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Sample from the K-5 Resource CD:

On-line Resources

K-5 Science Teachers Online Resource

for Teaching

Ohio's New Science Standards

Planning Curriculum

Kindergarten Unit

"Characteristics of Plants and Animals"

The following is a description of a possible Kindergarten unit, "Characteristics of Plants and Animals". This is only one suggestion for teaching a standards-based unit on life science.

Click on the Instructional Component for the Unit that you would like to view:

Living or Nonliving
Characteristics of Living Things
Living Things Get Their Characteristics from Their Parents

Click Here for a Printable List of Tradebook Titles for Life Science

Instructional Components of the Unit

Living or Nonliving

Students must first understand the difference between living and nonliving things. (Indicator #1 - Life Sciences) Students should have opportunities to explore many different objects that are living and nonliving. Living things could be insects, plants, pet, etc. Nonliving things could be rocks, metal, pen, crayon, etc. Once students have opportunities to explore each of the objects carefully using their senses, they should sort the objects into groups; "living" and "nonliving". (Indicator #4 - Scientific Inquiry) To make these careful observations students can use magnifiers to help them carefully observe the objects. (Indicator #7 - Scientific Inquiry)

Once students sort their objects into groups, they should be able to tell why they put them into the certain groups. (Indicator #2 - Scientific Ways of Knowing) They should explain their reason to the teacher or other students to see if everyone agrees.

Published Resources

Lifesaver Lessons - Science Grade 1

Activity Title
"What's Alive?"

Web Links

Its Alive Lesson

Sorting Living and Nonliving

Living - Nonliving Lesson

 Classifying Living and Nonliving Objects

Printable Activities

Printable Lesson on Living and Nonliving

Printable Info on Living and Nonliving


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Characteristics of Living Things

First, student must understand that stories sometimes give plants and animals characteristics they really do not have such as talking. (Indicator #2 - Life Sciences) The best method for teaching this concept is to use books which give plants or animals human or unreal characteristics and have students pick out the characteristics which are not real. It may be necessary to read several books before students to really catch on to this concept.

Students can then explore the real characteristics of plants and animals. Students should focus on observable features that help plants and animals live in different kinds of places. (Indicator #5 - Life Sciences) Such features could include webbed feet of duck or frogs to help them swim in the water or spines on a cactus to protect the cactus from being eaten. Pictures of different animals with different features can help students see how different animals have different features which help them live in different places. Classroom pets can be very useful in teach students about characteristics. It is important that students are taught to interact with these living things with respect. (Indicator #3 - Scientific Ways of Knowing) As students explore these concepts, they should also investigate the habitats of many different kinds of local plants and animals and some of the ways in which animals depend on plants and each other in our community. (Indicator #6 - Life Sciences)

Students can sort plants and animals based on their different features. Students should also explore how plants and animals of the same kind can have differences (variations) as well. (Indicator # 4 - Life Sciences) For example, house cats can look very different from each other but yet are still house cats. Have students discuss other examples that they can think of. Possible answers can include people, dogs, birds, flowers, trees, etc.


Published Resources

Animals Two by Two - FOSS Module

Beginnings - SCIS 3+ Module  


Web Links

Animal Lessons and Resources

Shakey Snake Lesson

Plant Lessons and Resources

Animal Structure Lesson

Animal Characteristic Activity

Animals, Animals Lesson

Animal Movement Lesson

Animal Homes

Hop, Skip, Fly

Animal Pictures and Facts

Animal Magazine

Yahooligans Animals

Cyber Zoo

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