adaptations that allow plants and animals to survive in specific habitats ALL ABOUT HABITATS Lesson 1: Habitats Lesson 2: What s for dinner? Herbivore, carnivore, omnivore Lesson 3: Producer, consumer, decomposer UNIT LEARNING GOALS: Understand the concepts of habitats and communities Demonstrate how a food chain work Identify carnivores, herbivores and omnivores Identify producers, consumers and decomposers Build a complex food chain in a specific habitat and classify organisms according to their role in the food chain

2 Lesson 1: Habitats Lesson Overview By the end of this lesson students will be able to describe what a habitat and habitat community are. They will have learned that habitats are areas that provide plants and animals with their needs. They will be able to describe some structural adaptations that allow plants and animals to survive in a specific habitat. Curriculum Connections Science and Technology, Grade 4, Understanding Life Systems, Habitats and Communities Understanding basic concepts 3.1 demonstrate an understanding of habitats as areas that provide plants and animals with the necessities of life (e.g., food, water, air, space, and light) 3.4 demonstrate an understanding of a community as a group of interacting species sharing a common habitat (e.g., the life in a meadow or in a patch of forest) 3.7 describe structural adaptations that allow plants and animals to survive in specific habitats (e.g., the thick stem of a cactus stores water for the plant; a duck s webbed feet allow it to move quickly and efficiently in water) Learning Goals Describe a habitat and habitat community Explain why plants and animals are important to habitats Explain the basic needs of plants and animals Demonstrate an understanding of structural adaptations Materials Create a book on Habitats (included) Teaching and Learning Strategies What is a habitat? Have students brainstorm what we mean by the word habitat. After this brainstorming session, come up with a simple definition of a habitat a space or environment that provides specific plants and animals with necessities of life (review what essential elements plants and animals need to survive). Explore as a class as many types of habitats as the students can come up with. What plants and animals live in each of these habitats? This can be a cursory examination in order to get students thinking about why certain animals live in a specific habitat and other plants and animals do not.

3 Choose one habitat to explore more closely and identify the types of animals and plants that live in that specific habitat. Examine the needs of the various animals and plants and get students to explore how the plants and animals in a habitat are interdependent. Introduce the concept of habitats as communities. Take a closer look at a few of the plants and animals in your chosen habitat and explore how these animals and plants have adaptations that allow them to live in their specific adaptations. Brainstorm these first before introducing the difference between structural and behavioural adaptations. Structural adaptation polar bear has thick paws and thick coat of fur to walk on ice/snow and keep warm from the cold. Behavioural adaptation polar bear hibernates during the long winter months when there is little food, and feeds on large quantities of food in the spring and summer when food is plentiful. Use the Habitats booklet template so students can individually keep track of their learning on habitats, and gain an understanding of more than one habitat. Interactive Web Resources This website has a factual but entertaining story told by a common garden spider about the Web of Life. This website has activities for students to learn about herbivores, carnivores, omnivores and how to put together a food chain. Hinterland Who s Who from the Canadian Wildlife Services includes profiles of Canadian animal species and videos. This website has a large library of videos on science topics including life sciences for all grades. ACTIVITY: Create a book about Habitats 1) Have students draw their favourite habitat on the title page cover. Remember to include as many plants and animals who live in their habitat as possible. 2) Use the table of content page to track student progress. 3) Have students write the definition of a habitat in their own words. Ask students to write down something more they would like to learn about habitats. Lastly, have students write down what they have learned about habitats (habitats are everywhere, plants and animals depend on each other)

4 4) Have students cut and paste the correct statement with the need characteristic 5) Have students read the text on habitats and communities and answer the questions 6) Have students draw two distinct habitats (forest habitat, ocean habitat, Arctic habitat) showing the interdependence of plants and animals, have them label the type of habitat, and write a sentence about the how a plant or animal is dependent on each other (bird is dependent on the tree for a safe home, owl is dependent upon a mouse for food, rabbit is dependent on the grass for food and the fox is dependent on the rabbit for food) 7) Have the students read the text on animal adaptations and answer the questions 8) Have students draw an animal in its habitat and explain how it has adapted to that habitat

5 HABITATS

6 TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE TITLE DATE 1 What is a habitat?

7 WHAT IS A HABITAT? WHAT I KNOW WHAT I WANT TO KNOW WHAT I LEARNED

8 NEEDS OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS WHAT I KNOW WHAT I WANT TO KNOW WHAT I LEARNED

9 NEEDS OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS Plants and Animals Need: FOOD WATER AIR SPACE LIGHT

10 PASTE EACH STATEMENT WITH THE CORRECT NEED. ADD YOUR OWN THOUGHTS TOO! Animals and plants need to live in a place where they can get the food they need to survive. Plants require light to grow. Light is necessary for animals and people to see. They need water to survive. Space is needed for animals to be able to hunt or gather food, find a mate and raise a family. Plants need space to grow. Air is needed to stay alive.

11 HABITATS ARE COMMUNITIES. The word community can mean a group of people together in one place. Your neighbourhood is an example of a community. All the people in your neighbourhood live in the same area. Your school is also a community. People in communities depend upon each other. In your school, students depend on their teachers to teach them. They depend on the caretakers to help keep the school safe and clean. Caretakers depend on teachers and students to help with their share of the keeping the school tidy. Principals make sure the school runs smoothly. They also need everyone to help. The people in your school are community and they depend on and need each other. Plants and animals that share a habitat are a community too. A habitat community is made up of all the plants and animals that live in a specific habitat. They depend on each other. Animals in a community need the plants. Some plants provide some animals with food. For example, caterpillars eat leaves, rabbits eat grass, and wild pigs eat tree bark and roots. Plants also provide places to hide and places to live. For example, tall grass can provide rabbits a place to hide from wolves. Trees provide a place for birds to build a nest. Plants also need animals. Animal scat fertilizes the soil. This helps the plant get the nutrients it needs to grow. Bees move pollen from one flower to the next. This helps plants produce seeds and fruit so they can reproduce more plants. Some animals also depend on other animals for food. For example, mice provide food for owls. Rabbits provide food for foxes and wolves. Habitats are important to the plants and animals that live in them. Plants and animals in a habitat are also important to one another. For example, if all the trees disappeared from a forest habitat plants would not have shady places to grow. Birds would not have a good place to build a nest away from predators. Also if an animal disappears from a habitat it can have a negative impact on other animals in the habitat. For example, if all the mice disappeared from a meadow habitat, owls might not have enough food to survive. Every living thing in a habitat depends on one another. They help each other survive. (Adapted from Chalkboard Publishing, 2012)

12 THINKING ABOUT HABITAT COMMUNITIES 1) What is a community? 2) What is a habitat community? 3) Who is more important to a habitat community plants or animals? Or are plants and animals equally important? Give reasons for your answer. 4) How many habitat communities can you think of? Name three habitat communities and identify some of the plants and animals that live in them.

13 DRAW TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF HABITATS. LABEL EACH HABITAT. A habitat is a place where animals, plants and people live.

14 Lesson 2: What s for dinner? Herbivore, carnivore, omnivore Lesson Overview By the end of this lesson students will be able to describe the difference between animals that are herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. They will be able to identify animals that are herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Curriculum Connections Science and Technology, Grade 4, Understanding Life Systems, Habitats and Communities 3.6 identify animals that are carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores Lesson Goals Identify animals that are herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores Define the terms carnivore, herbivore and omnivore Materials Blackboard and chalk What s for Dinner? Worksheet Teaching and Learning Strategies Begin by asking students what they had for dinner last night. List their responses on the board. Write a column with PLANTS and another with ANIMALS on the board. Ask students to sort the food items into these two categories. You will need to break down the meals to its various ingredients (hamburger with cheese and milk bun, cheese, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, hamburger patty, milk or spaghetti and meatballs with milk spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, meatballs, milk) and sort the items that way. Talk about how humans get their food from plants and animals (some humans only eat plants vegetarians!). Why do we need to eat? (to grow, get strong, for energy). How about animals? How do they get their energy? (food). Do all animals eat the same things? Hand out the What s for Dinner? worksheets. Ask students, what do we call animals who only eat other animals? (carnivores), how about animals that only eat plants? (herbivores), How about animals that eat both?(omnivores). Have students complete the worksheet. Reading Suggestion: Critter Cafeteria, ask magazine, arts & sciences for kids, May/June 2015, Volume 14, Number 5.

15 WHAT S FOR DINNER? Not all animals eat the same kinds of food. Just like humans, animals have their favourite foods. But, the kinds of foods animals eat depends on the habitats they live in and what is best suited to their needs. We can categorize animals based on what kinds of foods they like to eat. CARNIVORES Carnivores are animals that eat other animals. Lots of animals are carnivores. Eating only meat means these animals have simple digestive systems, and they often have sharp teeth and claws for catching other animals. Animals who eat meat have to be fast and strong because catching a meal can be hard work, especially when it is trying to run away! Here are a few examples of carnivores: Lions eat other large mammals such as gazelle, antelopes, zebra and occasionally water buffalo if they can catch one! Polar Bears eat other arctic animals such as seal, beluga whales and young walruses. Even though seals are a polar bears favourite food, they do eat reindeer, fish and waterfowl when food is scarce. Frogs eat insects, worms and snails. Dragonflies eat other insects. Vultures are scavengers and will only eat dead animals. They are not picky! HERIVORES Herbivores are animals that eat plants. They might eat just grass or leaves, but they can also eat berries, seeds, fruits, flowers and even wood. Plant eaters often have big, flat teeth for grinding up tough stems. Some, including cows, camels and goats, have several compartments to their stomachs. These animals are called ruminants. They chew and re-chew the grass they eat many times before completely digesting it. Here are a few examples of herbivores: Goats eat leaves and grass. Giraffes eat leaves and grass. Bees eat the pollen and nectar from flowers. Koala bears eat only eucalyptus leaves. They live in eucalyptus trees so these animals eat where they live. How convenient!

16 Nutcrackers are birds that eat pine nuts. Monarch caterpillars eat only milkweed. OMNIVORES Omnivores are animals that eat both plants and animals. They have a mix of different kinds of teeth. Here are some examples of omnivores: Bears eat berries in the spring, fish when the salmon run, nuts in the fall and hibernate in the winter eating nothing at all! Robins eat worms, berries and insects. Pigs eat worms, roots, leaves, tree bark and grasses. Ostriches eat plants, grasses, lizards, and insects. Ants eat seeds, nectar, and other insects! Red foxes eat rabbits, but also berries too! Squirrels eat mostly nuts and fruits, but they will eat insects and small birds. Draw a picture of a carnivore, herbivore and omnivore. Be sure to label your drawing.

17 THINK ABOUT IT Now that you have learned a little bit about carnivores, herbivores and omnivores, test your knowledge. Write each animal where it belongs. Add some of your own too! butterfly cat chimpanzee elephant jaguar mouse owl pig shark Carnivore Omnivore Herbivore Where do humans belong? Write humans in the diagram above where they belong.

18 Lesson 3: Producer, consumer, decomposer Lesson Overview By the end of this lesson students will be able to explain the concept of producer, consumer and decomposer. They will be able to construct simple food chains. Students will be able to explain how energy is transferred from one organism to the next. Curriculum Connections Science and Technology, Grade 4, Understanding Life Systems, Habitats and Communities 2.2 build food chains consisting of different plants and animals, including humans 3.2 demonstrate an understanding of food chains as systems in which energy from the sun is transferred to producers (plants) and then to consumers (animals) 3.5 classify organisms, including humans, according to their role in a food chain (e.g., producer, consumer, decomposer) Materials Blackboard and chalk Worksheets (included) Learning Goals Understanding the meaning of producer, consumer and decomposer Describe how the sun provides energy, which is passed on from plant to animals through a food chain. Demonstrate how a food chain works. Learning and Teaching Strategies Begin by asking students, where do plants and animals get their energy? (food, sun) Use the ENERGY FLOW WEB diagram to illustrate how energy flows from one organism to the other: the sun is food for plants, animals eat the plants, other animals eat the animals that eat the plants. This will help students begin to understand the concept of a food chain. Write on the board CONSUMERS, PRODUCERS, DECOMPOSERS. Talk about how animals and plants have very specific roles within the habitats within which they live. Review what was learned in the lesson on habitats. Explore what the terms consumers, producers and decomposers mean when we are talking about habitats. Consumers get their energy from the food they consume, Producers make their own energy (food) and Decomposers get their energy by breaking down dead plants and animals.

19 All animals are consumers (carnivore, herbivore, omnivore). All plants are producers (produce their own food through photosynthesis). Microorganism (bacteria and fungi are the most common) are decomposers (return nutrients to the soil). Ask if they can give examples. Look at each category in more depth. Use the WHOSE WHO? and PRODUCERS, CONSUMERS, DECOMPOSERS, worksheets to consolidate learning. Introduce the concept of a food chain. Use the examples provided in this lesson plan to introduce simple food chains. Help students create more complex food chains by using the Understanding How Food Chains Work sheet as a guide. Use the Farm Food Chain as an example of a more complex food chain. Have students create their own food chains. Provide a template: 1. Choose a habitat 2. List all the plants and animals in your habitat 3. Categorize your plants and animals into consumers and producers 4. Categorize your animals into herbivores, omnivores and carnivores (so you know who eats who) 5. Create your food chain

20 6. ENERGY FLOW WEB The energy from the sun is captured by plants and is stored as sugar. This process The plant uses the energy from the sun to help it grow. is called photosynthesis. The rabbit eats the grass and uses some of the energy stored in the plant as energy to help it grow and survive. The fox eats the rabbit and gets energy that is stored in the rabbit. Energy is transferred from each organism to the other.

21 WHOSE WHO? Write each organism where it belongs. Write your own ideas too. worm sunflower tiger dog bluejay grass bacteria corn caterpillar leaf vulture mushroom hawk apple tree carrot dragonfly snake pumpkin robin Producers Consumers Decomposers

22 Producers, Consumers, Decomposers Fill in the blanks. Draw a picture to illustrate what type of organism is a producer, a consumer or a decomposer. Label your drawings. A is a living thing that gets its energy by breaking down dead plants and animals. Fungi and bacteria are examples. A is a living thing that makes its own food from sunlight, air and soil. A is a living thing that cannot make its own food. They get their energy by eating food. Producer Consumer Decomposer

23 FOOD PYRAMID Humans Carnivores Omnivores Herbivores Plants Microorganisms

24 UNDERSTANING HOW FOOD CHAINS WORK Sun Plants (producers) Herbivores & Omnivores (consumers) Nutrients to the soil Decomposers Carnivores (consumers) Nutrients from the soil to the plants Cycle begins again The sun s energy is captured by plants (producers) through the process of photosynthesis. This creates sugar, which is food for the plants (fruits, vegetables, crops, shrubs, trees, flowers). Plants are eaten by herbivores and omnivores. Through eating the plants, these animals and humans get their energy from the plants they eat, including essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals (remember plants are carbohydrates!). Animals are eaten by carnivores who get their energy from the animals they eat. Meat contains essential vitamins and minerals too (remember meat is protein!). When animals die or animals make waste, microorganisms decompose the dead animals and the waste making it nutrients for the soil. Nutrients in the soil are used by plants as food too!

25 EXAMPLE OF A FOOD CHAIN

26 FARM FOOD CHAINS The farm is a habitat, just like a forest, desert or ocean. It is made up of plants and animals that interact and exchange energy, who depend on each other and who live together in the same area. However, humans control many of the interactions that take place on the farm. Farmers need to know how things on the farm interact in order to make choices about how to raise their crops and animals in the farm environment. For example, if a farmer is raising cattle for human consumption they also need to grow the food that the cattle will eat (hay, corn). Livestock animals (such as cows, sheep, goats, chicken) have many roles in the farm habitat. They eat the corn and hay grown on the farm, they provide milk, eggs, wool, and meat for humans. Their waste can fertilize the soil. Animal manure contains many nutrients that help plants grow. Some farmers collect the manure generated in their barns and spread it on their fields. Wild animals are also part of the farm habitat. Deer and raccoons may eat a farmer s crop, while groundhogs can dig under their fields. Scarecrows are used to scare

27 away wild birds from stealing grain out of the farmer s field. These might scare away birds that eat harmful insects. Frogs, skunks and toads, also help the farmer by eating harmful insects. Farmers use fences to keep out unwanted animals. Cows, goats, horses and sheep often graze for their own food in farm pastures that have clover and grass. The waste they produce is spread over the field and acts like fertilizer. Farmers move the animals between areas of the pasture every few days or so. This lets the livestock eat young, juicy plants and allows the other plants time to grow back. It also allows more different kinds of plants to grow in the pasture too. Some of the food chains that occur on a farm are simple. For example, sunlight gives the grass in the pasture energy to grow, the grass in the pasture is eaten by cows, horses, goats and sheep who get their energy from the plants. Some of these animals, if they are raised for human consumption, will become food for humans. The energy from the animals waste is used as fertilizer and gives the grass in the pasture energy from the soil that is fertilized. Other food chains on a farm are more complex. For example, rabbits, mice, deer, raccoons and other wild animals also get their energy from the grasses, corn and other plants that grow on a farm. The waste from these animals is also broken down into nutrients in the soil and given back to the plants. Some of these wild animals like frogs, skunks and birds eat insects that feed on crops. Many of these animals are eaten by larger wild animals that live in the environment outside of the farm fence. Like all habitats, plants and animals on a farm live together, are dependent on each other, and are connected by their feeding relationship.

28 UNDERSTANDING A FARM AS A FOOD CHAIN Creating Simple Food Chains In a food chain, energy is transferred from one organism (plant or animal or bacteria) to the next. Food chains are a simple way to illustrate who eats whom. 1) Create a food chain that occurs in a farm habitat 2) Create a food chain that occurs in a habitat of your choice 3) Create another food chain of your choice Here are some suggestions of animals and plants to help you create your food chain. Producers Consumers grass cow bear butterfly hay rabbit horse snake wheat humans fox frog berries/fruits fish pig groundhog flowers grasshopper bird goat Use your own ideas too!

29 Draw pictures to create your food chain. Make sure to label your food chain. SUNLIGHT

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