Overview of Section Resources

Section 1: What Is an Organism?
Students begin their investigation of living things with an introduction to the differences between living and nonliving things. They also begin to consider the wide variety of plants and animals.
Section 2: Mealworms
Students learn about the four stages in the life cycle of a mealworm by raising the organism in the classroom. They learn to recognize the characteristics of each stage, plot populations on a bar graph, and test mealworm behavior.
Section 3: Building a Habitat
Students set up a terrarium habitat in the classroom. They begin by planting four different types of seeds, then adding small animals they have collected. Students track the growth of plants in the habitat and compare plants grown in light with those grown in the dark. After observing earthworms, they add these organisms to the habitat.
Section 4: Toads
In this section, students are introduced to toads, which are added to their terrarium habitat. Students observe a toad's behavior and discuss its adaptations for survival. By direct observation of the predator-prey interaction between toads and mealworms, students learn that toads are predators.
Section 5: Plant Adaptations
Students study two major plant adaptations—leaves and roots—that enable plants to survive in their habitats. Students classify leaves and learn that leaves make food for a plant through the process of photosynthesis. They examine the roots of plants taken from the terrarium habitat and learn the functions of roots. Students also discuss roots that people eat.
Section 6: Animal Adaptations
Students are introduced to animal adaptations by studying bird feet and beaks, focusing on the relationship between their shape and size and their function. Students then consider differences between the teeth of meat-eating animals and those of plant-eaters. Students extend their examination to dinosaur teeth. Students look at their own teeth and observe the relationship between shape and function.