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Organisms: Life and Growth


K, 1st, 2nd


Science, Biology


90 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

The Importance of Biodiversity (Number Sense & Biodiversity #1)

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Dec 9, 2022

In this lesson, students learn about habitats and how plants, prey, and predators interact based on their needs. Students see how factors like warming temperatures and human interactions can alter habitats and affect wildlife.


Step 1 - Inquire: Students watch trail camera clips to note the biodiversity in a habitat.


Step 2 - Investigate: Students play the Biodiversity Game to simulate the interactions between living things.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students sketch a picture showing an interaction they had during the game and explain it using cause and effect language.


  • This lesson illustrates the interactions of living things in a habitat through student interactions.

  • This lesson features kinesthetic learning to activate interest in the topic.

  • In this lesson, students get the chance to receive feedback from peers, reflect on their work, and make changes to their work based on feedback and personal reflection.

  • This lesson features speaking and writing practice using academic language.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This lesson is 1 in 3 in our Number Sense & Biodiversity unit.

  • A large area is needed for the game. If the classroom is used, you may want to move desks to one side of the room.


  • During the Inquire section, students could be given a list of animal names or pictures to check off as they appear in the video.

  • Species cards include pictures of animals for students who have more difficulty reading.

  • Cause and effect language frames are differentiated.
  • Teacher may wish to play a "fishbowl" version of the game and have students watch a few students play to see the interactions.

  • There is an Adapted Student Handout for younger students.

This lesson clearly demonstrates the interrelationships existing in an ecosystem. It allows students to identify species and analyze what they need to survive in a given habitat accounting for the impact of human-caused climate change on biodiversity. The games, activities, and all materials featured in the lesson have been reviewed and are suitable to improve students' understanding on the topic. On that account, this lesson has passed our science credibility process and is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • 2-LS4-1 Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • K-LS1-1 Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.

  • Teacher divides the class into small groups. Groups compete to identify and record as many living things as they can while watching a video of Trail Camera Footage.

  • Teacher plays the video and students record the living things they see with their group on a large piece of chart paper. Groups can have more than one recorder and use invented spelling and even sketching to record their ideas.

  • Groups count the number of living things they recorded. Then groups share out one by one, and the teacher makes a master list on the Teacher Slideshow. If no groups mention plants, the teacher should be sure to point out that these living things are important as well!

  • The Trail Camera Footage video includes the following living things:

    • Animals in order of appearance: Florida panther, limpkin, wild hogs, American alligator, coyote, bobcat, great blue heron, river otters, raccoon, wood stork, Florida panther, opossum, white-tailed deer, turkey, Florida black bear.

    • Some commonly seen plants found at Corkscrew include cypress, slash pine trees, wax myrtle, cabbage palms, saw palmetto, red maple, goldenrod, swamp lily, bushy bluestem, wiregrass, tickseed, sawgrass, live oak trees, resurrection fern, pond apple trees, and many, many more.

  • Teacher introduces the vocabulary words habitat, biodiversity, and species using the Vocabulary Cards.

  • The class discusses the elements of a habitat and why biodiversity is important.

  • Teacher introduces students to the Biodiversity Game using the Biodiversity Game Teacher Notes.

  • Teacher shares information about the living things in the game using the Teacher Slideshow.

  • Teacher assigns each student a number from 1 to 6. Students with numbers 1-3 are plants, students with numbers 4-5 are prey, and students with number 6 are predators.

  • Teacher distributes the Species Cards. Students read through their card independently or with help. Pictures on cards will help students know which living things they can eat.

  • Teacher maps out the playing area, including the Prey Shelter (safe zone).

  • Teacher projects the “Feeding Time!” slide during the game.

  • Students play several rounds of the game.

  • Teacher can choose to introduce some or all of the Problem Scenarios and/or Possibility Scenarios listed at the bottom of the Biodiversity Game Teacher Notes and in the Teacher Slideshow.

  • Teacher leads a discussion on how each Problem Scenario or Possibility Scenario affected the species before moving on to the next scenario.

  • Teacher models drawing an interaction between two or more species. The picture is a quick sketch with arrows to show interactions between the species that occurred during the game.

  • Students draw an interaction between two or more species that they witnessed during the game. Students should follow the teacher model, but they can also incorporate their own elements.

  • Teacher models using a cause and effect sentence frame to share a sentence about their picture. Sentence frames are differentiated based on language proficiency. Teacher models using several frames from different levels and students choose what is best for them.

  • Students turn and talk with a partner to share a sentence about their picture, practicing using the sentence frames.

  • Teacher models writing a cause and effect sentence.

  • Teacher goes over the instructions in the Teacher Slideshow for the Mingle Game to give students the opportunity to share their sentence(s) and their picture with classmates.

  • Students play several rounds of the Mingle Game, so students hear several sentences.

  • Students return to their seats after seeing and hearing several classmates’ ideas. They now have a few minutes to add to or revise their picture and sentence after hearing models and getting feedback from partners.

  • Students write a sentence using cause and effect language reflecting on how the Biodiversity Game and the different scenarios made them feel.

  • If students feel comfortable, they can share their sentences with the class.


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