Organisms Next Gen Unit Overview

Traditionally, in first grade, I've taught animal classification and the human body for our state science standards.  But with the introduction of the Next Gen Science Standards, life science has shifted to organism structures and heredity.  So, I've developed a new unit to align better with these newer standards.  And I'm SUPER pumped about how we are learning our new big idea: "Organisms have tools for survival!"

Here's an overview of what's covered in our organisms unit.
{Affiliate links are included in this blog post to support this website and my chocolate addiction! :)}

Week 1: What Are Organisms?

The first week of the unit we learn a lot of vocabulary needed for this unit.  We learn what the difference is between living and non-living things through this sort (a digital interactive version is available too!) and this fun organism song.

Then, we start charting what plants and animals can do, have, and need to survive.  We finish this week by comparing plants and animals to gain a deeper understanding of these two categories of organisms.

Week 2: How Are Offspring Like Their Parents? How Do Offspring Learn To Survive?

During the first part of the second week, we learn how babies are like their parents.  We read about and chart names for different animal babies and how they learn to survive.  And we play find your partner with baby animals and their parents.

Then, we research our own traits that we get from our parents.  We send home a family traits survey (with several options for atypical families with adopted or fostered children, etc...).

After the family traits survey homework is returned, we do a carousel activity to tally our trait data for everyone in our class by observing our inherited traits.

And during our math time, we graph our inherited traits!

Week 3: What Do Organisms Use To Survive?

This week we start off by learning about plant parts.  But our focus is to go deeper and learn their jobs for helping the plant survive.  We make a plant parts jobs flip book with this adorable craft option!


Then, we shift to animals and read about adaptations that animals have made to survive.

We set up adaptation stations around the room for kids to rotate through and explore and experience 8 different adaptations animals make.  You can read more about this in depth in this blog post (coming soon!)

One of my favorite activities during these stations is matching animal adaptations to ways humans mimic those adaptations.  It's a great way to build up that background knowledge for the upcoming STEM project later in the week!

STEM Challenge: Copy Cat

During the end of week 3, we work on our STEM challenge!  This one is called copy cat because students are mimicking an organism adaptation to build something to solve a human problem.  This challenge come straight from the Next Gen Standards.

I'm going to be honest here, ya'll.  When I first saw this engineering standard, I was like, "What the heck????"

No lie.  #realtalk

But once I got into creating this unit, I actually really, TRULY love this challenge now.  I feel like we have set up our first graders with enough background knowledge, examples, and experiences with adaptations to help them be successful with this challenge.

Want to see how this challenge works exactly?  And how to make it attainable for littles?  Read this blog post for more detail! (coming soon!)  Here's a sneak peak...

Organism Trade Book List

Want links to the trade books I use in this unit?

Find all of the affiliate links here!
What's Alive
Animal Babies
Animal Babies On the Farm
All In The Family - heredity
How Animal Babies Stay Safe
Born in the Wild
Raising Babies: What Animal Parents Do
Are You My Mother?
The Ugly Duckling
Experiment with Parts of a Plant
The Tiny Seed
What If You Had Animal Feet?
What Do You Do With A Tail Like This?

As always, snag this unit for 50% off for the first 48 hours!  Or grab this bundle of all Next Gen Science Standard Units for First Grade and save!
   


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