Lansing School District Elementary Science
Scope & Sequence for Grade 3

Click on any unit title in the table below to view the pacing guide for that unit.

Grade

Quarters

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

3

Earth Materials and Their Uses

Shadows and Light

Motion, Force, and Simple Machines

Plant Parts
(and Who Eats Them)

  Color Codes:  
 
 = Earth and Space Science  
 
 = Physical Science  
 
 = Life Science  

 


 

Lansing School District Elementary Science
Pacing Guides for Grade 3

DRAFT

[ Return to "scope and sequence" chart at top of page. ]         [ Go forward to next unit. ]

           
  Grade:     Third     Science Area:     Earth and Space      
  Quarter:     First     Unit Title:     Earth Materials and Their Uses      
  Unit overview:   Children investigate earth materials, and their uses in our lives. They explore the ways in which people get earth materials and how this affects the land and water. They consider ways that people can reduce, reuse and recycle materials, so that remaining earth materials can be conserved.  
  The 5 benchmarks in this unit represent ideas that are portions of 3 more encompassing Michigan Curriculum Framework science standards, as described in these MI-BIG narratives: III.5 Ecosystems
V.1 The Geosphere
V.2 The Hydrosphere
 
           

MCF 2000 Code and Benchmark*

Main Ideas and Connections

Essential^ Tools (T) for Students in Real-world Contexts (R)

Notes for Teachers

V.1.e.2

Recognize and describe different types of earth materials.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

We can describe earth materials by observing their size and composition. Earth materials come from different places and include sand, soil, clay, rocks, gravel, boulders, and minerals.

T:   Hand lens, journals for describing earth materials.

R:   Samples of earth materials such as rock, gravel, sand, clay, soil, and ores. Places in Michigan where we get different earth materials.

Children view "materials" as any kind of stuff, rather than specific substances that are used to make things. They often use terms such as boulder, rock, and soil in everyday ways, and may need help applying the scientific meanings. They may distinguish between "soil" and "dirt. " They may think that gravel is loose rock on the roadside, and that sand only occurs at the beach.

V.1.e.5

Describe uses of materials taken from the earth.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

We use natural materials taken from the earth every day in our lives. For transportation, oil from the earth is converted to gasoline. In building, sand is used to make glass, ores are converted to metals, and gravel is used to concrete and asphalt. We make electricity from burning coal or water running over dams. Water is used for drinking, cleaning, cooking, and in industry.

T:   Videos showing how earth materials are used, Internet investigations about earth materials.

R:   The production of concrete walls, playground pads, glass windows, metal chairs, concrete sidewalks.

 

V.1.e.6

Demonstrate ways to conserve natural resources and reduce pollution through reduction, reuse, and recycling of manufactured materials.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

Taking materials from the earth can make changes that are harmful to the environment. Therefore, reducing, reusing and recycling are important habits to save resources. Paper, glass, metal, and plastic are all materials that are useful to us every day; conserving and recycling these materials is important, especially for reducing pollution of the land and water.

T:   Recycling bins in the classroom.

R:   Collections of recyclable materials, plans for recycling at home and school, composting, ways of reusing or reducing the use of paper.

Children commonly think that some materials just "disappear" or "go away" when we throw them into the trash. They may need help observing and recording what happens in a compost pile, or what happens in a landfill.

V.2.e.3

Identify sources of water and its uses.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

Water is used for sanitation, drinking, cleaning, food preparation, and recreation. Public uses include generating electricity, irrigation, transportation, and industry. Almost all human activity requires the use of some water, for example, irrigating crops, transporting barges on rivers, generating electricity.

Drinking water is obtained from below the surface by digging wells, and from surface sources such as rivers or lakes.

T:   None.

R:   Examples of local sources of drinking water including wells, rivers, and lakes. Examples of local occasions when water is used including, car wash, swimming, fire hydrants, drinking, food preparation, cleaning, watering lawn, bathing, fishing, boating, shipping on the Great Lakes.

In this unit, we review what children have learned about water and its sources in second grade and connect that to other earth resources from the land.

III.5.e.4

Describe positive and negative effects of humans on the environment.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

Humans have effects on the environment — they produce and dispose of garbage; remove large quantities of earth materials and often do not restore the habitats in those areas; burn earth materials like coal and oil that produce pollution in the air and water; and build factories that may pollute the land, air and water, and disrupt ecosystems. Humans can also restore areas where earth materials have been mined or drilled, recycle materials so that they can be reused, and compost some components of garbage.

T:   Maps of the school’s neighborhood or Lansing, showing green spaces, trees, sidewalks, ponds, housing, roads. Balances or scales to weigh classroom trash; graphs of the weight of classroom trash across time.

R:   Classroom, household, and school trash; waste water treatment; habitat destruction due to building; reforestation projects; landfills; establishing parks or other green spaces; recycling.

Children may think that oceans are a limitless resource, solid wastes in dumps are safe, and/or that anything "natural" is not pollution.

They may believe that earth materials are in limitless supply, and will always be there for our use.

 


 

Lansing School District Elementary Science
Pacing Guides for Grade 3

DRAFT

[ Go back to previous unit. ]         [ Return to "scope and sequence" chart at top of page. ]         [ Go forward to next unit. ]

           
  Grade:     Third     Science Area:     Physical      
  Quarter:     Second     Unit Title:     Shadows and Light      
  Unit overview:   Students learn about the nature of light by studying the formation of shadows and using color filters and prisms. They manipulate light sources, objects that make shadows, and the surfaces on which shadows are cast. Students gather evidence to support a model of light that is emitted by a light source, spreads out from its source in all directions, and travels in straight lines unless it is blocked by an object. By using "solar nature print paper" to record the shadows cast by objects, students also observe evidence that light can cause changes, thus supporting the claim that light is a kind of energy. Students also use prisms and color filters with light sources to observe various colors of light.  
  The 4 benchmarks in this unit represent ideas that are portions of 2 more encompassing Michigan Curriculum Framework science standards, as described in these MI-BIG narratives: IV.1 Matter and Energy
IV.4 Waves and Vibrations
 
           

MCF 2000 Code and Benchmark*

Main Ideas and Connections

Essential^ Tools (T) for Students in Real-world Contexts (R)

Notes for Teachers

IV.1.e.2

Identify properties of materials which make them useful.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

In this unit, we explore different materials can affect the travel of light in different ways. We use many different objects that are made from a variety of materials. Certain properties make some materials better suited for certain uses than others. Many materials block light, thus casting a shadow. Some materials — like air, water, and glass — are "clear" and allow light to pass through them, often with little change. However, sometimes the shape of a clear object and the way in which the light strikes it result in the light separating into colors, as can happen with a prism. Some materials, such as color filters, can be used to allow only certain colors of light to pass through them. Some materials, such as photographic film, are changed by light.

T:   Light sources, water, flat panes of glass, prisms, various objects that can block or filter light, solar nature print paper.

      Venn diagrams, tables, journals to record findings with words and pictures.

R:   Windows, making and using shadow puppets, decorative crystals that display the colors of light, filtered or colored lights used in a stage production, using solar nature print paper to record shadows.

In this unit, the properties of materials that are of interest are those related to light. For example, some materials like air, water, and glass usually allow most light to pass through them with little change. Thus, glass can be a useful material for making windows. Some materials block light from passing through them. Such materials may be useful for making walls, clothing, or casting shadows. Some materials cause white light to split into colors or allow only one color to pass through them. Some materials, like photographic film and solar nature print paper, react to light by changing color. This can make them useful for recording pictures or shadows of objects.

Terms such as transparent, opaque, and translucent are not included as key concepts or vocabulary in the MCF (2000) science benchmarks for the elementary grades.

IV.1.e.3

Identify forms of energy associated with common phenomena.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

In this unit, we focus on light as a kind of energy, and the changes it can make. Energy is needed to cause changes.

By fifth grade, children will understand that we have a variety of names for the different kinds of energy, for example:   sound, light, motion, electricity, heat, and food energy. The name we use depends on the contexts in which and the senses by which we experience them. For example, we hear sound, we see light, and we feel heat. However, scientists use the concept of energy for all these events because they each involve some kind of change.

T:   Flashlights, solar nature print paper.

R:   Selected examples of things that are sources of light, such as the sun, flashlights, street lamps, car headlights, fluorescent tubes in classroom light fixtures, candle flames, and fireflies.

The variety of changes caused by energy is so diverse that they often appear unrelated. This makes the abstract scientific notion of energy difficult for students to learn. Students need multiple opportunities to experience and investigate each of the forms of energy before they can be expected to see what they share in common. In this unit, students focus their attention on light.

For information about student learning experiences with other kinds of energy in Grade 3, see the following science units (and benchmarks):

• Grade 3 "Sound" (IV.4.e.1-2 about sound),

• grade 3 "Motion, Force, and Simple Machines" (IV.3.e.1 about energy of motion),

• grade 4 "Simple Electric Circuits" (IV.1.e.4 about electricity),

• grade 4 "Interdependence of Plants and Animals" (III.2.e.4 and III.5.e.2 about energy from food), and

• grade 5 "Matter, Energy, and Changes" (IV.2.e.1 about heat).

IV.4.e.3

Use prisms and filters with light sources to produce various colors of light.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

White light is composed of different colors. We can see these colors when we send light through a prism or color filters.

T:   Light sources such as the sun or flashlights; prisms, color filters, colored lights.

      Tables and journals to record findings with words and pictures.

R:   Light from common sources, such as the sun, stars, light bulbs, colored lights, a firefly, candles, flashlights; light passing through materials that reveal its colors, such as color filters (as might be used in lighting a stage production) and various prisms.

While children use prisms and filters in this unit, we do not expect them to explain what happens to the light when it passes through those materials. We expect students only to use prisms and color filters to produce various colors of light and to observe and describe these outcomes. Explaining the composition of white light and the effects of filters and prisms is addressed in the middle school benchmarks.

For your information, what we experience as "white light" is actually a combination of light of different colors. When white light enters a prism, each color is redirected in a slightly different direction. Thus, on exiting a prism, the white light has been split into its component colors. Color filters block all but one or a few colors of light from passing through them. In contrast, many students (even in middle school) believe that prisms and color filters add colors to light when it passes through them.

 

IV.4.e.4

Explain how shadows are made.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

When light leaves a light source, the light moves outward or spreads out in all directions very quickly, traveling in straight lines, unless it runs into an object. Many objects — including both living things like people, animals, and plants, and nonliving things like pencils, cars, and buildings — block the light from continuing. Beyond the object along the blocked path there will be an area of no light, which we call a shadow. If a surface is placed beyond the object on the side opposite the light source, the shadow will be visible as a dark area on the surface. Changing the relative position of the light source, the object, or the surface can change the location, shape, or size of a shadow.

T:   Light sources (such as the sun, electric lamps or flashlights), various objects that can block light or allow light through (including some with holes in them, like a colander, which will let some light pass through the holes while blocking light at other locations), flat surfaces on which to cast and trace shadows.

      Journals to record findings and ideas with words and pictures.

R:   Shadows made on surfaces by putting objects in the path of light from common light sources, including sunlight, light bulbs, and projectors; using solar nature print paper to record shadows; recording and graphing data about changes in the size of shadows due to changes in the distance from the light source to the object or the distance of the object to the surface on which the shadow is cast; making repeated tracings of a playground object’s changing shadow size and location during the day.

Many students believe that light is found only in or around its sources, or that it just "hangs" in the air. They will need help gathering evidence that light travels from a source to other (sometimes far distant) places. Similarly, prior to instruction, many students share a variety of common ideas about shadows. For example, some students believe that shadows are separate entities that exist independent of the presence or absence of light. Some students believe that shadows only appear in front of their bodies, or that only living things or moving objects can have shadows. Other children describe shadows as being formed by light "bouncing" or "reflecting off" of an object to create the shadow (which also leads to the prediction that the shadow appears on the same side of the object as is the light source). By studying shadows and manipulating the objects that make them, students gather evidence both about the nature of shadows and the behaviors of light. They can then use this evidence to support a model of light that is emitted by a light source, spreads out from its source in all directions, and travels in straight lines unless it is blocked by an object.

Note that "patterns of change" and "models" are two of the seven "connecting themes" identified for attention by Michigan Essential Goals and Objectives for Science Education (pp. 145-146) that can receive emphasis in this unit.

 


 

Lansing School District Elementary Science
Pacing Guides for Grade 3

DRAFT

[ Go back to previous unit. ]         [ Return to "scope and sequence" chart at top of page. ]         [ Go forward to next unit. ]

           
  Grade:     Third     Science Area:     Physical      
  Quarter:     Third     Unit Title:     Motion, Force, and Simple Machines      
  Unit overview:   In the primary grades, students learned to describe location and motion. In this unit, students extend their abilities to describe a wider variety of motions. They learn that forces can cause changes in the motions of objects. Students also learn that energy is always associated with instances of motion. They examine ways of changing the direction of a force or multiplying a force using various simple machines. Students then analyze devices such as a bicycle and a hand-crank can opener. They determine which simple machines make up these more complex devices, as well as how these parts interact to accomplish a task.  
  The 6 benchmarks in this unit represent ideas that are portions of 2 more encompassing Michigan Curriculum Framework science standards, as described in these MI-BIG narratives: IV.1 Matter and Energy
IV.3 Motion of Objects
 
           

MCF 2000 Code and Benchmark*

Main Ideas and Connections

Essential^ Tools (T) for Students in Real-world Contexts (R)

Notes for Teachers

IV.1.e.3

Identify forms of energy associated with common phenomena.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

In this unit, we focus on energy of motion. Energy is needed to cause changes. This can involve changing the shape of matter, or changing the speed or direction of an object’s motion.

By the fifth grade, children will be able to describe a variety of the different kinds of energy, for example:   sound, light, motion, electricity, heat, and food energy. The name we use depends on the contexts in which and the senses by which we experience them. For example, we hear sound, we see light, and we feel heat. However, scientists use the concept of energy for all these events because they each involve some kind of change.

T:   A motion detection probe connected to a computer, stopwatch.

R:   Examples associated with energy of motion, such as walking and running, water wheels, wind-up toys, windmills, toy cars and trucks, rolling or thrown balls, motors, vibrating devices (like a doorbell or buzzer), vibrating strings on a guitar or other musical instruments.

The variety of changes caused by energy is so diverse that they often appear unrelated. This makes the abstract scientific notion of energy difficult for students to learn. Students need multiple opportunities to experience and investigate each of the forms of energy before they can be expected to see what they share in common. Likewise, students will need experiences beyond elementary school in order to learn that some of the phenomena that they believe to be energy (such as temperature, force, momentum, and power) are not.

In this unit, students focus their attention on energy of motion — which in more advanced grades is often called kinetic or mechanical energy. Students can observe events in which energy changes forms. For example, people and other animals change some of the energy from the food they eat into energy of motion when walking. A fan changes electricity into the motion of its blades and air. The reverse occurs when the energy of moving water is used to spin a turbine and generator, resulting in electricity. A more extensive study of "energy transformations" occurs in the middle school science curricula (see for example benchmark IV.2.m.4).

For information about student learning experiences with other kinds of energy in Grade 3, see the following science units (and benchmarks):

• Grade 3 "Sound" (IV.4.e.1-2 about sound),

• grade 3 "Shadows and Light" (IV.4.e.3-4 about light),

• grade 4 "Simple Electric Circuits" (IV.1.e.4 about electricity),

• grade 4 "Interdependence of Plants and Animals" (III.2.e.4 and III.5.e.2 about energy from food), and

• grade 5 "Matter, Energy, and Changes" (IV.2.e.1 about heat).

IV.3.e.1

Describe or compare motions of common objects in terms of speed and direction.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

In order to describe or compare the motions of common objects, two aspects of motion need to be considered:   speed and direction. The speed with which an object moves can be described using words like fast, faster, slow, or slower. The direction in which an object moves can be described as east, west, north, south, up, down, left, or right. Continuous or repeating patterns of motion can also be noted. For example, a moving object’s path may be described as being in a straight line, curved or turning, zigzag, round and round, or vibrating (e.g., moving repeatedly up and down or back and forth).

T:   A compass for determining direction; rulers, meter sticks, or tape measures for measuring distances and stop watches for measuring times (in order to quantify and compare speeds); a motion detection probe connected to a computer.

      Tables, graphs, journals to record findings with words and pictures.

R:   Motions of familiar objects in two dimensions, including rolling or thrown balls, wheeled vehicles, sliding objects (e.g., sleds), and instances of objects that vibrate (e.g., human vocal cords, doorbells, speakers in audio equipment, and a variety of musical instruments).

Students began describing the locations and motions of familiar objects in K-1. The study of sound in second grade provided additional opportunities to observe and describe the particular kind of motion known as vibrations. In this unit, students extend and refine their ability to describe and make comparisons among the motions both of themselves and of other familiar objects. Students can begin using more precise descriptions rather than using vague pronouns (e.g., rather than saying, "the ball rolled over there," a student can say, "the ball rolled under the table").

However, use of terms like "velocity" and "acceleration" — whose everyday meanings differ significantly from their scientific meanings — is not appropriate in third grade. Students can be introduced to using grid systems for recording locations and paths of travel. With respect to speed, students can start using comparative language (e.g., "faster than," "slower than") rather than absolutes (e.g., "fast," "slow") when appropriate. Students can also use experiences with familiar objects and motions to begin to form references for quantitative descriptions of speed. For example, we walk at approximately 1 meter per second or 3-4 kilometers per hour. We can exceed a speed of 5 meters per second or 15-20 kilometers per hour when we run. Cars typically travel in the city at about 50 kilometers per hour and over 100 kilometers per hour on interstate highways.

See also the "earth science" benchmarks V.1.e.3, which deals with describing natural changes in the earth’s surface, and V.4.e.2, which deals with the motions of the sun, earth, and moon.

IV.3.e.2

Explain how forces (pushes or pulls) are needed to speed up, slow down, stop, or change the direction of a moving object.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

We can observe many things that are moving. We can describe both the direction of motion and the speed of these objects. We can also describe changes in the motions of objects. For example, sometimes objects move in a straight line; sometimes objects turn or change the direction of their motion. Similarly, sometimes objects move with a steady speed. Sometimes objects experience a change in the speed of their motion (e.g., stopping, starting, speeding up, or slowing down). Any time that the motion of an object changes, the cause of that change is a force. The size of the change in motion is related to the strength of the force. Forces can most simply be thought of (and we experience them as) a push or a pull. The forces we experience most commonly are gravity, magnetic effects, and friction.

T:   Force meters or other spring scales for measuring and comparing forces; compasses, grids, or other tools or methods for observing, specifying, and recording the directions and changes in direction of motions of objects; rulers, meter sticks, or tape measures for measuring distances and stop watches for measuring times (in order to quantify and compare speeds and changes in speeds of moving objects); a motion detection probe connected to a computer.

      Journals to record ideas, diagrams, and findings.

R:   Changes in motions of familiar objects in two dimensions, including rolling or thrown balls, wheeled vehicles, moving chairs and other sliding objects.

Young children often give moving objects human intentions — such as, "the ball wants to roll down the hill" — to account for the motions of objects, rather than referring to physical causes. Students need many experiences with a variety of kinds of forces — for example simple pushes and pulls that they can exert themselves, gravity, friction, and magnetic effects involving both instances of attraction and repulsion — before they can be expected to understand the principles that apply to all of these seemingly unrelated phenomena. Any force should be able to be associated both with its source and with the object on which it acts. However, understanding these ideas at the level of sophistication expressed, for example, in Newton’s three laws of motion or by his theory of universal gravitation is not appropriate in third grade.

For your information, students (and many adults) commonly believe that constant motion requires a continuous application of force. This belief is not surprising given our experiences with pushing a chair across the floor, pulling a wagon, or pedaling a bicycle. In middle school and high school, children learn that we must continue to apply force in order to maintain a steady speed in these examples because we continually have to overcome some ongoing resisting force — most typically friction. If there were no resistance to its motion, a moving object would continue moving in the same direction and with a steady speed without need for a continually applied force. Satellites continuing to fly through the vacuum of outer space without need of a continually burning rocket engine are one example of such motion.

Note that "constancy" and "patterns of change" are two of the seven "connecting themes" identified for attention by Michigan Essential Goals and Objectives for Science Education (pp. 145-146) that can receive emphasis in this unit.

IV.3.e.3

Describe patterns of interaction of magnetic materials with other magnetic and non-magnetic materials.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

Magnets can attract a limited variety of materials, most notably those containing iron. Magnetic attraction occurs between a magnet and magnetic materials, and can do so even when the magnet is not in direct contact with those materials. Magnets can also attract or repel other magnets depending upon their positions. Since magnetic repulsion only occurs between magnets, this fact can be used to distinguish magnets and magnetic materials. This behavior also leads to assigning two "poles" to magnets. Each magnet has one "north" pole and one "south" pole. When two magnets are brought near each other, unlike magnetic poles will attract each other and like magnetic poles will repel each other.

T:   Magnets — including a variety of strengths, shapes (e.g., bar, horseshoe), and applications (e.g., refrigerator magnets, cupboard-door holders, motors); a variety of magnetic and non-magnetic materials; magnetic compass.

      Journals to record diagrams and findings.

R:   Common magnets, using a magnetic compass to find direction.

Students may have begun learning about magnets in the primary grades in the context of studying properties of materials and ways to sort them. Some students are likely to think of magnets as being "sticky" and working only if in contact with a magnetic material. Experiences in which magnets cause effects at a distance or through other materials (e.g., a sheet of paper) can be useful for challenging these common ideas. In this unit, students extend their understanding of magnetism by recognizing it as one kind of force that has effects on a limited set of materials. Students observe and describe situations in which magnets exhibit magnetic attraction (i.e., both for magnetic materials — which we simply define as those materials that are attracted to a magnet — and for the opposite poles of other magnets) or magnetic repulsion (i.e., only for the like poles of other magnets). However, the concept of a "magnetic field" is not introduced in third grade and is addressed later, in middle school (see for example benchmark IV.3.m.4).

IV.3.e.4

Identify and use simple machines and describe how they change effort.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

A simple machine is any device that changes the direction of or multiplies the force you put in — called the "effort" — when moving an object. In those cases where the effort is changed, you trade off how much you have to push or pull with how far in distance you have to push or pull. Also, since no device can be entirely free of friction, some additional effort is required to overcome any friction involved in using a simple machine. Examples of the various kinds of simple machines include:   levers, inclined planes, wedges, wheels and axles, and pulleys.

T:   Force meters or other spring scales for measuring and comparing the "effort" you put in with the amount of force you get out of a simple machine; rulers, meter sticks, or tape measures for measuring distances (in order to quantify and compare the distances through which you apply the "effort" with the distance the object gets moved with the simple machine).

      Journals to record ideas, diagrams, and findings.

R:   Examples of devices that either are or include easily identifiable simple machines such as balances for weighing, see-saws, mobiles, ramps, screwdrivers and screws, block and tackles, can openers.

In this unit, we only ask children to identify and use simple machines. More sophisticated ideas like "work" are addressed in middle and high school grades.

IV.3.e.5

Manipulate simple mechanical devices and explain how their parts work together.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

Many relatively simple mechanical devices either are examples of simple machines or are made from simpler parts which may act as simple machines. We can view a mechanical device as a "system" and then analyze it and its behavior in order to name the parts of which it is made, the uses or functions of the parts, and how those parts interact to complete the task for which the device was designed to be used. Such simpler parts and simple machines include levers, inclined planes, wedges, gears, screws, wheels and axles, and pulleys.

T:   Screwdrivers, pliers, and hammers for disassembling simple mechanical devices.

      Journals to record ideas, diagrams, and findings.

R:   Simple mechanical devices, such as bicycles, bicycle pumps, faucets, clothespins, block and tackles, and can openers — within which students can identify simpler parts or simple machines such as levers, inclined planes, wedges, gears, screws, wheels and axles, and pulleys.

Note that "systems" is one of the seven "connecting themes" identified for attention by Michigan Essential Goals and Objectives for Science Education (pp. 145-146) that can receive emphasis in this unit.

 


 

Lansing School District Elementary Science
Pacing Guides for Grade 3

DRAFT

[ Go back to previous unit. ]         [ Return to "scope and sequence" chart at top of page. ]

           
  Grade:     Third     Science Area:     Life      
  Quarter:     Fourth     Unit Title:     Plant Parts (and Who Eats Them)      
  Unit overview:   Children investigate the parts of plants and their functions in meeting the plant’s needs for life and growth. They compare and classify plant parts, using their physical characteristics. They describe plants’ basic needs for life. They examine the role of plants in a simple food chain. They explore the effects humans have on plants in our environment.  
  The 5 benchmarks in this unit represent ideas that are portions of 2 more encompassing Michigan Curriculum Framework science standards, as described in these MI-BIG narratives: III.2 Organization of Living Things
III.5 Ecosystems
 
           

MCF 2000 Code and Benchmark*

Main Ideas and Connections

Essential^ Tools (T) for Students in Real-world Contexts (R)

Notes for Teachers

III.2.e.5

Explain functions of selected seed plant parts.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

Plants have different parts. These can include seeds, roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits. Each plant part has one or more functions — such as supporting the plant, taking in water, attracting insects to pollinate the flower, or producing seeds — that help the plant obtain what it needs to survive, grow, and reproduce.

T:   Science journals for drawing and recording observations of plants.

      Hand lenses

R:   Common edible plant parts, such as peas, broccoli, carrot, apple, tomato, spinach leaves, and asparagus.

For children, the most difficult connection among the plant parts is that between the flower, which produces the fruit, and the seeds, which are in the fruit. Children may need help observing and understanding these connections.

III.2.e.2

Compare and contrast (K-2) or classify (3-5) familiar organisms on the basis of observable physical characteristics.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

Plants have common characteristics, such as seeds, roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits. They have colors, leaf shapes, and may have a scent. They may have flowers or not. We can compare plant characteristics to see if they are similar or different.

T:   Charts that compare plants by similar or different features; Venn diagrams.

R:   Plants that look similar — such as flowering plants — and plants that are very different — such as a pine tree and grass.

Simple sorting, for example, whether something is a tree or grass, is appropriate, but children at this age may need help understanding that flowers and trees both belong in the larger group, plants.

III.5.e.1

Identify familiar organisms as part of a food chain and describe their feeding relationships within the food chain.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

Plants produce food that animals can eat. Some animals also eat other animals. Humans eat both plants and animals. In this unit, we explore simple food chains involving plants and who eats them.

T:   Science journals for writing about the food humans eat and where it comes from.

R:   Food chains involving humans, animals, and plants.

An awareness of the relationships among humans, other animals, and plants could also be taught in the 3 rd grade social studies units, while studying the different regions.

Predator, prey, producer, and consumer relationships are addressed in the fourth-grade fourth-quarter unit.

III.5.e.2

Describe the basic requirements for all living things to maintain their existence.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

Plants need water, light, and air. Minerals play a role in the plant’s health, but are not required for the plant’s life needs.

T:   Science journals for drawings and observations.

R:   Humans grow plants for food and have to make sure that plants get water, air, and light. Exploring and observing the surrounding school grounds, and the plants and animals found there.

In this unit, children learn that light is something that plants need, but at this time they do not need to learn the scientific explanation for how plants use light to make their food. How plants make their food — using sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water — involves understanding the molecular nature of matter, and is addressed in middle school benchmarks.

III.5.e.4

Describe positive and negative effects of humans on the environment.

MI-CLiMB Benchmark Clarification

Humans have the power to change the environment in helpful or harmful ways. Humans can help plants in the environment by managing the land, i.e., making parks, preserving habitats for wild life, creating new wetlands, planting new trees. Humans can harm the environment by destroying habitats when they clear land for farming or construction, or clear cut forests so that erosion occurs.

T:   Science journals for drawings and writing about human effects on plants.

R:   Humans plant crops to grow food to eat.

 

 


 

*   You can download your own copy of the Michigan Curriculum Framework (2000) science benchmarks -- either as a MS-Word or a PDF file -- at:   http://cdp.mde.state.mi.us/Science/default.html#Benchmarks

 


 

^   A number of "tools" with which children should become familiar as part of their science education and general life experiences are listed in our 2-5 science pacing guides. Several of these are italicized, which indicates that they are also designated within the Michigan Curriculum Framework (2000) science benchmarks as "tools" that it is essential that all students have opportunities to use. Reference to such "tools" and their use therefore can also be expected to be included in some MEAP questions.

 


 

Last updated:   3/3/2002 by RTSmith