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Integrated Unit Team: Ecosystems

Two week theme timeline:

Week 1:
Monday Morning:
11. Learning Vocab and Vocab worksheet (ELA)

Monday Afternoon:
Music in My Environment (Music)

Tuesday Morning:
5. Habitat Maps (History)

Tuesday Afternoon:
3. Sorting and Habitat (Math)

Wednesday Morning:
17. Reading about the 7 habitats (ELA)

Wednesday Afternoon:
2. Food Chain (Science)

Thursday Morning:
10. Food Chain Collages (Art)

Thursday Afternoon:
7. Ecosystem Charades (Drama)

Friday Morning:
O Over the Ocean (P.E.)

Friday Afternoon:
20. Investigating Abiotic and Biotic Organisms (Science)

Week 2:
Monday Morning:
1. Sensory Climate Exploration (Science)

Monday Afternoon:
9. Creating Biomes (ART)

Tuesday Morning:
Biomes: Animals and Plants in Their Environments (Music)

Tuesday Afternoon:
19. Creating Biospheres in a bottle (Science)
Wednesday Morning:
Biome Go! (P.E)

Wednesday Afternoon:
12. Animal Report (ELA)

Thursday Morning:
6. Endangered Species Map (History)

Thursday Afternoon:
4. Extinction (Math)

Friday Morning:
8. Ecosystems Skit (Drama)

Friday Afternoon:
18. My Ecosystem Book (ELA)

Activity Description:

Chelsea-Science & Math

1. Lesson title: Sensory Climate Exploration. This activity will allow the children to get their
handy dirty and messy, while playing in the sensory table. The sensory table will be filled with
different temperature items depending on what climate area they are studying that week. For
example, during their study of Antarctica, the sensory table will be filled with ice and penguins.
The children will learn what animals live in the different climates as well as feel the common
temperature for the areas. The learning objectives are for the students to be able to understand
and be able to explain the differences between climates. This activity will be ongoing during the
students study. They will have time to rotate through the sensory table when they finish their

2. Lesson title: The Food Chain. This activity will give children the opportunity to learn about
the food chain on land and in water. There will be lesson sheets that have diagrams of the food
chain for the children to work on in small groups to complete. There will be information and fill
in the blanks to challenge their understanding of the material. The learning objective is for the
students to be able to create their own interactive foldable pamphlet. This activity will take
approximately one hour of group work and take home homework for the pamphlet.

3. Lesson title: Sorting and Habitats. This activity will be done in small groups during math time.
The students will be given approximately 20 small plastic animals from all climates and areas.
The students job will be to sort and classify the animals into their correct species and then their
climates. They will then be asked to count how many are in each group and complete a class
graph chart. This will foster their math skills by classifying, counting, and graphing. The learning
objective is for the students to be able to analyze the information on the graph and recall what the
information means. The activity will take approximately one hour.
4. Lesson title: Extinction. This activity is meant to build on the previous math activity of sorting
and counting animals. The students will again be given a group of plastic animals. However, this
time the teacher will call out that certain animals have gone extinct. The students will now need
to subtract those animals from their list and create a new class graph to show the devastation of
extinction. The learning objective is for the students to be able to recall past information and
connect it to the new learned material. This activity will take approximately 45 minutes.

2 Books: Chelsea
1) Penguins and Antarctica by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Bryce. Published by
Random House Childrens Books on September 23, 2008.
This book would fit perfectly into our integrated unit. The book goes into great factual
detail about Antarctica and its penguins. This book gives interesting information on
penguins which would be helpful information for the activity on sensory climate
exploration. It will be used in the unit to teach about a drastically different type of climate
then where we live. It will give the students an idea of what a cold climate is like and
what types of animals live there.
2) The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten by Pat Relf and Patricia Relf. Published by Scholastic
Paperbacks on February 1, 1996.
This book would be used in the unit to teach about the food chain and where we fit along
with different types of animals. This would be an excellent resource to introduce the
students to what a food chain is before implementing the math activity lesson based on
food chains and animals. The book specifically looks at food chains underwater in the
ocean. This is information that is often forgot about with young children because it is not
seen. Once they understand the food chain underwater, we can teach the food chain in
different climates on land.

Andrea-History & Drama

5. Lesson Title: Habitats Maps. This activity will be done in small groups during the social
studies time slot of the day. If the class were to have 6 groups with 5 children in each group, each
group would be assigned a different habitat. Some of the habitats include desert, rainforest,
safari, tundra, river, and the savanna. Each child would have a map worksheet to color code the
map with information about the specific habitat on the other side of the worksheet. Each child
would have an additional map worksheet but with the whole world. They will be expected to
locate their habitat on the map. Because they are with small groups, the children can discuss the
activity with each other. After 30 minutes pass, each group will present their habitat map to the
rest of the class so the other students can learn about the other habitats as well. After the small
presentation, the groups will locate their habitat on the larger map hanging on the wall. The
learning objective would be for students to locate different habitats on the world map and learn
about the physical characteristics of these different areas.

6. Lesson Title: Endangered Species Maps. This activity will be implemented after the math
activity, Extinction. After the students get an idea about different animals that have gone extinct,
the teacher will introduce the term endangered species. Each student will have two worksheets;
one a map of the world and the other will be pictures with labels of endangered animals. The
worksheet with the animals will have 2 columns. One column for the specific animals and the
other with information about the habitat they are from and where they can be found in the world.
This activity can be done with groups to make the learning experience more interactive. The
students will color the map. Then they will be expected to cut out the animals and label them on
the map. An important social studies standard for 3rd graders is geography and maps. The
learning objective will be for students to get more exposure to different types of maps and learn
about endangered animals.

7. Lesson Title: Ecosystem Charades. This activity can be done after the children have been in
their seats for a while to help get their wiggles out. The teacher will have premade 50 cards that
incorporate animals from different ecosystems. The children will then play charades and act out
the animal they were given without speaking. Each child who participates will have a minute to
get through as many cards as possible. This will give the children room to have fun and be
engaged in way that they are not forced to act out animals if they are uncomfortable. This
activity will be about 45 minutes. The learning objective is for students to get more exposure to
different types of animals within ecosystems in a way that allows for them to use their drama and
acting out skills. This will appeal to students because it is engaging.

8. Lesson Title: Ecosystem Skits. Within their small groups in the beginning of the integrated
unit, the children will be assigned different ecosystems to act out a small skit. As long as the skit
covers important information about the specific ecosystem, the children will have completed the
assignment. The students will have 30 minutes every day to plan their skit for the 2 weeks of the
unit and on the last Friday of the unit, the teacher will use the stage in the MultiPurpose room to
invite parents to watch the skit. The students will have access to many different props. The
learning objective is to have students work collaboratively to act out their assigned ecosystems.

2 Books: Andrea
1. Survival at 40 Below by Debbie Miller and John Van Zyle. Published by Walkers
Children in 2012. This book will teach students about the arctic habitats and how animals
like birds and polar bears adapted to these cold environments. This will introduce
different coping strategies for survival such as hibernation. This book would be
incredibly useful for our unit on ecosystems because it will teach students and open up a
discussion about how animals adapt to harsh ecosystems.
2. Desert Giant: The World of the Saguaro Cactus by Barbara Bash. Published by Sierra
Club Books For Children in 2002. This book will teach students about the saguaro and
the deserts. It will provide children with information about this particular habitat with
beautiful pictures. Guided with teacher questions, this can prompt a class discussion
about this specific environment. It will tie nicely into our integrated lesson because it
discusses a specific habitat.

Erica- Art & ELA

9. Lesson Title: Creating Biomes! Children will do this individual assignment where they chose a
biome, (for example, tundra, rainforest, or desert.) and then use a shoe box to create a mini
version of this biome. They will use different colored, paper, markers, paint or anything else they
wish to make this biome look realistic and represent their chosen biome. Inside the shoe box
should be miniature items that represent the terrain of the environment, plants or animals that
live there. This lesson will allow the children to be creative and have fun while studying and
learning about a specific biome. Once the children are done making all of their biomes, they can
share them with the class, allowing everyone to learn about all the different types of biomes.

10. Lesson Title: Food Chain Collages! In order to complete this art activity, the children will use
multiple different colored construction papers with outlines of animals printed on them. They
will cut out these outlines and stack them according to where the animal is on the food chain. For
example if it was a food chain for swamp animals, there would be a alligator on the outside, then
a frog, and then a fly inside the frog. This allows the children to understand the order of animal
food chains in different ecosystems and biomes. As an example, a similar photo is posted below
this description.

11. Lesson Title: Ecosystem Vocabulary Sheet: The activity will start with an explanation of
vocab terms surrounding ecosystem. The children will be given a worksheet that includes a word
bank at the top that has different vocab words surrounding ecosystems and different biomes. On
the bottom portion of the worksheet there will be definitions of the words in the word bank. Next
to these definitions there will be a space for the children to try and match the words in the word
bank with the definitions. These definitions will include the main points about an ecosystem,
such as Biome, Desert, Rainforest, Food Chain, Biotic Factor and Abiotic Factors. The children
can work in pairs or groups to finish this worksheet and will be encouraged to read the
definitions out loud.
12. Lesson Title: Animal Report! For this lesson, the children will create their own animal report.
In order to do this the children will need to pick an animal and then use books or the internet to
find and read information about the animal they chose! They will then be given a handout that
has spaces for them to write specific facts about their animal and draw a small pictures of the
animal. They will be asked to write what animal they picked, Where the animal live, What they
eat, and what they look like. After describing this with their words, the children will then write 4
facts about the animal that they found while doing their research.
1. I took a walk, by Henry Cole
This story talk about a boy who finds and explores four different habitats. As he walks
through the wood, a meadow, a pond and a stream, he looks at the different animals and
plants that are in these different habitats. This book uses pages with simple sentences,
pages with flaps, and even bright colors to help the children stay interested and curious
about the story.
2. What's For Dinner?: Quirky, Squirmy Poems From the Animal World. By Katherine Hauth
I think that this book would be really cool for third grades to read because it is a
collection of 29 poems that have to do with the animals and their place in the food chain.
This book is made to be funny while having a realistic take on the animals and their food
chain. The back of the book also includes a vocab section that helps define some of the
harder concepts in the book.
Rachel- Music & PE
13. Lesson Title: Biomes: Animals and Plants in Their Environments. This activity is a 25-
musical play about biomes, and the animals and plants in their environments. The musical
play, either to be conducted by the students or listened to on tape follows a group of animals
search of their proper biome. To do this, they will have learn about desert, forest, grassland,
freshwater, tundra, and marine areas. This activity will take one day and will keep children
engaged in learning about biomes with perspective taking in a musical light.
14. Lesson Title: Music in Ecological Environments. In this music activity, children will have
background knowledge about the ways that humans and animals communicate through
in nature. Children will go on a nature walk and write down what sounds they hear. These
sounds will be discussed by the teacher, and examples will be given of ways instruments
mimic animal sounds. For example, maracas mimicking a snake rattle and a piccolo
mimicking a melody of birds. Materials will include paper for children to write down what
they hear, and technology to show example of instruments.
15. Lesson Title: Biome Go! This PE activity mirrors the popular mobile game, Pokemon Go,
except that the animals the children will be catching will be from the desert, tundra, ocean,
forest and tropical rainforest. 2 animal cut outs from each of the 5 biomes will be scattered
around a physical activities area. Within groups of 5-6, children will find all 10 animal cut
outs and will be asked to sort which animals belong to what biome in their biodex.
16. Lesson Title: O Over the Ocean. In this PE activity, children will have background
knowledge about oil spills, after reading Oil Spill by Melvin Berger in class. This activity
take place outside, and will be a spin on the classic outdoor game One Fish, Two Fish, Red
Fish Blue Fish. Three teams will race in a relay to see who can remove the ships and oil
tankers from their ocean buckets first. These buckets will be placed at the end of a
court, where one person of the team will run, collect a ship, and run back to their group. The
runner will high five the next person in line to become the next runner. This allows children
combine scientific concepts to their physical play.

2 Books: Rachel

1. Oil Spill! by Melvin Berger, illustrated by Paul Mirocha.

This nonfiction books explains why oils spills happen, how experts clean them up after
them, and the effect oil spills have on the ocean. It also includes some of the major oil
spills that have happened in the past, including 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill.

2. Sounds All Around! by Wendy Pfeffer and illustrated by Anna Cherynshova. This fiction
book is a great fit for the Music in Ecological Environments due to its discussion of the
sounds that animals and humans use to communicate in nature. The understanding that
very small sounds are used for communication in nature will allow students to more
easily detect the musical qualities in the world around them.

Nancy- ELA & Science

17. Lesson Title: Reading About the Seven Habitats. For this activity the children will be
practicing their reading skills by reading out loud to one another. Fourteen handouts will be
placed at different desks with a small description of each of the seven habitats. Since there are
roughly about thirty students in the class there will be two sets of the seven passages so that
every pair can rotate seven times, if there are more students in the class some will have to be
groups of three. In those handouts there will be a short passage describing what the different
habitats are, where they are located, who lives in these habitats, and a picture of what it looks
like. The children will be given about 5 minutes to read about one habitat and move to the next
desk to read about the next habitat. Children will get into pairs and take turns reading to each
other during each rotation so that one child will read one habitat and his/her partner(s) will read
about the next habitat when the rotation takes place and will continue taking turns every time
they rotate. The teacher will notify the children when there is one minute remaining and then
when to rotate to the next. This activity should take about forty minutes.
18. Lesson Title: My Ecosystem Book. After reading about the different ecosystems the
children will create a circle book on their choice of one of the ecosystems (desert, ocean,
rainforest, etc.) Each of the circles, folded in half, will have descriptions of the different
characteristic of that ecosystem which includes: what plants and animals can be found in that
particular ecosystem, the landscape of that ecosystem, the climate and weather of that ecosystem,
and the locations where the ecosystem can be found. Each characteristic will be written and
drawn on each side of the circle. Once they have finished writing and drawing on each of the
circles, folded in half, the lines from the circles being folded will all be glued together to a string.
This activity should take about two days to complete. During their time for ELA the children will
take about thirty minutes to work on it for the period of two days. The objective of this activity is
for the children to learn how create a book.
19. Lesson Title: Creating a Biosphere in a Bottle. After learning a little bit about biotics and
abiotics the children will create their own biosphere made out of of both living and nonliving
things to see how they interact together to create a system that sustains life. Working at tables in
groups of five the children will gather their materials, which including: two soda bottles, a bottle
cap, suck tape, a six inch piece of heavy cotton string, water, planting soil, a couple of small
plants, and maybe add a goldfish or worms to the water or soil and follow the instructions on a
photo diagram. For one bottle they will cut the top only leaving the bottom and for the second
bottle they will cut the bottom only leaving the top. We will be taping three pieces together, the
bottom half of the first bottle, the top of that bottle will be flipped upside down with the cap
inside the bottom half, and the other small top of the other bottle faced up on top of that. In each
of the different sections we will see the water on the bottom (pond), the dirt above on the other
bottle with plants on the dirt and air on the top. This activity should take up to forty five minutes
to complete with all of the children working together. The objective of this activity will be for
them to learn how living organisms and nonliving organisms interconnect in making a living
20. Lesson Title: Investigating Abiotic and Biotic Organisms. After learning more about biotic
organisms and abiotic organisms the children will now get to take a look of different types or
organisms that fit both of these categories. Not knowing with objects fit into which of the two
categories the children will be placed into groups of five with three abiotic organisms and three
biotic organism. Items include things like soil, water, air, a plant, a goldfish, a worm, etc. Each
group will have different objects so the children won't give each other answers or look to the
other group for answers. Based on the information that they have read on biotic and abiotic
organisms the children will have to investigate and discuss amongst each other which organisms
fall into which category and write their findings in a two column putting an organism according
to the category that they belong to. This activity should take up to thirty minutes. The objective
of this activity is for the children to investigate what organisms are biotic and which organisms
are abiotic and further develop their understanding of what abiotic and biotic is.

2 Books: Nancy

1. I See a Kookaburra! Discovering Animal Habitats Around the World by Robin Page and
Steve Jenkins and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. This book was published in 2005 by
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. This is a book that describes all of the
different habitats and animals that live in each one of them. The book has really nice,
vibrant and colorful illustrations of the habitats and animals that children would really
enjoy to look at. It's also really interactive with asking the children what animals they see
in that particular habitat this way the children will be really engaged. This book would be
a great book to introduce habitats and animals to the children and it would also really
help the children create their ecosystem book later in the unit.
2. Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer and Adam Schaefer. This book was published
in 2016 by Chronicle Books. This is a book that shows the connections between the
layers of an ecosystem. This book shows from one acorn a tree will grow and on that tree
a tree will make their nests showing how all of these organisms are all connected in a
system of life. This book would be a great example of how different organisms are
interconnected and is a great way learn about ecosystems before they they begin the
activity where they create their own biosphere in a bottle.
Part Two:
Curriculum web, learning objectives & standards, assessment strategies
- Create a curriculum web with your topic in the center. Identify the most important learning
activities and lessons that will be part of the unit. Show what concepts and skills are connected to
each activity
- Identify the five most important learning objectives of your unit. Connect each of these
learning objectives to one or more standards (PLF, CCSS, NGS or State Content Standards.)
- Describe four assessments that you will use to show what the children already knew and what
they learned.

Curriculum Web
-Using and
-Animal based Science:
creating maps-- list : yoga -Allow the children
to get messy and
where habitats
play in different
could be, where
sensory bins that
animals are themed to the
(Endangered or different
not) can be found temperates or
climates they are
-Safari/Jungle studying.
props -
- Learn about the
-Have the food chain by
children create Ecosystem creating interactive
plays/skits about
the ecosystems s foldable Math:
worksheets! animals to
they are learning
about! their habitats

-Creating or
listening to songs
related to
ecosystems, ELA:
different habitats,
or animals Art:their own
-Creating -Create and write
-Listening to the habitat sentences/ stories
sounds of different -Creating their own about a ecosystem and
habitats (sound of food chain
the animals that live
a rainforest) or -Coloring activities
about endangered there.
sounds of animals -Read books about
ecosystems and
connect them to the
childrens writing.

Assessment Strategies:
1. To determine what the students already know, the teacher could facilitate a class
discussion about what ecosystems are. After introducing the topic, the teacher can use
this opportunity to start a discussion about what the third graders know about ecosystems,
non-living things, and living things. As a teacher, I would use this as an opportunity to
observe and document what the children already know through anecdotal records. While I
would have a general timeline planned of what I want to teach, this class discussion could
help lead me in the direction of the different type of ecosystems we would be studying.
2. Within this unit, teachers could implement classification card games for different animals
and the ecosystem they are a part of. Beforehand, the teacher could design a checklist of
specific objectives that are being touched on within this hands-on activity. While the
children are playing this game after learning more about ecosystems, the teacher would
walk around the class and check off what is being observed. To go off the checklist, the
teacher could also make note of what is being observed as well.
3. At the end of the unit, the children will engage in an inquiry-project where they design a
model of a habit they are most interested in after learning about the different ecosystems.
They will be expected to include biotic and abiotic factors into their model and include a
written portion as well. The teacher will use this as a work sample to assess rather the
students met the learning objectives and can make note on specific things included in the
model. Work samples of childrens work can speak volumes on what was learned in an
authentic way.
4. Throughout the 2 week unit, there will be some worksheets the children will have to fill
out after learning about specific parts of ecosystem. The teacher can create portfolios of
the childs work to later go back and document what was mastered in regards to the
learning objectives.

5 Learning Objectives:

1. Understand and be able to explain the differences between biotic and abiotic factors.
Fulfills NGSS 3rd Grade Science Standard 3-LS3-1: Similarities and differences in
patterns can be used to sort and classify natural phenomena.

2. Be able to analyze factors within each area. For example, be capable of compare the sun
to other biotic factors like the air. This fulfills NGSS 3rd Grade Science Standard 3-LS3-
1: Analyze and interpret data to make sense of phenomena using logical reasoning.

3. Have the ability to memorize and recall information learned during each lesson on biotic
and abiotic factors. This objective fulfills Common Core Standards RI.3.1: Ask and
answer questions to demonstrate the understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the
text as the basis for the answers, and RI.3.2: Determine the main idea of a text; recount
the key details and explain how they support the main idea.

4. Make a model of an ecosystem to demonstrate the level of learning after the unit is
complete. This fulfills the NGSS 3rd Grade Science Standard SL.3.4: Report on a topic
or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant,
descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

5. To be able to create an imaginary future ecosystem and how it would develop (weather
cycles, population changes, etc.). This fulfills the NGSS 3rd Grade Science Standard
SL.3.4: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate
facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

Letter To Families:

Dear Third Grade Families,

For the next two weeks, our third grade class will be learning about

biomes. Learning about these major ecological communities will provide

many opportunities for families to be involved in students discovery learning.

If you would like to come in and volunteer or speak about biomes or animals

and their habitats, please reach out to me on our school email.

On school days our classroom will be open for 20 minutes after the bell

rings, where our families are welcome to see what weve been working on.

Each child will talk to one member of their families about what they learned

about biomes during school, and will also bring a book home to read aloud.

Make sure to mark in your calendars our end of month showcase, where all

work in the past two weeks will be displayed. This showcase will happen on

Friday, December 13th at 3pm in Room 1. Your child will bring this work home

on the following Monday, December 16th.


Miss H.


Bash, B. (2010). Desert giant: the World of the Saguaro cactus. San Francisco: Sierra Club
Books for Children.

Carpenter, R. (2011). Biomes: Animals and Plants in Their Habitats. Bad Wolf Press, .
Ecosystems (or Biomes) Circle Book. The Owl Teacher,

Food Chain Lesson Plans and Lesson Ideas. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2017, from

Jenkins, Steve, and Robin Page. I See a Kookaburra!: Discovering Animal Habitats around the
World. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.

Learning the Causes of Extinction. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2017, from

Miller, D. S., & Zyle, J. V. (2012). Survival at 40 below. New York: Walker Childrens.

Osborne, M. P., Boyce, N. P., & Murdocca, S. (2011). Penguins and Antarctica. New York:
Random House.

Pfeffer, Wendy, and Anna Chernyshova. Sounds All Around. Harper, an Imprint of Harper Collins
Publishers, 2016.

Relf, P., Cole, J., & Bracken, C. (1996). Scholastic's The magic school bus gets eaten: a book
about food chains. New York, NY: Scholastic.

Schaefer, Lola M., et al. Because of an Acorn. Chronicle Books, 2016.

Vasquez, Jo Anne. Earth Day Activity: Build a Biosphere in a Bottle. Expect More Arizona, 22 Apr. 2015,