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Utah Science

Curriculum Consortium

Tyson Grover

Annette Nielson

K.2 Strand

Living things (plants and animals, including humans) depend on their surroundings to get what they need, including food, water, shelter, and a favorable temperature. The characteristics of surroundings influence where living things are naturally found. Plants and animals affect and respond to their surroundings.
STORYLINE: K.2 Survival of Living Things

Standard K.2.1: Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to describe patterns of what living things (plants and animals, including humans) need to survive. Emphasize the similarities and differences between the survival needs of all living things. Examples could include that plants depend on air, water, minerals, and light to survive, or animals depend on plants or other animals to survive. (LS1.C) 


Standard K.2.2: Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about patterns in the relationships between the needs of different living things (plants and animals, including humans) and the places they live. Emphasize that living things need water, air, and resources and that they live in places that have the things they need. Examples could include investigating plants grown in various locations and comparing the results or comparing animals with the places they live. (LS2.B, ESS3.A) 


Standard K.2.3: Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about how living things (plants and animals, including humans) affect their surroundings to survive. Examples could include squirrels digging in the ground to hide their food, plant roots breaking concrete, or humans building shelters. (ESS2.E) 

Standard K.2.4: Design and communicate a solution to address the effects that living things (plants and animals, including humans) experience while trying to survive in their surroundings. Define the problem by asking questions and gathering information, convey designs through sketches, drawings, or physical models, and compare designs. Emphasize students working from a plant, animal, or human perspective. Examples could include a plant growing to get more sunlight, a beaver building a dam, or humans caring for the Earth by reusing and recycling natural resources. (ESS3.C, ETS1.A, ETS1.B, ETS1.C)


Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information in K–2 builds on prior experiences and uses observations and texts to communicate new information. 

  • Read grade-appropriate texts and/or use media to obtain scientific information to describe patterns in the natural world.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to the use of evidence and ideas in constructing evidence-based accounts of natural phenomena and designing solutions.

  • Use tools and materials provided to design and build a device that solves a specific problem or a solution to a specific problem.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

All animals need food in order to live and grow. They obtain their food from plants or from other animals. Plants need water and light to live and grow.

ESS3.A: Natural Resources

Living things need water, air, and resources from the land, and they live in places that have the things they need. Humans use natural resources for everything they do.

Cross Cutting Concepts

Patterns in the natural world can be observed, used to describe phenomena, and used as evidence.

Cause and Effect: Events have causes that generate observable patterns.

Phenomena Statement

There are different plants and animals in a forest and in a desert.

Storyline Narrative

This tells the story of what will happen in the classroom and why students will explore the presented phenomenon. It contains descriptions of the student performances (SEP) and how they are being asked to frame their thinking (CCC).

Students begin looking at the phenomenon that some animals have shells and some do not. During this episode students obtain information from text and pictures about animals and their shelters. Students then look at patterns of these shelters by finding similarities and differences in how these animals get their shelters. Students work in groups to sort the animals into categories based on these similarities and differences. Groups then present a category to the class and explain the patterns in how the animals got their shelter. Students will have the understanding that shelters may look different, but all animals need shelter to survive. 

Next, students will consider the phenomenon that cows eat grass, but lions do not to explore the patterns in the foods animals eat. Students will obtain information from a video about different foods animals eat. Students will evaluate the patterns they see in the food sources by finding similarities and differences. Students will then communicate using a chart the patterns that some animals eat plants, some animals eat other animals, and some animals eat both, but all animals need food and water to survive.

Students will then look at what plants need to survive. Students begin by obtaining information by watching a timelapse video of a spinach plant growing. Students will observe how plants are different from animals by noticing the parts of a plant. Students will evaluate information from text about how these parts of plants help them to survive. Students will communicate with pictures and words on a Venn Diagram about the patterns in how plants and animals are similar and different. 

Next, students will explore how plants and animals use the environment to solve problems. Students observe the phenomena of a bird nest. Students obtain information from pictures and text about living things and the different ways they use their environment. Students then work in centers or small groups to evaluate how other plants and animals solve problems. Students also evaluate how the solution affects the plant/animal. Finally, students communicate in their journals about the problems different plants and animals have and how the solutions have an effect on the plant/animal.

Finally, students observe that a brown bear lives in a forest and not a desert to explore why plants and animals live in different environments. Students will first obtain information about the patterns (similarities and differences) in environments through pictures and text as a class. Students will then work in centers to evaluate information about plants and animals and sort them based on the patterns of their needs into the environments they live in. Students will communicate information about the pattern that plants and animals live in the environment that provide the resources they need.