Living Things and Their Habitats

Science Year 2 Habitats

How can we work out what’s alive and what’s not? Collect specimens and sort them into categories. Investigate habitats and food chains. Design and make a bug hotel made up of different microhabitats to encourage a variety of creatures you can investigate!

Session 1 Dead or alive!

Objectives

Look at a live spider, a dead spider and a toy spider. What are some of the differences between the live spider and the dead one? And the dead spider and the toy one? How can we work out what's alive and not alive? Is it sometimes difficult to tell? Armed with all these questions, go outside and collect something alive, something dead and something that was never alive. Sort these specimens into three categories.

Science Objectives
i) Explore/compare the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive.

ii) Identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other.

Working Scientifically

  1. Ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways.
  2. Observe closely, using simple equipment.
  3. Identify and classify.
  4. Use their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Looking for living and dead things resource

Additional Resources

  • Fairy lights
  • Clear plastic lidded container boxes
  • Overhead projector
  • Dead spiders and toy spiders
  • Magnifying glasses and microscopes
  • Cameras
  • Torches
  • Sketch books and pencils
  • Paint brushes
  • Freezer bags
  • Collecting pots

Weblinks
BBC Bitesize Dead or Alive: Is it Alive? from www.bbc.co.uk
Minuscule. Vol 4, episode 1 from www.YouTube.com

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Explore outside, and through observation, the differences between things that are living, dead, and have never been alive.
  • Discuss the features of those things that are living, dead and have never been alive.
  • Find, classify and label specimens into categories.
  • Engage in further discussion and thought around these questions: A robot can move, so why is it not alive? If a robot magically came to life, how could we test to make sure this were true?

Activities

  1. Understand the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive.
  2. Understand the key features of things that are living, as opposed to dead.
  3. Be able to categorise specimens according to their features.

Investigation - exploring, sorting, classifying and identifying, problem solving
Explore outside, and through observation, the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive.
Find specimens and explain how they know they are alive or otherwise.

Vocabulary
Living, dead, never been alive, categories, classification, needs air, feeds, grows, reproduces, gets rid of waste.

Session 2 Microhabitats

Objectives

Explore the school grounds on the hunt for microhabitats. Zoom in on the tiny world of these habitats and draw or photograph what is going on there. Consider and draw conclusions about what lives in these microhabitats and why.

Science Objectives
i) Explore/compare the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive.

ii) Identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other.

Working Scientifically

  1. Ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways.
  2. Observe closely, using simple equipment.
  3. Identify and classify.
  4. Use their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.
  5. Gather and record data to help answer questions.

Other Curriculum Areas
Art

  • Use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination.

You Will Need

Additional Resources

  • iPads or other tablets
  • Clip-on macro lenses (Amazon, under £10)
  • Investigating microhabitats resource
  • Clip boards
  • Sketch books
  • Pencils
  • Magnifying glasses or bug boxes with magnifying lids
  • Sticky notes

Weblinks
Microhabitats from www.YouTube.co.uk
BBC Bitesize: Woodland habitats from www.bbc.co.uk

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Explore microhabitats in the school grounds, making and recording observations.
  • Understand that most of the living things they observed live in those microhabitats because they are suited to them.
  • Understand that different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants and try and answer these questions: What microhabitat is best for moss to grow? What living things can be found in muddy microhabitats? Which microhabitats had the biggest variety of living things?

Activities

  1. Observe microhabitats and their inhabitants and understand why they live there.
  2. Understand that different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of living things.
  3. Understand that there are a varied amount of microhabitats with different features and conditions.

Investigation - exploring over time
Photograph or draw the micro-habitats in the school grounds, adding five adjectives to describe them (damp/wet/dry, dark/light).

Vocabulary
Microhabitat, damp/wet/dry, dark/light, features

Session 3 Go large!

Objectives

Research creatures in larger habitats and ask: why do these living things live there? Create dioramas of different habitats and label with research information.

Science Objectives
i) Identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other.

Working Scientifically

  1. Ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways.
  2. Use their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.

Other Curriculum Areas
Design and Technology

  • Make: Select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics.

Extended Writing Opportunities
Information text: Write information labels to go with your diorama based on your research information.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Large habitats and small inhabitants resource
  • Habitat diorama ideas resource

Additional Resources

  • Shoe boxes and materials for habitat dioramas (for example: pipe cleaners, straws, tissue paper, felt)
  • Plastic animal toys
  • Devices and access to the Internet

Weblinks
Microhabitats from www.YouTube.com
BBC Bitesize: woodland habitat video clip from www.bbc.co.uk

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Understand that habitats can be small and local but also very extensive.
  • Play 'Pin the Living Thing on the Habitat' using small images of familiar creatures and large images of habitats.
  • Consider what makes each creature perfectly adapted to their habitat and imagine what would happen if living things wandered into other habitats (lion in the ocean, for example).
  • Create shoebox dioramas for plastic animal toys or laminated images of living things.
  • Annotate the dioramas with researched information.

Activities

  1. Understand that habitats can be small and local but also very extensive.
  2. Understand that creatures are adapted for their own habitats.
  3. Research and consider a specific habitat and recreate it in a shoebox diorama.

Investigation - researching and analysing secondary sources
Create shoebox dioramas for plastic animal toys or laminated images of living things.
Annotate the dioramas with researched information.

Vocabulary
Habitat, savannah, rainforest, tundra, microhabitat, features

Session 4 Food chains

Objectives

Role play food chains in the hall. Understand that, in a healthy habitat, all living things depend on each other in different ways.

Science Objectives
i) Identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other.

Working Scientifically

  1. Ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways.
  2. Identify and classify.
  3. Use observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Understand what is meant by a food chain.
  • Understand that living things need other living things to survive.
  • Role play the interdependence of a food chain and consider what part each plays in its survival.
  • Explore the school grounds, looking for examples of food chains (living things eating leaves, for example).
  • With a magnifying glass and sketchbook, record what they discover when exploring outside.

Activities

  1. Understand what is meant by a food chain.
  2. Understand that living things need other living things to survive.
  3. Observe parts of food chains in the school grounds and discuss what would happen in the rest of the food chain.

Investigation - exploring
Role play the interdependence of a food chain and consider what part each plays in its survival.
Explore the school grounds, looking for examples of food chains (living things eating leaves, for example).

Vocabulary
Food chain, predator, habitats, dependence

Session 5 Designing a bug hotel

Objectives

Drawing on your knowledge of habitats, design a bug hotel! Incorporate many different microhabitats to encourage a variety of guests.

Science Objectives

i) Explore and compare the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive.

ii) Identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other.

Working Scientifically

  1. Ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways.
  2. Identify and classify.
  3. Use observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.
  4. Gather and record data to help answer questions.

Other Curriculum Areas
Design and Technology

  • Design: Design purposeful, functional, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria.

Maths

  • Sequence events in chronological order using language such as: before and after, next, first, today, yesterday, tomorrow, morning, afternoon and evening.

Art

  • Use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination.

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Understand that creating different micro-habitats will encourage a variety of creatures.
  • Understand that some invertebrates like cool, damp conditions and some prefer the sun, so the bug hotel will need to be located to incorporate both conditions.
  • Research the making of bug hotels, the type of habitats included in them and what they might attract.
  • In groups, design a layer of the bug hotel. Incorporate specific micro-habitats agreed for that group by the class.

Activities

  1. Understand that creating different microhabitats will encourage a variety of creatures.
  2. Understand that microhabitats need to vary according to their inhabitants’ needs.
  3. Design a 'room' (microhabitat) of the bug hotel.

Investigation - problem solving
In groups, design a layer of the bug hotel, incorporate specific micro-habitats agreed for that group by the class. Build a bug hotel according to the group designs.

Vocabulary
Micro-habitats, light, dark, shady, damp, dry, seasons, sun

Session 6 Making a bug hotel

Objectives

Using the group designs, build a bug hotel in the school grounds. Create microhabitats layers using found materials: for example, sticks, leaves, tubes, moss.

Science Objectives
i) Explore and compare the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive.

ii) Identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other.

Working Scientifically

  1. Ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways.
  2. Use their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.
  3. Gather and record data to help answer questions.

Other Curriculum Areas

Design and Technology

  • Make: Select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics.
  • Evaluate: Evaluate their ideas and products against design criteria.

Maths

  • Sequence events in chronological order using language such as: before and after, next, first, today, yesterday, tomorrow, morning, afternoon and evening.

Extended Writing Opportunities
Information text: Create posters to inform people about the microhabitats you have created. Laminate your posters and display alongside the bug hotel.

You Will Need

Additional Resources

  • Bug Hotel rooms designs from previous session
  • List of materials needed by each group
  • Gloves and old clothes for the children (or overalls)
  • Materials for bug hotel building (pallets, old canes, flower pots)

Weblinks
How to build a bug hotel from www.wildlifetrusts.org
Excellent and detailed information showing the variety of bug hotels that can be created from www.inspirationgreen.com
RHS instructions on how to build a Bug Hotel from https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Build a bug hotel according to the group designs.
  • Photograph and record the results of the build.
  • Predict what each microhabitat will attract and annotate the photographs with these predictions.
  • Observe over time what happens to the bug hotel.
  • Consider evaluative questions such as: Do any of the microhabitats need adapting? Are they being successful? How do we know? Does the weather or do the seasons make a difference to the occupancy of the bug hotel? Do we predict it will be more or less popular when it is raining? Or in the summer?

Activities

  1. Build a bug hotel according to the group designs.
  2. Make some predictions about what each microhabitat will attract and how different weather conditions and seasons might change their features.
  3. Begin to form questions and make plans to observe and evaluate the microhabitats over time.

Investigation - problem solving
In groups, design a layer of the bug hotel, incorporate specific micro-habitats agreed for that group by the class. Build a bug hotel according to the group designs.

Vocabulary
Micro-habitats, light, dark, shady, damp, dry, seasons, sun