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Lesson Title: Search for Life on Other Worlds - Observing and Classifying Life
May 11, 2012

Unit: Life Science - Search for Life

Grade Levels: 4-6

Connection To Curriculum: Science

Teacher Prep Time: 1.5 hours

Lesson Time Needed: 4.5 hours

Complexity Basic

Keywords: animal classification, stereoscopic vision, observations, written observations, accuracy


Animal Antics (p.21)
Per Student
• Animal book pages (p. 24)
• Data Chart (p. 27 )
• Graphing Sheet (p. 28)
• #19 rubber bands
Per Group
• Animal bags
• Classification Chart (pp. 25–26)
• Scissors
• Tape
• Animal Picture Sheet (p. 29)
*Bags may be supplemented with some or all of the following: animal cookies, crackers that look like fish, candy shaped like worms or plastic bugs, spiders, snakes and lizards. No two bags should be the same.

Are Two Eyes Better Than One? (p.47)
Per Group
• Assortment of different size needles
• Thread
• One large cup
• One small cup
• Water
• Paper towels
• Soft ball
• Science journal
• Blindfold (optional)

Creature Feature
• Small, opaque container with lid (one per creature)
• Student Sheet for Activity 1 - The Truth is Out There (one per student)
• A variety of arts and crafts items to make creatures (for example: pipe cleaners, plastic beads of various sizes, shapes and colors, "googly" eyes, feathers, etc.)
• Pencil, highlighter and box of map pencils (one per student)

These activities will challenge students to make observations regarding the physical traits of living things with the intent to classify them through comparisons and contrasts. These traits will then be evaluated to presume the benefits they might afford a creature living in one habitat or another.

Students will:
• Classify animals.
• Understand the benefits of stereoscopic vision.
• Demonstrate their ability to make accurate and detailed observations.
• Describe their observations in written form.
• Draw and identify an unknown using a written description about the unknown.
• Use various types of equipment and tools to aid in making observations.
• Assess other students descriptions for accuracy.

First page of Search for Life on Other Worlds: Observing and Classifying Life

Lesson Guide
Search for Life on Other Worlds: Observing and Classifying Life Lesson
[110KB PDF file]



Lesson Activities and Sequence

  1. Animal Antics
    Student teams will be creating and using a classification chart to separate small cards with animal pictures into the respective animal classification groups. Each group will be awarded points by the teacher for the correct classification and placement of the animal cards.
    Keywords: classification chart

  2. Are Two Eyes Better Than One?
    Students will conduct simple activities that reinforce the benefits animals with two stereoscopic eyes enjoy.
    Keywords: stereoscopic vision

  3. Creature Feature
    This activity is made up of four parts.
    The "Truth is Out There" is an activity that challenges the students to use appropriate descriptive language in a scientific observation.
    The "Who Knows?" activity provides the opportunity for one student to draw a creature being described by another student.
    "Tell it Like it is!" encourages the proper use of scientific instruments in collecting detailed data in an observation.
    The "Truth Revealed" is the assessment phase of the activity that looks specifically at the completeness of the student observations.
    Keywords: accurate descriptive scientific observation

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Understanding of the nature of science.
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
Life Science
• Characteristics of organisms.
• Organisms and environments.


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