Grade 3

Rainforest Bird Beak Buffet

Author(s): Claudia Scharff

Rainforest Bird Beak Buffet

Students will look at pictures of 5 different rainforest birds and share their similarities and differences.  Each student will be given one of 5 tools and one of 3 cups to represent respectively a beak and stomach.  Students will go around the room and forage for "food," respresented by fake and real food.  They will discover that their "beak" and "stomach" allow them to eat only certain kinds of of food and consider the implications of this.

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The Lungs and Respiratory System

Author(s): Kimberly Besst, Deborah Rauchwerger, Karen Hauser, Robbie Ruelas,

The Lungs and Respiratory System

Students review what they already know about breathing and the respiratory system. After a brief introduction to the respiratory system, students break into two groups and rotate through two stations. At one station the students observe and touch human lung specimens and discuss the effects of smoking. At the other station, students simulate the effect of astma on breathing.

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The power of observation

Author(s): SEP Coordinators

The power of observation

Students each receive similar looking objects (marble, gem stone, bead, rock) and are given some time to make and record as many observations as possible. Then students at each table group mix up their objects and take turns reading out their descriptions while the rest of the group is trying to identify the described object.

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Which Soil Do Plants Like Best? - Part 2, Collecting Data

Author(s): Will Ludington, Evelyn Hernandez, Karla Perez, Katherine Sorber

Which Soil Do Plants Like Best? - Part 2, Collecting Data

Students will explore how plants grow while using the scientific method to conduct an experiment.

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Which Soil Do Plants Like Best? - Part 1, Planting

Author(s): Will Ludington, Evelyn Hernandez, Karla Perez, Katherine Sorber

Which Soil Do Plants Like Best? - Part 1, Planting

Students will explore how plants grow while using the scientific method to conduct an experiment.

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Polarity of Magnets

Author(s): Paige Nittler, Adrian Guggisberg, Jenny Chaffo, Malaika Sapper, SEP staff

Polarity of Magnets

Students will investigate how the effects of magnets change when their position in space is changed. Children are introduced to basic concepts of orientation in space.

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Demonstrating how to Conduct Controlled Investigations: Example Using Sound

Author(s): Linda Akiyama and Ranyee Chiang

Demonstrating how to Conduct Controlled Investigations: Example Using Sound

The teacher conducts an investigation to compare the sound produced by two different sized pipes (higher pitch, lower pitch, louder, softer).  The teacher conducts the experiment multiple times, each time changing different variables.  The students are "directors" and are asked to "cut" the scene when they observe something wrong with the experiment.

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Introducing Models to Elementary School Students

Author(s): Linda Akiyama and Ranyee Chiang

Introducing Models to Elementary School Students

Students learn what a model is by comparing a model of the tongue to their own tongue. They practice asking themselves, "How is this model like the thing it represents, and how is it different?"  This format of questioning can be used when using any model in science and can be used to check students' understanding and misconceptions.

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Draw an Alien in its Natural Habitat

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

Draw an Alien in its Natural Habitat

This is an extension and assessment activity for the Unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Changes in its Environment?"

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Student Designed Investigations Part 4 - Poster Presentations/Science Fair

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

Student Designed Investigations Part 4 - Poster Presentations/Science Fair

This lesson is from the unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?" The unit is designed to be taught prior to teaching the adopted FOSS curriculum on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a process for planning science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of  their investigation for a grade level science fair.

In this particular lesson, students create Poster presentations explaining their investigations. They use the posters to help them present their investigations to an audience of adults and children at a science fair.

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Student Designed Investigations Part 3 – Collecting Data and Drawing Conclusions

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

Student Designed Investigations Part 3 – Collecting Data and Drawing Conclusions

This lesson is from the unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?" The unit is designed to be taught prior to teaching the adopted FOSS curriculum on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a process for planning science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of  their investigation for a grade level science fair.

In this particular lesson, students work in pairs to carry out their investgations, collect data, and make inferences based on their data.

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Student Designed Investigations Part 2 – Testable Questions, Predictions, Materials and Procedures

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

Student Designed Investigations Part 2 – Testable Questions, Predictions, Materials and Procedures

This lesson is from the unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?" The unit is designed to be taught prior to teaching the adopted FOSS curriculum on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a process for planning science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of  their investigation for a grade level science fair.

In this particular lesson, students work in pairs to decide on a testable question, make predictions, choose materials, and plan a procedure.

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Student Designed Investigations Part 1 – Observations

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

Student Designed Investigations Part 1 – Observations

This lesson is from the unit, "What is a Living Thing and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?", that is designed to be taught prior to teaching the adopted FOSS curriculum on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a method for doing their own science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of  their investigation and findings for a grade level science fair.

In Part 1 of this particular lesson, students work in pairs to observe a living organism and to brainstorm changes in the living thing's environment that would be important for the living organism to sense. They think about what structures their organism can use to sense and respond to its environment.

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Introducing the Process of Investigative Science Using Crayfish

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

Introducing the Process of Investigative Science Using Crayfish

Students will be introduced to the process of doing investigative science and will become familiar with vocabulary used in the process of doing science.  Given a testable question and a set of materials, students will make predictions, and then design procedures to create a "fair test "with teacher guidance. The class will investigate where a crayfish will go when put in a basin of water with a small shelter inside the basin.

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Introducing Cells

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

Introducing Cells

Students learn that all living things are made of cells. They use a microscope to look for evidence of plant cells(from onion) and animal cells(from human cheek).

This lesson is from the unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?" The unit is designed to supplement the adopted FOSS curriculum on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a process for planning science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of  their investigation for a grade level science fair.

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Living or Non-living?

Author(s): Linda Akiyama (adapted from SEP Architecture of Life -"What Is Life?" Lesson)

Living or Non-living?

Students will investigate different objects and discuss whether they are alive or not alive. Students are challenged to provide evidence for their decision and defend their opinion.

This is the second lesson of a unit (What are Living Things and How does a Living thing Respond to Its Environment?) that was designed to precedes teaching the adopted FOSS unit on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a method for doing their own science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of  their investigation and findings for a grade level science fair.

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What Do Living Things Have In Common?

Author(s): Linda Akiyama (adapted from SEP lesson)

What Do Living Things Have In Common?

Students work in teams to discuss the question "What do all living things have in common?" They record their ideas and share their background knowledge. Then the groups come together and try to reach consensus about the characteristics that all living things share by asking each other questions and defending their ideas.

This is the first lesson from the unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?" The unit is designed to supplement the adopted FOSS curriculum on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a process for planning science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of  their investigation for a grade level science fair.

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What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment? - Unit Overview

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment? - Unit Overview

"What is a Living Thing and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?" is a unit designed to be taught prior to teaching the adopted FOSS curriculum on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a process for planning science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of  their investigation for a grade level science fair.

UNIT: What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?

Lessons:

1) What Do Living Things Have in Common?

2) Living or Non-living?

3) Introducing Cells

4) Introducing the Process of Investigative Science

5) Student Designed Investigations Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4- A Living Thing Responds to Its Environment

Part 1 - Observation

Part 2 - Testable Questions, Predictions, Materials, and Procedures

Part 3 - Collection Data and Drawing Conclusions

Part 4 - Poster Presentations/Science Fair

6) Extension Activity - Draw an Alien in Its Natural Habitat

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Skulls- Herbivores, Omnivores, and Carnivores

Author(s): Jen

Skulls- Herbivores, Omnivores, and Carnivores

Students familiarize themselves with different types of animal skulls and teeth.  From observation they learn to tell which skulls are those of herbivores, omnivores and carnivores.

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What is matter?

Author(s): SEP staff

What is matter?

This activity is based on a lesson from the Living by Chemistry curriculum developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science (see citation).

During this activity students explore in depth their own understanding of what constitutes "matter" and work together as a group to create a definition for matter.

Students work in pairs to debate how to sort "items" printed on cards into three categories: "matter", "non-matter" and "unsure" and then try to determine what properties all items in each category have in common. A whole class discussion about "tricky" items follows during which students ultimately agree on a definition of matter.

You can choose which cards you would like to use depending on your students' age, abilities, and experiences.  As an example, for elementary grades, you might choose not to use the entire set.

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Ocean Pollution & its effect on aquatic animals

Author(s): Mary Matyskiela, Lani Keller

Ocean Pollution & its effect on aquatic animals

Students brainstorm different sources of pollution.  Then, students make their own miniature ocean inside a water bottle, and pollute it with waste and oil to observe the effects on animals in the water.  A demonstration shows students the effect of oil on birds' feathers and discuss the consequences of oil spills for water birds.

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Introducing the Process of Investigative Science Using Worms

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

Introducing the Process of Investigative Science Using Worms

Students are introduced to the process of investigative science through a guided inquiry activity. Given a testable question and materials, students as a class make predictions, and design an investigation with guidance from the teacher. Then in pairs, students do the investigation, collect data, draw conclusions, and discuss ways to improve on the investigative design.  After this activity, students will be able to develop independent investigations in this and other subject areas.

Students learn that a living thing can sense and respond to its environment.

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Investigating the types of energy in different objects (lesson one of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti and Helen Wong-Lew

Investigating the types of energy in different objects (lesson one of eight)

Class discussion on what energy is and different examples of energy. Instructors write words associated with each type of energy. Students pick an object and classify what energy it has. Students now take turns describing their object and defining what sort of energy it has.

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Conversion of energy into different forms (lesson two of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti and Helen Wong-Lew

Conversion of energy into different forms (lesson two of eight)

Students investigate flash paper, rubber bands, a mechanical crank, and a radiometer to determine the energy conversion occurring in each.

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Energy Conversion in Electricity – Resistors and Circuits (lesson three of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti and Helen Wong-Lew

Energy Conversion in Electricity – Resistors and Circuits (lesson three of eight)

Students are introduced to the concept of a resistor and reminded about electrical energy from the previous lesson. They are then challenged to build a GIANT circuit to determine whether the size of a circuit affects whether it lights a bulb. They build as a class a giant series and giant parallel circuit. Then, in pairs, they build their own circuits with different resistors.

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