Overview of Section Resources

Section 1: Microorganisms
To begin their study of the organisms that make up the living world, students examine microorganisms. They use a microscope to observe single-celled protists and tiny multicellular animals. They compare the movements of different microorganisms and the structures used for movement. Students learn that protists are classified according to how they move. They observe a model of amoeba movement.
Section 2: Fungi: Yeasts, Molds, and Mushrooms
Students continue their study of organisms by examining fungi. They observe budding in yeast and experiment to learn what food yeast cells need and how they get energy. Students study reproduction in fungi by making a sporangium model and a spore print of a mushroom.
Section 3: Classifying Plants
Students examine mosses and ferns and recognize that these simple plants reproduce with spores rather than seeds. Students then examine the vascular tissue of a celery plant. They learn that most plants reproduce with seeds, and they compare the seeds of gymnosperms and angiosperms. Finally, students examine the pattern of venation in the leaves of monocots and dicots.
Section 4: Plant Research Projects
Students continue their study of plants by designing and conducting experiments involving plants. They examine stomata and observe the way they function. They test plant growth in different colors of light to learn what parts of sunlight are used during photosynthesis. They observe transpiration and learn what gases enter and exit plants. Finally, students test the effect of environmental factors on the germination rate of seeds.
Section 5: Classifying Animals
Students move on to the animal kingdom. They examine the structures of earthworms and ants as representatives of invertebrates. They make a model of a backbone to learn its advantages to an animal. Students study a goldfish and trace the flow of water through its gills. They learn the features of birds and compare flight and down feathers.
Section 6: Animal Research Projects
Students examine invertebrates that live in leaf litter. They study the behavior of earthworms in different environments and test various foods to find out what earthworms eat. Observing an anthill outdoors and altering the path between the anthill and a food source lead students to conclude that ants use chemicals to communicate. Students then test the effect of water temperature on the breathing rate of a goldfish.