Animals

In this science-based unit, students explore different animals and animal adaptations by reading informational texts, working to identify main topics, retell details and write responses to the text.

Unit Summary

In this science-based unit, students begin their exploration of animals and animal adaptations. Using next generation science standards as a guide, students explore three main topics: how different animals use their body parts and senses in different ways in order to survive, the ways in which the behavior of different animal parents and offspring help the offspring survive, and the similarities and differences among individual animals of the same kind. This unit is part of a larger progression on understanding animals and the animal kingdom. In kindergarten, students learn about how animals meet their basic needs for survival and how that varies depending on the season. In second grade, students learn about different habitats and how animals in the habitat rely on the environment for survival. Then in third grade, students study animal adaptations and the different ways animals adapt in order to survive, especially when threatened by environmental changes. It is our hope that this unit, in combination with others in the sequence, will help students develop a deeper understanding of the animal kingdom and life science. 

This unit includes a mix of read-aloud texts and shared-reading texts. Students will focus on different skills depending on the method in which the text is consumed. During read aloud, students will refine their skills in describing the connection between ideas and pieces of information, figuring out the meaning of unknown words, distinguishing between information provided by the pictures and information in the text, and identifying the reasons an author gives to support points in a text. During shared reading, students will predominately focus on identifying the main topic of a section of a text, retelling key details that match the main topic, and using text features to locate key facts and information. Because the shared reading days are meant to be student driven, not teacher driven, the target tasks are at a more accessible, independent level for students. There are also not a lot of key questions already planned for shared reading days. Questions should be written and spiraled in based on student needs and student reading levels. 

In writing, this unit builds on the work students did in unit one. Students will continue to write daily in response to the text, with a focus on correctly answering questions and adding an inference or critical thinking. 

Texts and Materials

Core Materials

Supporting Materials

See Text Selection Rationale

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Assessment

This assessment accompanies Unit 4 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • What are some ways that plants and animals adapt to different habitats? 
  • How do animals use their body parts to help them survive? Do all animals use their body parts in the same way? Why? 
  • In what ways do parents and babies interact to help each other survive? 
  • We know that parents and offspring share similar characteristics. Does that mean that all animals in a species are the same?
  • What makes Steve Jenkins’s texts unique? 

Writing Focus Areas

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  • If the expectations and routines for writing about reading were established in unit 1, students should be able to write for 15 minutes daily in response to the text with minimal teacher support and intervention. Therefore, in this unit, students will begin to focus on correctly answering a question by answering the question and adding an inference, critical thinking, or facts to show understanding of the question. Students should be able to write multiple sentences in response to the text and should be receiving feedback on both the content and the structure of their answers. 
  • Structured feedback should be differentiated based on the needs of the students. Students should always know what one to two things they are working on to improve their writing. 

Language Focus Areas

Spiral two to three structure focus correction areas based on data and student needs.

Writing-About-Reading Focus Areas

Correctly answers the question with an inference, critical thinking, or facts that show a basic understanding of the question or text 

Vocabulary

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Text-based

adapt camoflauge consume companion croak desert defense devour disguise differences forest food chain food web gills habitat helpless jungle linked pond prey predators reptiles savanna scales similarities species starvation survive surroundings thrive threatened tide pool unusual venom warn

Academic

connection fact reason topic

Related Teacher Tools:

Intellectual Prep

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Build Background Knowledge

  • Review/research the different ways animals adapt for survival. 
  • Review/research the different ways animal parents and babies interact to help each other survive. 
  • Review/research shared characteristics between parents and offspring, and why sometimes parents and offspring have different characteristics. 
  • Research and learn about Steve Jenkins.

Internalize the Text and Standards

  • Read all unit texts, including the animal facts at the end of the texts, in order to deepen understanding of unit content and essential questions. 
  • Take unit assessment. 
  • Internalize unit priority standards (RI.1.3, RI.1.6, RI.1.7). What does mastery of the standard look like in first grade?
  • Determine a habits of discussion focus for the unit based on targeted speaking and listening standards. Create a plan for how to introduce and reinforce the habits over the course of the unit. 
  • Plan routines and structures for shared reading days. 
  • Brainstorm and plan for projects to help students deepen understanding of unit content and materials. 

Content Knowledge and Connections

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  • Explain that different animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, and move from place to place, and to seek, find, and take in food, water, and air. 
  • Describe how adult animals can have young and that the parents engage in behaviors that help the offspring survive. 
  • Explain that animals have body parts that capture and convey different kinds of information needed for growth and survival. 
  • Describe how different animals respond to different behaviors to help them survive. 
  • Explain that individuals of the same kind of animal are recognizable as similar but also vary in many ways. 

Lesson Map

1

  • What Do...

  • I See...

  • Living Color

  • What Do...

  • Time to Eat

  • My First Day

  • Sisters and Brothers

  • Big and Little

    RI.1.6

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.6

Identify who Steve Jenkins is and what makes his books special, by asking and answering questions about key details during class discussions. 

2

  • What Do...

    1-LS1-1

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.7

Explain how different animals use their body parts and senses in different ways, by using illustrations and details in a text to make connections between pieces of information in a text. 

3

  • I See...

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.7

Compare and contrast two habitats and what animals and plants need in order to survive in the habitat, by using illustrations and details in a text to compare and contrast key ideas. 

4

  • I See...

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.7

Describe how different animals have adapted to the environment in order to survive, by using illustrations and details in a text to make connections and inferences about ideas. 

5

Project

    1-LS1-1

    SL.1.1

Identify habitats and animals in the area immediately surrounding the school and explain what adaptations help them to survive.

6

  • All unit texts

    1-LS1-1

    SL.1.2

    SL.1.6

    L.1.6

Defend if all animals need the exact same body parts in order to survive, by participating in a class discussion and then writing a well-structured informational essay using details from multiple texts. 

7

  • What Color Is Camouflage?

    RI.1.7

Explain what evidence the author includes to support the idea that “whether hunter or hunted, predator or prey, colors and camouflage help an animal survive,” by identifying the reasons an author gives to support a point. 

8

  • Living Color — Red, Blue, Yellow

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.6

    RI.1.7

    SL.1.1

Debate if ocean animals that are red are more likely to survive than ocean animals that are blue or yellow, by using illustrations and details to draw conclusions about key details in a text. 

9

  • Living Color — Green, Orange, Purple, Pink

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.6

    RI.1.7

    SL.1.1

Debate if animals that are green are more likely to survive in the rainforest than animals that are orange, purple, or pink, by using illustrations and details to draw conclusions about key details in a text.

10

  • Weird Sea Creatures — pp. 4–13

    RI.1.2

    RI.1.5

    RI.1.6

    RI.1.7

    RF.1.4

Explain what they learned about camouflage, by using words and pictures to retell key details. 

11

  • All unit texts

    1-LS1-1

    SL.1.2

    L.1.6

Defend if camouflage and color are incredibly important for animal survival by participating in a class discussion and then writing a well-structured informational essay using details from multiple texts.

12

  • What Do...

    1-LS1-1

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.7

Explain how and why animals use their body parts for survival, by using illustrations and details to make connections between ideas in a text. 

13

  • Who Eats What? — pp. 4-28, 32

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.7

Explain what reasons an author includes to support the idea that changes in the food chain impact the entire chain and that it’s important to take care of the earth, by using illustrations and details to draw conclusions about key details in a text. 

14

  • Red-Eyed Tree Frog

    RI.1.3

    SL.1.5

Create a food web that shows the connection between the different animals in the text and how the red-eyed tree frog has adapted in order to survive, by describing the connection between ideas or pieces of information. 

15

  • Time to Eat

    1-LS1-1

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.6

    L.1.6

Explain how different animals have adapted in order to get the food they need to thrive and not starve, by determining the meaning of unknown words and details in a text. 

16

Discussion

  • All unit texts

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.6

Take a stand on if the food chain is unfair by participating in a class discussion and then writing a well-structured informational essay using details from multiple texts.

17

  • Weird Sea Creatures — pp. 14-25

    RI.1.2

    RI.1.5

    RI.1.6

    RF.1.4

Explain what you learned about food chains and eating, by using words and pictures to retell key details. 

18

  • Frogs — pp. 1-23

    RI.1.2

    RI.1.5

    RI.1.6

    RI.1.7

    RF.1.4

Explain what you learned about frogs, by using words and pictures to retell key details in a text. 

19

Discussion

  • All unit texts

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.6

Defend a statement about frogs, by participating in a class discussion and then writing a well-structured informational essay using details from multiple texts.

20

  • My First Day

    1-LS1-2

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.7

Describe the ways that parents and babies interact to help each other survive, by using illustrations and details to make connections between details in a text. 

21

  • Sisters and Brothers — One at a Time–Playing Together

    RI.1.2

    RI.1.5

    RI.1.7

Defend if you think that siblings in the animal word are the same as human siblings by identifying the main topic and key details of a text. 

22

  • Sisters and Brothers — Learning Together–End

    RI.1.2

    RI.1.3

Defend if you think that siblings in the animal word are the same as human siblings by identifying the main topic and key details of a text. 

23

  • Big and Little

    RI.1.2

    RI.1.7

Describe if all animals in a species are the same by using illustrations and details to identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text. 

24

  • Frogs — pp. 24-32

    RI.1.2

    RI.1.5

    RI.1.6

    RF.1.4

Describe what they learned about frogs, by using illustrations and details to identify key details about a topic. 

25

Writing

  • All unit texts

    1-LS1-1

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.6

Defend if young animals always look exactly like their parents and if they are able to do everything their parents can when they are born, by writing a well-structured informational essay using details from multiple texts.

26

  • Lizards — pp. 4-32

    RI.1.2

    RI.1.5

    RI.1.6

    RF.1.4

Describe what they learned about lizards in each section, by using illustrations and details to retell key details of a text. 

27

Writing

  • All unit texts

    1-LS1-1

    SL.1.1

    L.1.6

Defend a statement about lizards by writing a well-structured informational essay using details from multiple texts.

28

  • All unit texts

    RI.1.9

    SL.1.1

Identify basic similarities in and differences between texts by Steve Jenkins and the National Geographic Readers. 

29

Project

  • Project materials

  • What Do...

  • I See...

  • Living Color

  • What Do...

  • Time to Eat

  • My First Day

  • Sisters and Brothers

  • Big and Little

    RI.1.6

Create an animal collage book cover in the style of Steve Jenkins.

30

Discussion

    RI.1.2

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.6

Discuss and analyze unit essential questions by stating a claim and supporting the claim with evidence from the entire unit. 

31

Assessment

32

4 days

Project

  • Project materials

    1-LS1-1

    SL.1.3

    SL.1.4

    SL.1.5

Apply knowledge of habitats and animal survival in order to create and present an imaginary animal adapted to a specific environment.

Common Core Standards

From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • 1-LS1-1 — Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs. Clarification Statement: Examples of human problems that can be solved by mimicking plant or animal solutions could include designing clothing or equipment to protect bicyclists by mimicking turtle shells, acorn shells, and animal scales; stabilizing structures by mimicking animal tails and roots on plants; keeping out intruders by mimicking thorns on branches and animal quills; and, detecting intruders by mimicking eyes and ears.

  • 1-LS1-2 — Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive. Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns of behaviors could include the signals that offspring make (such as crying, cheeping, and other vocalizations) and the responses of the parents (such as feeding, comforting, and protecting the offspring).

Language Standards
  • L.1.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.1.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.1.4 — Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

  • L.1.5 — With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

  • L.1.6 — Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).

Reading Standards for Informational Text
  • RI.1.1 — Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

  • RI.1.2 — Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.

  • RI.1.3 — Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.

  • RI.1.5 — Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.

  • RI.1.6 — Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.

  • RI.1.7 — Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.

  • RI.1.9 — Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).

  • RI.1.10 — With prompting and support, read informational texts appropriately complex for grade 1.

Reading Standards: Foundational Skills
  • RF.1.4 — Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.1.1 — Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups

  • SL.1.2 — Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

  • SL.1.3 — Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.

  • SL.1.4 — Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

  • SL.1.5 — Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

  • SL.1.6 — Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation.

Writing Standards
  • W.1.2 — Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

  • W.1.5 — With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

  • W.1.8 — With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.