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Lesson Plan: Animal Life Cycles Within a Community Context

By: Emily Reavie

Title: Animal Life Cycles Within a Community Context

Grade: 2
Subject/Course: Science and Technology
Strand: Understanding Life Systems - Growth and Changes in Animals
Time: 120 minutes (2 hour instructional period)
Location: Hwy. 29 from Hwy. 401, Debruge Rd, Brockville, ON K6T 1A5
Lesson Description
Students will be participating in a program called, Critters and Minibeasts conducted by the Mac
Johnson Wildlife Area Education Program. They will be addressing the subject Science and
Technology throughout the program. This program can be done in both the fall and spring. Through
live capture and release, students identify and classify common insects and various adaptations, life
cycles, and food chains. Students will have the opportunity to come to appreciate the valuable role
insects play in the environment.
Stage 1: Desired Results
Fundamental Concepts/Skills
Students will be able to properly live capture and release animals. They will become aware of the
importance of these animals in terms of adaptations, life cycles, and food chains.
Big Ideas/Essential Question
How do insects adapt, where do they fit into the food chain, and how do their life cycles affect them?
Ontario Curricular Overall Expectation
2. Investigate similarities and differences in the characteristics of various animals;
Ontario Curricular Specific Expectation
2.1 Follow established safety procedures and humane practices specific to the care and handling of live
animals, where appropriate, during science and technology investigations (e.g., make the teacher aware
of any allergies; handle animals gently or know when it is better not to handle them at all; wash hands
after handling animals)
2.3 Investigate the life cycle of a variety of animals (e.g., butterflies, frogs, chickens), using a variety of
methods and resources (e.g., observation of live animals in the classroom and in the schoolyard; books,
videos/DVDs, CD-ROMs, and/or the Internet)
2.4 Observe and compare changes in the appearance and activity of animals as they go through a
complete life cycle (e.g., frog, butterfly)
2.7 Use appropriate science and technology vocabulary, including life cycle, migration, adaptation,
body coverings, and classify, in oral and written communication
Lesson Goals
Students will understand various characteristics that define different animals.
Students will understand the process of a life cycle while being able to give multiple examples of
various animal life cycles.
Key concepts and/or skills to be Background Knowledge
Recognizing / classifying various Students will have already learned about
animals various animals and their lifecycles in the
Understanding what a life cycle is classroom.
Being able to provide examples of Students will have knowledge about the field
various life cycles of animals trip before actually going on the trip.
Proper live capture and release of Students will have previous knowledge
animals obtained in Grade 1 about the basic needs and
characteristics of plants and animals, including
Stage 2: Planning learning experience and instruction
Student Groupings Instructional Strategies
- Students will work in small groups and - Verbal and written instruction
individually in order to assess different - Guided learning / discovery
situations. - Demonstration of activities
- Large group discussions will also take - Explaining activities before giving out any materials
place on specific topics. will keep the students focused on instruction.
Materials Safety/Considerations
Materials needed for the 2 hour Students must be warned about environmental
session will be provided by the Mac risks such as bodies of water, holes in the
Johnson Wildlife Area (i.e., nets, ground, and so on.
jars, etc.) Students must be in close proximity to the
Students will have been prepared to teacher and other adult volunteers.
bring: lunch, water, and appropriate Teacher should continuously be counting to
active wear. make sure all students are accounted for.
Payment must have already been Students must ask and then be accompanied to
provided to the Mac Johnson the bathroom by an adult.
Wildlife Area. Field trip forms will be filled out by the
School bus to get to the location. parent(s)/guardian(s) for each student.
Extra sunscreen Funding may happen based on the financial
status of the students.
The trip will be confirmed by the principal.
Students may wish to bring bug spray and

- Students will be given more time if they require it.
- Accommodation for exceptional students (e.g., provide them with further ideas to work on, have them
sit with someone else in the class who is finding the task at hand more challenging, etc.).
- Accommodation for students who are struggling (e.g., have a student who is willing to help and
knowledgeable about the subject work near them).
- The route of the program may be altered based upon students who may be limited to their physical
Stage 3: Learning experience and instruction
Motivational Hook
Students will be reminded of the field trip they are going on. They will be reminded about safety
precautions and how to act when on a field trip at a conservation area. The day will be able to begin as
early as 9:30 and as a late as we would like. Essentially, the lesson would begin as soon as we were
there and ready.
* Due to this being an inquiry-based learning experience where students are discovering the entire
time, the following lesson plan is based off of potential situations. Anything can happen in this lesson
and it can go in any direction, therefore, these are all hypothetical situations to match possible
Students will be introduced to the educator team and reminded to be respectful.
The rest of the session will be led by the educators at Mac Johnson Wildlife Area.
During this time, Mac Johnson Wildlife Area informed me that they would beginning their
lesson inside of the nature centre. Here, they would define what an insect is while utilizing a
plastic model. Earthworm and centipede models would be examined. This would take
anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to complete. After this, the students will have the
opportunity to have a snack.
Led by educators at Mac Johnson Wildlife Area. Focus will be around the Science and
Technology Ontario Curriculum.
During this time, Mac Johnson Wildlife Area informed me that there would be discussions
about life cycles. Depending on what is available, the dragonfly / willy bear / monarch would
be observed. After this, collection would take place during a visit to the pond. Depending on
the students and the creatures available, the students may go on to an open meadow, go on a
moving hike, or spend the entire time at the pond. Dragonflies would be a likely capture.
Students would be able to collect the insects in nets or jars. This collection period would last
about one hour.
Led by educators at Mac Johnson Wildlife Area.
During this time, Mac Johnson Wildlife Area informed me that there would be group sharing at
the end of their collection. Students would be able to share the items that they live captured and
discuss what they observed / learned. This allows students to get different perspectives based
on various insects.
The class will thank the educators at the conservation area for the great two hours of hands-on
learning. They will also have the opportunity to ask any questions that they may have.
Link to Future Lessons
During the next classroom lesson, students will have the chance to share their experience with the field
trip. Students will be able to reflect on their experience and discuss any remaining questions they may
have. This lesson may lead to an individual or group assignment regarding a specific animal and their
life cycle that could then be shared with the class.
Assessment for learning: During the unit, in order to allow students to reflect, they would be provided
with exit cards. Students would write down what they learned along with any remaining questions they
may have. This would help lead future lessons depending on what students are most interested in
(inquiry-based learning).
Assessment as learning: Not applicable at this time.
Assessment of learning: After their learning, students will focus on one animal that they learned about
at Mac Johnson Wildlife Area. They will complete an independent or group assignment (depending on
the class needs) about one creature in order to extend the group discussion that took place after the hour
of collection at Mac Johnson. Students will be able to use whatever form of presenting they wish. This
will then be shared with the class in order to provide a richer learning environment amongst the
students. Students would be introduced to a success criteria sheet that they would be able to refer to
while completing their assignment.
Conservation Areas: A Wonderful Field Trip Idea!
I am hoping to join the Upper Canada District School Board. Therefore, I have considered a
conservation area in my hometown, Brockville (Ontario). The experiential learning program I found that
would be appropriate for a grade two class is conducted by the Mac Johnson and Wildlife Area Education
Program. Conservation areas provide so many avenues towards learning outside of the walls of the
classroom. Experiential-based learning is so important for children. I find that the quote what we learn
with pleasure we never forget by Alfred Mercier is very accurate. We should provide fun and engaging
activities that children will always remember and therefore retain the knowledge learned! All the
education programs at this conservation area target a specific subject in the Ontario Curriculum and
provide detailed instruction of what is involved.
As an educator, I would use this lesson to introduce a unit. Therefore, I would most likely go on
this field trip in the fall. Having a hands-on and experiential-based experience allows for the students to
connect more to classroom lessons. I would first introduce the topic to the children in the classroom.
However, using knowledgeable community members is a great way to begin a unit while making
Essential learning that must happen before the experience includes talking about what the
students already know about various animals along with defining key definitions. For example, students
would need to understand what a life cycle is and what adaptations and characteristics mean. After the
experience, students would have the opportunity to reflect on what they had learned while discussing any
questions that they still have. Depending on their key interests from the experience, this could lead into an
inquiry-based project about an animal of their choosing. In this sense, children may have questions they
want answered or they may choose to go off on a different route depending on their experience. This is a
great way for students to do some self-learning and discovery.
As mentioned previously, it is very important to recognize our community / community members and
utilizing our resources that are readily available to us. Due to this outreach, we can receive invaluable
learning for a very good price. In case you were wondering about the affordability of this field trip, the
cost is six dollars per student. The amazing benefit of this field trip is that you are easily able to extend
the trip so that it is a full day event. In doing so, you would participate in the two-hour instruction hosted
by the educators at the conservation area but then do self-guided discovery after. This would be a great
opportunity to get feedback from the students and assess their learning.