4.1 Strand

Through the study of organisms, inferences can be made about environments both past and present. Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions for growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction. Animals use different sense receptors specialized for particular kinds of information to understand and respond to their environment. Some kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth can no longer be found. However, fossils from these organisms provide evidence about the types of organisms that lived long ago and the nature of their environments. Additionally, the presence and location of certain fossil types indicate changes that have occurred in environments over time.
 
STORYLINE: 4.1.1: Structures for Survival

Standard(s) 4.1.1: Construct an explanation from evidence that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. Emphasize how structures support an organism’s survival in its environment and how internal and external structures of plants and animals vary within the same and across multiple Utah environments. Examples of structures could include thorns on a stem to prevent predation or gills on a fish to allow it to breathe underwater. (LS1.A)

Practices

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to the use of evidence in constructing explanations that specify variables that describe and predict phenomena and in designing multiple solutions to design problems. 

∙ Generate and compare multiple solutions to a problem based on how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the design solution.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

LS1.A: Structure and Function 

Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.

Cross Cutting Concepts

Structure and Function:

A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions.

Phenomena Statement

A plant seemingly comes back to life after it is given water.

Storyline Narrative

Students begin by observing the phenomenon of a wilted plant “coming back to life” after it is watered. Students ask questions about what might cause the plant to resurrect. Next, students obtain information from video and text about the internal and external structures that help a plant to function. Students develop a model to demonstrate the internal and external structures and functions of a plant. Then students construct an explanation about what caused  the plant to resurrect after it was watered. Finally, students communicate their explanations with one another.

 

Next students observe the phenomenon of a pine cone opening and closing in a timelapse video. Students will obtain information from a video and text about the structure and function of a pine cone. Students then evaluate information from the text to determine how the structures of coniferous trees support the functions of growth, reproduction, and survival. Students will construct an explanation about the structures and functions of coniferous trees. Last, students will communicate their explanations with one another using a walk-pair-share strategy.

 

Students observe the phenomenon that a fish can breathe underwater, but a dolphin must come up to the air to breath. Using a jigsaw strategy, students obtain information about the structures and functions of fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. Students will then evaluate information about their animal type to determine which structures support the functions of growth, reproduction, and survival. Students will develop a model using a Venn Diagram to compare the similarities and differences in the structures and functions of  different animals. Students use their model to communicate the patterns in the structures and functions of animals to other students.

 

The class considers the phenomenon that different plants and animals are found in different environments around Utah. In a jigsaw, students will obtain information about the similarities and differences (patterns) in Utah’s 3 environments: desert, forest, and wetland. Next, students use a model to classify (patterns) Utah plants and animals according to their structure and function into the environment they live in. Students construct an explanation about the patterns of structures and functions of plants and animals across Utah environments. Finally, students communicate their explanation about these patterns  to their peers.


In the final episode, students design a plant or animal that will live in a Utah environment. Students first define problems about the environmental factors that will affect their plant or animal. Next, students design solutions for the structures that will support their plant or animal in the functions of growth, reproduction, and survival. Groups will develop a model of the plant/animal and use labels and captions to explain the structures and functions  they designed. Last, students will communicate to their peers by presenting their models, explaining how the structure and functions they designed will support the plant/animal in its environment.

 
STORYLINE: 4.1.1 Structures for Survival
STORYLINE: 4.1.2: Responding to the Environment

Standard(s) 4.2.1: Develop and use a model of a system to describe how animals receive different types of information from their environment through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information. Emphasize how animals are able to use their perceptions and memories to guide their actions. Examples could include models that explain how animals sense and then respond to different aspects of their environment such as sounds, temperature, or smell. (LS1.D)

Practices

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to the use of evidence in constructing explanations that specify variables that describe and predict phenomena and in designing multiple solutions to design problems. 

∙ Generate and compare multiple solutions to a problem based on how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the design solution.

Practices

Developing and Using Models: Modeling in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to building and revising simple models and using models to represent events and design solutions.

  • Develop a model using an example to describe a scientific principle.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

LS1.A: Structure and Function 

Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

LS1.D: Information Processing

Different sense receptors are specialized for particular kinds of information, which may be then processed by the animal’s brain. Animals are able to use their perceptions and memories to guide their actions.

Cross Cutting Concepts

Structure and Function:

A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions.

Cross Cutting Concepts

Systems and System Models:

A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions.

Phenomena Statement

Snow in June is an unexpected weather event.

Phenomena Statement

A monkey warns a herd of  deer about a hunting tiger.

Storyline Narrative
Storyline Narrative

Students engage by observing the phenomenon of a monkey warning a herd of deer about a nearby hunting tiger. Students obtain information from a video about what causes animal behaviors and record information in a cause and effect chart. Students then analyze data about the receptors different animals use and find patterns in how they receive information. Next students construct an explanation about the different ways animals respond to information from their environment. Finally, students communicate their explanation to a partner and revise their explanations based on feedback.

 

Students explore the phenomenon that an elephant can sense earthquakes before they occur. Students obtain information from text about the systems animals use to understand the environment around them. Students analyze data by sequencing events (patterns) that take place. Students use these patterns to develop a model about the components in the system animals use to understand their environment. Students communicate their models to one another to explain the system of how animals receive, process, and respond to information.

 

Students will explain their working models by considering the phenomenon of a snowshoe hare’s fur changing colors at different times in the year. Students obtain information by watching a video to find the cause of this phenomenon. Students then use a Venn Diagram (model) to compare (patterns) how the elephant in episode 2 and the snowshoe hare respond to their environment. Students use the previously created models to construct an explanation about the system snowshoe hares use. Students will communicate an explanation about the components included in their system model.

 

Students elaborate on their understanding by observing a gerbil navigate through a maze. Students obtain information from a video to find patterns in the gerbil’s performance. Students then ask questions about the patterns they have found. Students will then argue from evidence about the cause in gerbil’s improved performance through a structured argument and then communicate an explanation about this cause.


Student understanding is evaluated by creating a plan to train an animal a trick. Students obtain information about a system used to train a dog a trick. Students then develop a model of a system to train an animal to learn a trick. Finally students communicate the model by presenting their system to others.

 
STORYLINE: 4.1.3: Fossil Evidence

Standard(s) 4.1.3: Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the stability and change in organisms and environments from long ago. Emphasize using the structures of fossils to make inferences about ancient organisms. Examples of fossils and environments could include comparing a trilobite with a horseshoe crab in an ocean environment or using a fossil footprint to determine the size of a dinosaur. (LS4.A)

Practices

Analyzing and Interpreting Data Analyzing data in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to introducing quantitative approaches to collecting data and conducting multiple trials of qualitative observations. When possible and feasible, digital tools should be used. 

  • Analyze and interpret data to make sense of phenomena using logical reasoning.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity 

  • Some kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth are no longer found anywhere. (Note: moved from K-2) 

  • Fossils provide evidence about the types of organisms that lived long ago and also about the nature of their environments.

Cross Cutting Concepts

Stability and Change:

Small changes in one part of a system might cause large changes in another part.

Phenomena Statement

Snow in June is an unexpected weather event.

Storyline Narrative

Students ENGAGE by asking questions about patterns they observe in a photograph of shells fossilized in rock. Students then construct an explanation of what caused the shells to become fossils. Students will communicate what caused the Turritella to become part of a fossilized in rock by sharing their answers with other students. Students EXPLORE by planning and carrying out an investigation to discover patterns of similarities and differences as they compare living and once living organisms. Students construct an explanation showing the patterns of similarities and differences of living and once living organisms. Students communicate the patterns of similarities and differences of living and once living organisms by sharing their responses with an elbow partner. Students EXPLAIN by planning and carrying out an investigation to compare the external structures of living and once living organisms using a chart in their student journals. Students construct an explanation of how comparing fossils with living organisms can show change and stability in an environment over time. Students then communicate their explanations of how comparing fossils with living organisms can show stability or change in an environment over time. Students ELABORATE by obtaining and evaluating information by finding patterns of stability and change in Utah’s organisms and environments over time. Finally, students EVALUATE by engaging in argument from evidence to prove that petrification can be evidence of change and stability over time. Students then communicate how petrification and other types of fossils provides evidence of change and stability over time.

 
STORYLINE: 4.1.4 : Changes over Time

Standard(s) 4.1.4: Engage in argument from evidence based on patterns in rock layers and fossils found in those layers to support an explanation that environments have changed over time. Emphasize the relationship between fossils and past environments. Examples could include tropical plant fossils found in Arctic areas and rock layers with marine shell fossils found above rock layers with land plant fossils. (ESS1.C)

Practices

Engaging in Argument from Evidence in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to critiquing the scientific explanations or solutions proposed by peers by citing relevant evidence about the natural and designed world(s). 

∙ Construct an argument with evidence, data, and/or a model.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth 

Local, regional, and global patterns of rock formations reveal changes over time due to earth forces, such as earthquakes. The presence and location of certain fossil types indicate the order in which rock layers were formed.

Cross Cutting Concepts

Patterns

Patterns can be used as evidence to support an explanation.

Phenomena Statement

The Moenave Formation in Southwestern Utah showing layers of rock formed in a horizontal pattern.

Storyline Narrative
Students ENGAGE by asking questions about the patterns they observed in strata or layers of rock. Students use a model to explain what causes the formation of horizontal layers in rocks. Students communicate their models and explain what causes the formation of horizontal layers in rocks. Students EXPLORE by Students obtain and evaluate information about patterns of color in sedimentary rocks. Students analyze and interpret data from a chart and look for patterns in the colors of rock to make inferences about past environments. Then, students communicate how patterns of color in layers of rock can indicate past environments. Students will EXPLAIN by analyzing and interpreting data by looking for patterns in a graphic showing fossils in different layers of rock. Students obtain and evaluate information and look for patterns in imprint fossils that indicate a change in past environments. Students will then communicate how fossils provide evidence of change in past environments. Next, students ELABORATE by analyzing and interpreting data from a graphic to find patterns of different layers of rock. Students communicate their arguments showing how patterns in rock layers can indicate past environments. Finally, students EVALUATE by analyzing and interpreting data to argue from evidence about how the patterns in fossils can indicate past environments. Students communicate their arguments showing how patterns in fossils can indicate past environments
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