Habitats

Students explore various habitats (forest, desert, water, rainforest, and wetland), investigating how plants and animals survive within them, and compare and contrast the information that they gather.

Unit Summary

In this unit second graders explore different habitats (forest, desert, water, rainforest, and wetland) and investigate how different plants and animals survive in each the habitat. Rather than just learning facts about the habitats, students examine come to understand the connection between parts of each habitat and how those connections are crucial for survival. Using the Next Generation Science Standards as a guide, students are challenged to use the information they learn about different habitats to compare how different plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs. Students will also be challenged to compare the differences in the kinds of living things that are found in different areas and why those differences exist. This unit builds on the first grade Animals unit, in which students learned about different types of animals and their characteristics, and prepares students for a third grade unit in which they will analyze animal adaptations with regard to animal habitats.

This unit uses the Bobbie Kalman Introducing Habitats series as mentor texts. These texts were chosen because of their clear representations of the different habitats and their accessibility. The texts in this unit support student understanding of key genre features while also allowing multiple opportunities to develop fluency. Over the course of the unit the majority of heavy thinking and analysis should be on students. By the end of the unit, students should have a deeper understanding of key components of informational texts, and students should be able to transfer those understandings to other complex informational texts. 

Students will also write daily in response to the text, with a focus on making a correct claim to answer the question. Students will also begin writing longer informational texts in which they synthesize and teach back the content they are learning about the different habitats.

Texts and Materials

Core Materials

  • Book: A Desert Habitat by Bobbie Kalman and Kelley Macaulay (Crabtree Pub Co. 2006)   —  IG470L

  • Book: A Forest Habitat (Introducing Habitats) by Bobbie Kalman and Kelley Macaulay (Crabtree Pub Co. 2006)   —  IG520L

  • Book: A Rainforest Habitat by Bobbie Kalman and Molly Aloian (Crabtree Pub Co. 2006)   —  IG470L

  • Book: A Wetland Habitat by Bobbie Kalman and Molly Aloian (Crabtree Pub Co. 2006)   —  IG480L

  • Book: Water Habitats by Bobbie Kalman and Molly Aloian (Crabtree Pub Co. 2006)   —  IG510L

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Assessment

This assessment accompanies Unit 1 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • How do different plants and animals depend on different habitats for survival?
  • How do plants and animals within a habitat differ? Why?
  • Where do people, animals, and plants find water in different habitats? Why is water important?
  • How do strong readers glean meaning from any text as they read? 
  • How do strong readers articulate a strong central idea after they finish reading? 
  • How do authors make strategic choices with craft and structure to help convey their central idea?

Reading Enduring Understandings

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Key Craft and Structure Features: 

  • Bold Words - Signal important words a reader needs to know or learn in order to understand the text. 
  • Headings - Help a reader know what a section is going to be about, to hint at a central idea, or to help organize a text. 
  • Illustrations and Photographs - Show and add information to the information the author is mostly teaching about the topic. 
  • Captions - help teach a reader more about a particular illustration or photograph.

Transferable Takeaways: 

  • Readers use clues from the text to help figure out the meaning of bold words. 
  • Readers use section headings to anticipate what they will learn in a section of text. 
  • Readers recognize that text features such as pictures and illustrations either support or help build meaning in a text. 
  • Readers use captions to learn more about a particular illustration or photograph. 

The key focus of this unit is on understanding how authors use text features to help convey their central idea. The four core texts in this unit rely on the same text features, therefore students will have the opportunity to build a deeper understanding of how and why authors use text features. Being able to explain the importance of text features will help students unlock the meaning of the texts in this unit, but it will also set them up for success when they tackle more complex texts in the future. Therefore, students should be pushed beyond just naming text features and should be able to explain how they are used. 

Writing Focus Areas

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Informational Writing Focus Areas

  • Use facts and definitions to support a point
  • Use headings to organize a text
  • Use illustrations to add more details
  • Use captions to tell more about an illustration

In this unit students begin to explore how to use informational text features in their own writing. After exploring why authors use particular text features in a mentor text, students will use the text feature in their own writing. This unit serves as a launch to using text features. Students will continue to explore the use of text features in all informational writing projects. 

Writing-About-Reading Focus Areas

  • Correctly answers the question

The focus of this unit is on establishing the routines and procedures necessary for students to write for 15 to 20 minutes in response to the text. In first grade, students wrote for 10 to 15 minutes in response to the text; therefore, students should be accustomed to the routines of writing about reading as a way to deeply engage with content. Explicit modeling, however, should be done to ensure that students are set up for the more rigorous demands of second grade.

Foundational Skills

Phonics and Word Recognition Focus Areas

  • Use known spelling-sound correspondences when reading one-syllable and two-syllable words. 
  • Decode words with common prefixes and suffixes (plurals) 
  • Recognize and read grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words 

All core texts in the unit are written with predominately one-syllable or simple two-syllable words that require students to use knowledge of common spelling-sound correspondences when reading. Words that aren’t easily decodable are often irregularly spelled high frequency words, or genre specific vocab. Therefore, students should practice using decoding strategies and word analysis strategies when reading. Prompts for circulation: 

  • What spelling-sound patterns do you recognize in the word? 
  • How can we sound out the word? 
  • How many syllables does the word have? How do you know? 
  • Sound out each syllable. 

There are few prefixes and suffixes in the core texts, however, the core texts rely heavily on the use of plurals. Therefore, the word analysis focus of this unit should be on understanding and decoding words with plural endings. Teachers should model how to read words with an “s” or “es” on the end. Teachers should also model and explain why some words have an “s” and others have an “es.” When students are reading independently or in partners, circulate to give feedback on students reading plurals correctly. 

Fluency Focus Areas

  • Readers read with expression and volume to match interpretation of the passage
  • Readers use proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage 
  • Readers reread in order to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding 

The main fluency focus of this unit is on reading an informational text with the right expression and intonation to show interpretation of the passage. This includes knowing how to read different text features to highlight the features purpose. This also includes rereading and self-correcting in order to figure out the meaning of domain-specific or tricky words. 

Suggested Supports: 

  • For each core text we suggest the following Close Reading Structure for reading. Days one and two focus on modeling reading, with ample time for students to participate in fluent reading. Day three and four focus on analyzing author’s craft and deeper meaning. 
  • The focus of modeled reading should vary depending on student needs. However, we suggest that modeled reading should focus on building understanding of key genre knowledge understandings, phonics understandings, or fluency understandings. After teachers have modeled it is important that students have a chance to mimic or practice the teacher model. (I.e. if a teacher models how to read bold words and reread to figure out the meaning of the bold words, students should practice reading the same section of texts either as a class or in partners.)
  • Students can participate in fluent reading in a variety of ways: 
    • Echo Reading
    • Partner Reading
    • Shared Reading
  • Each text is read for a minimum of four days. On days three and four when students are reading for fluency and to build a deeper understanding, have students pick a short section of the text to reread in order to self-assess their own fluency. Students can either score their own fluency on the Reading Fluency Rubric, or get feedback from a partner. Partners should use the language of the teaching points when giving targeted feedback. 
  • If desired, pick sections of the text to use as a fluency check-point. Score students on the Reading Fluency Rubric.

Vocabulary

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Literary Terms

what (means a person, place, or thing), where (means a place), who (means a person or animal), why (is a cause to an effect), when (is a time), how (is a process)

Text-based

habitat, living thing, nonliving thing, forest, frost, energy, carnivore, herbivore, omnivore, depend, desert, burrow, nests, wander, salt water, freshwater, ocean, coral reef, shore, tide pool, pond, lake, river, herd, swamp, rainforest, surroundings

Intellectual Prep

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Build Background Knowledge

  • Research and learn about common habitats around the world, including the plants and animals that live in each. Key habitats to research: forests, rainforests, deserts, and water habitats. Be able to explain how different plants and animals depend on the environment for survival.

Internalize the Text and Standards

  • Read unit texts to build background on content and unit essential questions. 
  • Take unit assessment and write exemplar responses for all unit questions. 
  • Understand unit priority reading standards and determine the focus habits of good readers to highlight and reinforce over the course of the unit. Think about what the standards involve and how the standards support comprehension of an informational text.
    • RI2.1 – What does it mean to ask and answer questions? How can the different question words be taught and reinforced? How can this spiral? 
    • RI2.4 – What does it mean to use context clues to figure out an unknown word at this level? 
    • RI2.5 – What text features should students know? How should they use text features? How can this spiral? 
    • RI2.7 – How should students use and interact with images? 
  • Unpack unit priority science standards. What do students need to understand in order to show mastery of the science standards? 
  • Create exemplar response for postcard and writing days using the rubric as a guide for rigor and expectations. 
  • Brainstorm ways for students to internalize vocabulary. Vocabulary internalization is crucial for students being able to access the texts independently or with partners.

Classroom Structures and Routines

  • Determine routines and structures for vocabulary introduction and reinforcement. 
  • Determine routines for writing about reading and feedback during writing about reading. 
  • Determine routines and teaching points for habits of discussion and discussion day at the end of the unit. Use targeted speaking and listening standards as a guide. 
  • Set up a system for how students will use and interact with the world map during this unit and in units to come. 
  • Determine strategies for shared reading and independent reading day. Use foundational reading standards as a guide for determining priority teaching points.

Content Knowledge and Connections

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  • A habitat is a place in nature. Plants and animals live in habitats.
  • All living things need food, water, and shelter to survive.
  • Animals and their behaviors are suited to different habitats.
  • Forests are places where many trees grow. Lots of animals and plants call forests home.
  • Plants make their own food using a process called photosynthesis.
  • Some animals are herbivores (eat plants), and some are carnivores (eat meat).
  • All living things need energy. Energy helps living things grow and move. Energy comes from the sun.

Lesson Map

1

  • All unit texts

    RI.2.1

    SL.2.1

Identify questions about forest, desert, rainforest, and water habitats by asking and answering what questions about key details in a text.

2

  • A Forest Habitat pg. 1 – 15

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.4

    RF.2.4

Identify key information about forest habitats by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

3

  • A Forest Habitat pg. 16 – 31

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.3

    RF.2.4

Determine the central idea of the text by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

4

  • A Forest Habitat — Entire Text

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.5

    RF.2.4

Explain how the author uses various text features to teach us about a forest habitat by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. 

5

Discussion & Writing

  • A Forest Habitat — Entire Text

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.3

    SL.2.1

Create a visual representation of a forest habit that shows how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs.

6

Writing

  • A Forest Habitat — Entire Text

    RI.2.1

    W.2.2

Write a page in an informational book that explains how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs in the places they live by writing complete sentences using key details from the text.

7

  • A Desert Habitat pg. 1 – 17

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.4

    RF.2.4

Identify key information about desert habitats by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

8

  • A Desert Habitat — 18-end

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.3

    RF.2.4

Determine the central idea of the text by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. 

9

  • A Desert Habitat — Entire Text

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.5

    RF.2.4

Explain how the author uses various text features to teach us about a desert habitat by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. 

10

Discussion & Writing

  • A Desert Habitat — Entire Text

    RI.2.1

    SL.2.1

Create a visual representation of a desert habitat that shows how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs.

11

Writing

  • A Desert Habitat — Entire Text

    RI.2.1

    W.2.2

Write a page in an informational book that explains how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs in the places they live by writing complete sentences using key details from the text.

12

  • A Desert Habitat

  • A Forest Habitat

    2-LS4-1

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.6

    L.2.6

Compare and contrast how plants and animals in two habitats depend on their surroundings to meet their needs by identifying key details from two texts.

13

  • Water Habitats pg. 1 – 17

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.4

    RF.2.4

Identify key information about water habitats by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. 

14

  • Water Habitats — 18-end

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.3

    RF.2.4

Determine the central idea of the text by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. 

15

  • Water Habitats — Entire Text

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.5

    RF.2.4

Explain how the author uses various text features to teach us about a water habitat by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. 

16

Discussion & Writing

  • Water Habitats — Entire Text

    RI.2.1

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.6

Create a visual representation of a water habitat that shows how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs.

17

Writing

  • Water Habitats — Entire Text

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.3

    W.2.2

Write a page in an informational book that explains how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs in the places they live by writing complete sentences using key details from the text.

18

  • A Rainforest Habitat pg. 1 – 17

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.4

    RF.2.4

 Identify key information about rainforest habitats by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

19

  • A Rainforest Habitat — 18-end

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.3

    RF.2.4

Determine the central idea of the text by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

20

  • A Rainforest Habitat — Entire Text

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.5

    RF.2.4

Explain how the author uses various text features to teach us about a rainforest habitat by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. 

21

Discussion & Writing

  • A Rainforest Habitat

    RI.2.1

    SL.2.1

Create a visual representation of a rainforest habitat that shows how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs.

22

Writing

  • A Rainforest Habitat — Entire Text

    2-LS2-2

    RI.2.1

    W.2.2

Write a page in an informational book that explains how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs in the places they live by writing complete sentences using key details from the text.

23

  • Pick two habitat books

    2-LS4-1

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.6

Compare and contrast how plants and animals in two habitats depend on their surroundings to meet their needs by identifying key details from two texts.

24

  • All unit vocabulary

    L.2.5

    L.2.6

Distinguish shades of meaning among closely related verbs and closely related adjectives by sorting and interacting with target unit vocabulary.

25

Assessment

26

4 days

Project

  • All unit texts

  • Project materials

    2-LS4-1

    SL.2.1

Design a zoo habitat for a given animal using their knowledge of plant and animal relationships and habitat features from the unit.

Common Core Standards

Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
  • 2-LS4-1 — Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats. Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the diversity of living things in each of a variety of different habitats. Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include specific animal and plant names in specific habitats.

Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • 2-LS2-2 — Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants.

Language Standards
  • L.2.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.2.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.2.4 — Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

  • L.2.5 — Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

  • L.2.6 — Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).

Reading Standards for Informational Text
  • RI.2.1 — Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

  • RI.2.2 — Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.

  • RI.2.3 — Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.

  • RI.2.4 — Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.

  • 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.2.5 — Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.

  • RI.2.10 — By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2—3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Reading Standards: Foundational Skills
  • RF.2.4 — Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.2.1 — Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

  • SL.2.6 — Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.

Writing Standards
  • W.2.2 — Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.

  • W.2.8 — Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.