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  Organisms (3rd Edition)
Grades K2
Using the natural curiosity that young children have about plants and animals, Organisms asks students to develop observational skills by caring for and looking at organisms. Students create and maintain an aquarium and a terrarium; making first-hand observations of plants and animals allows students to develop an understanding and sensitivity for living things. The woodland habitat that students build contains pine seedlings, moss, pill bugs, and Bess beetles or millipedes. The freshwater habitat they create consists of Elodea and Cabomba plants, pond snails, and guppies. Students are able to observe how the animals and plants coexist and determine the basic needs of every living thing as well as needs that are unique to each organism. In a final lesson, students apply what they have learned about organisms to humans, exploring how human beings are similar to and different from other living things.

Benefits of using this kit:

STC kits contain all of the materials you’ll need to teach the unit
STC Program Units focus on building scientific and engineering habits of mind utilizing science and engineering practices within every lesson
Supplemental literacy pieces in the Teacher’s Guide, STC Literacy Series™, and KIDS DISCOVER connect classroom content to the real world
2-use kits and refurbishment sets provide enough materials for a second non-concurrent use

Lesson-by-Lesson Summary

Lesson 1 gets students thinking about what living things need to live and be healthy and about the ways all plants and animals are alike and different. A pre‑unit assessment lesson, it provides you with a sense of students’ present thinking about the unit’s central themes.

Lessons 2 and 3 introduce students to the first organism they will study: plants they grow from seeds. Students create an observing table, a tool that helps them sharpen their observation skills. Throughout the unit, children consult and add to this table. This activity encourages them to use more than one sense as they observe their different organisms.

Moving from how a seed grows into a plant to how plants flourish in their natural homes, student groups set up woodland terrariums with moss and young conifer trees in Lesson 4 and freshwater aquariums with Elodea and Cabomba in Lesson 5. Establishing the process they will use throughout the unit, students observe, record, discuss, and compare features of the two woodland plants and then the two freshwater plants.

In Lesson 6, students return to the seeds they have planted, observed, and cared for over a period of time. Here, for the first time, they focus on growth and change in an organism, discuss what plants need to live, and create their own readers that capture their experiences about growing plants from seeds. To expand the class’s understanding of the diversity of life, Lessons 7 through 10 introduce four animals: freshwater snails and guppies for the aquariums, and pill bugs and Bess beetles (or millipedes) for the terrariums. By adding these animals to the two environments, students begin to notice not only that plant coexist with animals but also that animals coexist with other animals.

This time, students observe, record, discuss, and use Venn diagrams to compare the two woodland animals and then the two freshwater animals. In addition, by observing a pair of guppies (male and female), they discover that similarities and differences exist within the same kind of organism. As this sequence of lessons continues, some of the students’ animals may die. This may provide an appropriate opportunity to talk with the class about death and to help students see that it is a natural part of the life cycle. For suggestions on how to broach this topic, please see “Discussing Death and Birth,” which appears at the end of Section 4 of this guide, as well as some of the resources in Section 8.

Lessons 11 and 12 reinforce the class’s emerging awareness that living things grow and change. Students observe, discuss, and write about changes that have occurred in the terrariums and aquariums over time.

Lessons 13 through 15 help students move from the specific to the general, forming their own ideas about the ways plants and animals are alike and different. Using Venn diagrams, students first explore how all their plants are alike and different; then, how all their animals are alike and different; and finally, how all eight of these plants and animals are alike and different. To enhance their understanding of these concepts, in Lesson 13, students read about four unusual plants from around the world. And, to reinforce their awareness of organisms’ basic and specific needs, the class reads about how a zoo prepares a home for a new organism, a crocodile. In Lesson 16, students are ready to apply what they have learned about organisms to the one organism in the classroom they have not yet discussed: themselves. How are we like other organisms? How are we different? Through drawings and words, students compare themselves with other living things.

Lesson 17, a post-unit assessment, is a follow-up to the class brainstorming session that took place during Lesson 1. Students revisit their science notebooks and class lists. They make suggestions for confirming, revising, expanding, or clarifying the observations on the lists. They offer evidence to back up any changes they believe should be made. This experience enables the teacher to document students’ progress and helps students realize how much they have learned about the needs of living things, the changes that organisms undergo during their life cycles, and the similarities and differences between animals and plants. This is an exciting unit for young students. They get to observe, touch, hold, and care for a number of living things that have been chosen especially for their strikingly different characteristics and that exemplify the variety that exists in nature. By bringing a part of the natural world into the classroom, you give children a deeper understanding of the diversity of life. And you help them see that all living things are like one another in many ways but are also unique unto themselves.
We use our senses to observe the world around us.
Organisms have basic needs, such as food, water, air, space, and shelter.
Each type of organism has specific needs, such as type of food, amount of water, amount of light, amount of space, and type of shelter.
There is a wide diversity of living things on earth.
Organisms grow, change, and die over time.
Some plants grow from seeds. The roots grow first and then the stem
Plants have similarities, such as the ability to grow and the need for water, light, space, and air.
Humans are similar to other organisms. Humans have basic needs and also grow, change, and die.
Observing and describing the characteristics of seeds and plants.
Planting seeds and observing and recording their growth.
Observing and describing the characteristics of a variety of plants and animals in woodland and freshwater environments.
Recording observations in words and drawings.
Making comparisons among a variety of plants and animals.
Communicating ideas through writing, drawing, and discussion.
Reading to enhance understanding of the basic needs of organisms and the diversity of life.
Applying what students know about plants and animals to what students know about themselves.
Maintaining plants and animals outside their natural environments.
Developing an interest in exploring the characteristics of plants and animals.
Gaining an awareness of the diversity of life.
Developing positive attitudes toward different forms of life.
Developing awareness that humans are similar to other living things.
Developing sensitivity to the needs of living things.

Organisms (3rd Edition) Downloads

Organisms (2nd Edition) Downloads

In the 3rd Edition Kit:
Teacher’s Guide complete with planning guide, lesson instructions, unit overview with background information, assessment that includes formative and summative assessments, and sections on notebooking, literacy, and more. Each guide also includes a CD-ROM containing blackline masters, Spanish resources, and other teacher resources
8 STC Literacy Series™: Organisms
Enough materials to teach a class of 30 students twice
Technology and Premium Content website access for teachers
24 issues of Organisms KIDS DISCOVER
2nd Edition Kit Content

In the 2nd Edition Kit

Teacher’s Guide with lesson instructions, unit overview with background information, and sections on assessment, notebooking, literacy, and more

Enough materials to lead a class of 30 students through all lessons in the unit
Premium Content access for teachers
24 issues of Organisms KIDS DISCOVER
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Organisms (3rd Edition) 2-Use Kit
The 2-Use Kit comes with all of the materials needed for a second, non-concurrent use.
Organisms Refurbishment Set
This set replenishes the consumable materials in the Unit Kit.
Organisms Replacement Parts
We offer individual replacement parts for your Unit Kits.
Organisms (STC Literacy Series), Pack of 8
The Organisms book introduces children to the basic characteristics of organisms, while helping them develop an understanding of and sensitivity to all living things
KIDS DISCOVER: Organisms , Pack of 8
This KIDS DISCOVER magazine stimulates students' imaginations, connects science in the classroom to the real world, and makes learning fun!
Literacy Enhancement: Organisms
Each Literacy Enhancement contains 24 KIDS DISCOVER readers and 30 student notebooks.



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