UCMP Lessons  


Author: Sharon Janulaw

Overview: In this lesson students observe that there are many forms of living things by going for a walk and also by observing living things in the classroom.

Lesson Concepts:

Grade Span: K–2


Advance Preparation:

— Place one or two sheets of paper on each clipboard.
— Assemble a variety of living things in appropriate containers for the classroom.
— Determine the best areas around the school to find living things.
— Decide on rules of behavior for the walk outside.

Time: 30 minutes each for three sessions

Grouping: Whole class

Teacher Background:

Living things are all around us and exist as millions of species. We tend not to notice that much of what we see when we go outside consists of living things. The lawn, the trees, the ants walking across the pavement, the shrubs with snails hiding under their leaves. It is very easy to find a large number of living things outside the classroom, in pet stores (as well as bait shops), and in the supermarket produce section. Most people have no trouble identifying pets in pet stores as living things but many are not aware that almost everything in the produce section of the market is alive. The fresh green lettuce and broccoli may be doomed, but remain quite alive while in the store.

Teacher Resources: Pet store, bait shop, the market produce section

Explore these links for additional information on the topics covered in this lesson:

Vocabulary: plant, animal, fungus


  1. Session I
    • Tell the students that the class is going to go for a walk outside to look for living things. Explain appropriate behavior for the walk.
    • Discuss what to look for—What is a living thing? Where might we find living things? Talk about possible ways to record what they find.
    • Distribute clipboards to the students and take a walk around the school. Have them record in whatever way appropriate (pictures, words) all the living things they see, hear or smell. Evidence of the presence of living things, such as snail trails, chewed leaves, bird droppings, may be included, if you choose.
    • Debrief in the classroom by making lists of living things, discussing how many different things were observed and how they are different.
  2. Session II
    • The next time the class meets, have students repeat the same procedure as above with a variety of living things that you have brought into the classroom. They will go on a classroom walk with their clipboards to record their discoveries.
    • Debrief, asking how many living things they observed. Students may have difficulty in recognizing that plants, especially those used for food, are living things or parts of living things.
  3. Session III
    • Begin the third session by asking if the students were surprised that some of the things you brought into the classroom were actually living things. Ask if they think it would be easier to identify living things now if the class were to go outside for another look. Take the class to the same place or another area around the school and repeat the clipboard recording procedure.
    • Debrief by recording and comparing class results with Session I results.
    • Assess by having students each draw a mini-mural of a location near the school including (and labeling) as many living things as possible.

Updated May 24, 2004

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