Focus: Plants and animals, including humans, have vital needs that must be met for the organism to live and grow. All living things need water and air. Plants also need light, mineral nutrients, and space to grow. Animals, including humans, need food and shelter, much of which they get from plants. In getting what they need, plants and animals change their environments.

In this unit, the guiding phenomenon is an examination of the before-and-after stories of the effects of living things on the environment to see how the environment is changed. The unit builds on Unit 2, in which students explored the needs of plants and animals (PE K-LS1-1 and K-ESS3.1). In Grade 1, students will develop understanding of plant and animal survival, and in Grade 2, students will explore organisms and their habitats more deeply.

Students explore concepts that include the following:

  • Organisms get what they need from the environment.
  • Damaging environmental changes can affect organisms.
  • Environmental changes affect the needs of plants, animals, and humans.
  • There is evidence of plants, animals, and humans causing changes to an environment.
  • There are both negative and positive ways in which humans impact the environment.
  • There are practical ways to protect the environment.

Scientists, including biologists, zoologists, geologists, and climatologists, study how living things affect the land, air, and water. This series of lessons incorporates learning goals that support scientific principles and practices, such as asking questions, arguing with evidence, analyzing and interpreting data, recognizing cause and effect, and planning and carrying out investigations.

 Number of Lessons: 5

Instruction Time: Each lesson is divided into 4-5 lesson segments. We recommend that you plan for about 30-45 minutes for each lesson segment. We further recommend that you spend a minimum of twenty-four days and a maximum of thirty-seven days teaching the Changing Environments unit so that you have time to teach the other units in the Grade K CKSci series.

Please note that a Pacing Guide is provided within the Teacher Guide so teachers can map out customized instructional days for this unit.

Additional Search Terms:

animal needs • plant needs • seasons • environment • fire • drought • flood • sunlight • living space • shelter • conserve • pollution • recycle • reduce • reuse • ecosystem • eco-friendly • soil scientist • nonfiction • informational text

CKSci Grade Levels: CKSci units are correlated to topics at the grade levels specified in the K–5 Core Knowledge Science Sequence.

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