Life Cycle - Natural Environment (1A)

  • Comparing land and water organisms.
  • Distinguishing characteristics of land and water organisms.
  • aquatic
  • environment
  • land
  • marine

Students determine different land and ocean environments.


Students have learned that there are different types of environments, but mainly under two big divisions land and water. An environment in which an organism lives can be described by temperature, wind, and other physical components as well as the biological components.

The aquatic or water environment has many divisions including fresh, salt (marine), and brackish (fresh and salty) water. The land environment has many subdivisions also, including air, rock, sand, and soil. Some of the land environments must include being close to a source of fresh water.

  1. Make sure you go over the words with students and discuss each of the items before and after you give students their packets. You many want to include other pictures that students can classify.
    In this lab the students will look at their packets included in the module and try to determine if the organisms came from aquatic or land environments and then they will try to figure out why the organism lives in his particular environment.
  2. Students should use their hand lens to observe the organisms. Instruct students to draw a picture of the type of environment in with the item comes from. If they think it is the marine environment, have them make a picture of the ocean.   You can come up with a picture for land versus marine, but give the students the tools to use their imagination.
  3. The following background information on each of the components can help you give clues to the students.  You might want to use hand lenses to have the students look at detail.  You may want to add adjectives to help them describe them.  Below are some of the information on the kit materials, may vary if you use your own items.)
    Branch: This is part of a tree. Trees are adapted to the land environment. They can get their nutrients and water from the soil, and then transport them through the tree. (ADJECTIVES:  brown, wood, straight, bark)
    Clams: Live mainly in the marine environment. The shell helps protect clams from organisms that eat them and to keep them clean from mud in which they live. Clam shells also have different shapes that help them burrow more efficiently.  They can live from shallow to deep water. (ADJECTIVES: white, ridges, shell)
    Moss: A land plant that needs to be wet all the time with fresh water. Notice that the roots are small. (ADJECTIVES:  Green, fuzzy, long)

    Mammal: (Plastic Model) Has a backbone that supports its body while walking. Legs are present only on land mammals so they can walk.  Most are land, with major exception of whales, dolphins, and manatees which are marine.   (ADJECTIVES:  depends on model)

    Seaweed:  Found in the marine environment, usually with gas bubbles to help it float. There is no need for roots. Many seaweeds are green, but some are red or brown. They are all able to make their own food. (ADJECTIVES:  Green, long)

    Coral: Live in the marine environment, usually in shallow, clean  water. Eat small detritus that falls on tentacles. Each hole represents an individual organism.  (ADJECTIVES:  white, holes)

    Insect:  Most abundant group of organisms on land and fresh water.  Insects are jointed with 3 pairs of legs.  They can live in almost any type of land environment.   (ADJECTIVES:  Depends on model)
    Sea star:  Lives in the marine environment in mainly shallow water, but some can live in deeper areas.  (ADJECTIVES:  yellow,  5 parts (pentagonal)


  4. You may want to add other organisms that you may have in your classroom or home.   If you have puppets of different organisms you may want to see if students can figure out if land or marine environment.

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