Living Things and Their Habitats

Science Year 3/4 Habitat Helpers

The plants and creatures in our amazing world are in danger because their habitats are changing for lots of different reasons. It is your job to help, but how? Governments are trying to make changes but they can only do so much. To make a difference, everyone needs to care enough to make changes. It is your job to persuade them by staging your own Habitat Helpers Fair which will teach people about the problems and what they can do to help. Are you up for the challenge? You will need to become experts on a number of important Green Issues affecting local and worldwide habitats.

Session 1 What is a habitat?

Objectives

You discover that some plants and animals are in danger. Their habitats are changing because of human activities like pollution, climate change, building and farming. You agree to help and your first job is to find out more about a local habitat by doing a survey of the plants and animals that live there.

Science Objectives

i) Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.

Working Scientifically

  1. Make systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, take accurate measurements.
  2. Gather, record, classify and present data in a variety of ways to help answer questions.

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Understand what is meant by the terms habitat and ecosystem and know that these can be affected by the activities of humans.
  • Undertake a habitat survey in the local environment.

Activities

  1. Discover that wildlife can be affected by human activity (Yrs 3&4).
  2. Understand the meaning of key scientific words like habitat, ecosystem, survey and evidence.
  3. Undertake a habitat survey in the local environment (Yrs 3&4).
  4. Review the findings of their survey and consider the interdependence of the living things that make up that particular ecosystem (Yrs 3&4).

Investigation - classify and identify
Show film clip http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/clips/zyx6wxs to introduce the problem and recruit the children’s help to put on a Habitat Helper’s Fair at the end of the block. Discover what a habitat is by exploring the local environment. Conduct a survey of plants and creatures in a micro habitat.
Year 3 - Create a tally chart from a template and use it to make a frequency table.
Year 4 - Draw a frequency table and use the data to create a frequency graph.

Vocabulary
Environment, habitat, ecosystem, pollution, climate change, human activity, survey, evidence, data

Session 2 Perfectly adapted

Objectives

Discover that every plant and animal is perfectly adapted to live in its own particular habitat which is fine unless that habitat changes! Can you sort different changes into natural changes and those caused by humans? In groups you will make some beautiful collages of habitats and the creatures that live there ready to display at the Habitat Helpers Fair.

Science Objectives
i) Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.

Working Scientifically

  1. Report on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions.
  2. Identify differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.

Other Curriculum Areas
Art

  • Improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials (collage).

You Will Need

Additional Resources

  • Access to the internet or printouts of web pages showing creatures and information on the various habitats or non-fiction books on habitats
  • Backing sheets for the group collages - A3 or a little larger (1 per group)
  • Backing sheets for animal collages (A4 or smaller)
  • Collage materials: fabrics off cuts - earthy colours, felt, funky foam, a variety of coloured papers of different shades and textures
  • PVA glue - one pot per table
  • Several brushes or spreaders
  • Paint, scissors, wax crayons, marker pens, string, twigs and shells
  • Glue gun for heavier items
  • Any other suitable collage materials

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Understand that animals and plants are adapted to live in their own habitat.
  • Classify habitat changes as natural or caused by humans.

Activities

  1. Learn that living things are adapted to live in their habitat and describe some ways they do this (Yrs 3&4).
  2. Discover that when habitats change, plants and animals can be in danger (Yrs 3&4).
  3. Play a team game to classify habitat changes as either caused by nature or caused by humans (Yrs 3&4).
  4. Create a habitat collage and describe it (Yr3) or a collage of an animal that lives there and describe how it is adapted (Yr4).

Investigation - classifying and identifying, analysing secondary sources
There are many different world habitats / biomes e.g. ocean, deserts, rain forest, grasslands, tundra, mountains, freshwater lakes each with its own specially adapted plants and creatures. Learn about adaptations to survive in different places. Research a world habitat or biome in groups. Work together in mixed age/ ability groups to create a collage of a world habitat/ biome to display at the H.H. Fair.
Year 3 - Write a fact about your habit to display beside it.
Year 4 - Write a few sentences to explain how an animal is adapted to your habitat.

Vocabulary
Habitat, ecosystem, adapted, adaptation, depend, survival, natural, manmade, changes

Session 3 Climate change

Objectives

What is Climate Change? Find out about the problems of melting icecaps in Antarctica and the link with human production of greenhouse gases. Set up a class experiment to find out what happens to the temperature when glass traps heat. Discover that the world is inside its own greenhouse of gases but we if we all work together we can help to stop it getting worse! Are you up for the challenge?

Science Objectives
i) Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.

Working Scientifically

  1. Make systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, take accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers.
  2. Record findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts and tables
  3. Use results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions.

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Understand what is meant by the term Climate Change and what is causing it.
  • Set up a fair test to record the effect of a greenhouse on temperature.

Activities

  1. Learn that climate change/global warming is caused by greenhouse gases that trap heat (Yrs 3&4).
  2. Set up an experiment to measure how temperature is affected by a greenhouse (Yrs 3&4).
  3. Record the experiment, draw a table of results and a bar graph to show findings (Yr4).
  4. Design a poster to show how we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we produce (Yr3).

Investigation - exploring, fair testing
Climate change is a real problem for lots of habitats. Discover what is meant by climate change and what is causing it. Conduct an experiment to investigate climate change.
Year 3 - Use scaffolded task sheet to help set up and record the investigation.
Year 4 - Encourage more independence in setting up and recording results.

Vocabulary
Habitat, ecosystem, climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, temperature

Session 4 What a waste!

Objectives

You discover that some habitats are being ruined by the things that humans throw away. But what can be done? Quite a lot actually! Can you help 2 families to cut down on their waste by thinking about the 3 Rs - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!

Science Objectives
i) Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.

Working Scientifically

  1. Gather, record, classify and present data in a variety of ways to help answer questions.
  2. Record findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts and tables.

Other Curriculum Areas
Maths

  • Statistics (Y3) - Interpret and present data using bar charts, pictograms and tables.
  • Measures (Y4) - Estimate, compare and calculate different measures (g and kg).

You Will Need

Additional Resources

  • A tub of cubes or counters
  • Weighing scales - one that can weigh several kg (e.g. bathroom scales) and 3 others that can weigh smaller items, e.g. 0-2kg
  • A magnet
  • Calculators
  • A display of thrown away items on a table, work top or floor area
  • A strong black sack containing a different selection of thrown away items

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Understand that the things humans throw away can have a very damaging effect on habitats.
  • Classify and record waste items according to materials and their capacity to be reduced, reused and recycled.

Activities

  1. Discover that habitats can change disastrously because of the things humans throw away (Yrs 3&4).
  2. Play a team game that teaches some shocking facts about waste (Yrs 3&4).
  3. Analyse the items thrown away by a family in a week: Measure the frequency of each material thrown away and create a frequency table and bar graph (from a template) (Yr3) or consider which items can be reduced, reused or recycled (Yr4).

Investigation - classifying and identifying, analysing secondary sources
Remind children that they will soon be setting up their own H.H. Fair to show people the problems of changing habitats – climate change is not the only threat to habitats. Learn a little about deforestation, urbanisation, intensive farming and waste management. Divide into 5 groups to investigate each problem.
Year 3 - Create a large eye shared catching poster on your issue.
Year 4 - Work together to write a series of facts on your issue to display around the poster.

Vocabulary
Waste, landfill, incinerator, reduce, reuse, recycle, plastic, habitat, environment, break down, material

Session 5 Disappearing habitats

Objectives

Human populations are growing and people need more land for buildings, and food production, but what does this mean for habitats? Some animals and plants are in danger! Rainforests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Investigate the effect of deforestation on soil erosion by creating a miniature forest and rain storm. Discover what we can all do to help.

Science Objectives
i) Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.

Working Scientifically

  1. Set up simple practical enquiries and comparative and fair tests.
  2. Report on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions.
  3. Use straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.

Other Curriculum Areas
English Spoken Language

  • Speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English.
  • Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play/improvisations and debates.

You Will Need

Additional Resources

  • For the deforestation demo which needs to be prepared about 6 days ahead of the session: 2 large plastic trays, garden soil (enough to make a sizable heap on each tray), a packet of cress seeds, a small watering can with a sprinkling rose, some Monopoly houses
  • Access to the internet for individual research or printouts from useful websites
  • Flip chart
  • Printed Session 5 Task Sheets (one between three children)

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Plan and conduct a fair test to compare soil erosion on a hill with cress seeds and one without.
  • Work as a team to research an animal that is endangered by habitat loss.

Activities

  1. Discover that some habitats are lost because humans use the land for another purpose (Yrs 3&4).
  2. Set up a fair test to compare the effect of rain on a hill with vegetation and a hill that is bare by making a simulation with soil and cress seedlings (Yrs 3&4).
  3. Research animals endangered by loss of habitat and present findings to the class (Yrs 3&4).

Investigation - analysing secondary sources
How can we help? At the fair, we will need to persuade people to make changes in their lives and do things to help. Your job is to persuade them! Research what people can do to help. Plan ways to show them through displays, activities, speeches, refreshments, e.g. planting, shopping, baking, recycling, make lists of resources needed.
Year 3 - Plan the activities and display items you will need to educate and persuade the visitors.
Year 4 - Write a persuasive speech for someone in the group to give at the fair.

Vocabulary
Deforestation, sustainable, unsustainable, population, species, endangered, threatened, erosion

Session 6 All the fun of the fair!

Objectives

It’s time to test your knowledge on Habitats and all things green by taking part in a quiz. Then it is time to put all your evidence and knowledge together and create an exciting and persuasive display for the Habitat Helpers Fair. Invite your family and friends to the fair and together you will all be able to help look after planet Earth and all its amazing lifeforms!

Science Objectives
i) Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.

Working Scientifically

  1. Report on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions.
  2. Identify differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.

You Will Need

Additional Resources

  • Flip chart (with notes from last session)
  • Large sheets of coloured paper/white paper/card
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Pens
  • Felt tip pens, marker pens, pens, and pencils
  • Rulers
  • Recycled materials, e.g. plastic bottles, plastic packaging, cardboard boxes and cartons
  • Access to the internet and a colour printer

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Consolidate prior learning on habitats by sharing information and setting up learning activities for others.
  • Persuade others to make better environmental choices by presenting scientific arguments backed up with evidence.

Activities

  1. Take part in a quiz on Habitats and Changes that will assess their learning of all the scientific concepts and vocabulary covered in this block (Yrs 3&4).
  2. Create an educational display for others on the theme of habitat conservation and protection of endangered wildlife (Yrs 3&4 working in mixed age groups with higher expectations of Yr4 children with regard to subject knowledge, organisation and leadership).
  3. Attempt to persuade others to make better environmental choices by presenting scientific arguments backed up with evidence (Yrs 3&4).

Investigation - classifying and identifying, analysing secondary sources
Final preparations for the fair. Put your plans into action. Plant, bake, make posters and invitations. Make hedgehog houses, bee hotels etc. practice speeches.
Year 3 /Year 4 - Work together to make all resources and activities for the fair. Have higher expectations of Year 4s.

Vocabulary
All the vocabulary previously introduced in this block