Children can recognize that certain organisms live in
certain communities. However many of them are a little confused at
what is the real natural environment for many of these organisms.
For instance if you ask students where can they find elephants or lions,
most will say the zoo! Someone needs to explain that this is just
not where you would find these organisms in nature.
In this introductory lesson on our natural environment, we suggest
that you discuss with students environments where different organisms live.
The best way to accomplish this is through several short books that discuss
different environments and organisms. The major concept to emphasize
is that certain organisms live with other organisms in a specific environment,
naturally. The zoo is not natural, and only reflects humansí ability
to "trap and show." However, on a positive note, zoos do help to
preserve those species of animals that are endangered of becoming extinct.
The two major environments to illustrate to your students are
those organisms that live on land and those that live in the marine environment.
The marine environment can be divided into the shallow and deep salt water.
The types of organisms that live here include small invertebrates like
crabs, sea stars, and many other common seashore organisms. The land environment
includes the forest, meadow, and fresh water. The forest is a lush
community of plants. Fresh water on land includes small organisms
that cannot tolerate salt. You may also want to point out that
many animals that children see are "domesticated" which means that the
animals are bred for use by humans.
- Discuss with students the difference between
land and marine organisms. Ask them how the organisms are different.
For instance land organisms have feet and marine have fins. On the
land you see very large trees, but in the oceans you only see seaweed and
microscopic plants. The land is dry with extreme temperatures
from below freezing to very high. The oceans do not have these extremes
of temperatures. So organisms in the marine environment tend
to swim large distances, where land organisms, other than birds tend to
stay in a restricted geographic area.
- Give the students the pictures of the different organisms
and have them discuss whether they think they live on land or in the marine
environment. Instruct them to write the word marine or land in the
- Have them save these animal cards for the Lab portion
of this lesson.
- Giraffes live on land and are found only in the grasslands
Blue whales are found in the marine environment and are considered
the largest animal. Note to students that the whale is a mammal,
and if it lived on land its feet probably could not support it!
Sand dollars live in shallow marine environments. They
have a 5 part symmetry and is related to the sea star.
The cactus live on land and unlike most plants donít have leaves.
In the hot temperature which it is accustomed to, leaves would evaporate
too much water.
Fungi are on land, with only a few species living in the marine
environment. They live fresh water and dark conditions.
A camel lives on land and is also adapted to living in extreme
Walruses live in cooler waters in the marine environment.