1st Grade Life Science Curriculum

This first grade unit incorporates life science, social science, math and reading into a multidisciplinary curriculum.  This curriculum, created by a first grade teacher at Kellogg Elementary School in Santa Barbara, CA, was developed with support from the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Program and the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Lesson 1: What Do Scientists Do?

These lessons are an introduction to science and what
scientists do. Students will gain an understanding of the types
of science (including an introduction to the field of ecology) and
how scientists ask and answer questions. Students will also meet four real ecologists through interviews about their work. To help students understand that science is a part of their everyday lives, students will complete an activity where they create a
collage of people doing science using magazines and drawing pictures. This lesson gives students a realistic idea of what science is and helps them understand that scientists are real people answering interesting questions.
Students will be able to:
• Understand what scientists do
• Observe and compare science in action
• Create a collage that shows people doing science

California State Science Content Standards, 1st Grade
Life Science, Investigation and Experimentation
Standards: 4a,b,e

What Do Scientists Do? Introduction PowerPoint
What Do Scientists Do? Lessons
Scientist Interviews

Lesson 3: Fish Feeding

In this lesson, students explore the diverse techniques that three very different fish use to feed. Students will be able to:
• Observe the feeding behavior of three different coral reef fish
• Simulate different feeding methods
• Understand how different characteristics are better suited for different types of food
• Understand how feeding behaviors are indicative of where fish live on a coral reef

California State Science Content Standards, 1st Grade
Life Science, 2 a,b,c,d
Investigation and Experimentation, 4 a,b,c,e

Fish Feeding Lesson
Fish Feeding Video

Language Arts

Incorporate the ocean theme into your language arts lessons. Check out these ocean-inspired books and videos, and get ideas on how to use them with your students.

Language Arts Ideas

Math Activities

Get coral reef inspired math activity ideas and turn your students into SCUBA divers surveying coral reef fish in your classroom. Skills include graphing, ordering, counting, and measuring.

Math Activities



Lesson 2: What Is A Coral Reef?

These coordinated activities and PowerPoint break down coral reefs by the organisms that live on them (like coral, fish and urchins). Students will create a class mural depicting coral reefs and act out life on a coral reef through a short skit. This artistic approach to studying the coral reef habitat will engage many types of learners.
Students will be able to:
• State three important parts of a coral reef
• Describe coral, fish and urchins
• Recognize examples of different parts of the coral reef
• Depict a coral reef and its parts through art
• Show how organisms work together on a coral reef through role playing

California State Science Content Standards, 1st Grade
Life Science, 2a,b,c
Investigation and Experimentation, 4a,b
Visual and Performing Arts Standards, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 2.8, 5.1, 5.2

What Is A Coral Reef? PowerPoint
What Is A Coral Reef? Lesson

Social Studies

In the following activities, students will gain an understanding and appreciation for life on a tropical island. Using maps and photographs, students will see where Moorea is in relation to the rest of the world, how people live on Moorea, and make comparisons to their own lives. They will create a travel brochure for a Moorean vacation and have a chance to taste tropical foods. Students will be able to:
• Discuss how location affects how people live
• Identify boundaries, oceans, mountains and bays on a map
• Compare their own lives to the lives of other children that live on the island of Moorea

California State Social Studies Standards, 1st Grade
1.2 Students compare and contrast the absolute and relative locations of places and people and describe the physical and/or human characteristics of places.
1.5 Students describe the human characteristics of familiar places and the varied backgrounds of American citizens and residents in those places.

Social Studies Lesson
Moorea Power Point


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