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Living Things: Parts and Purposes

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Life Sciences Age Level Primary (5 to 8 years old)

This collection reinforces the question:

How do the parts of plants and animals help them to grow and survive? 

Students will look for patterns as they observe various plant and animal artifacts to determine the necessary parts for living organisms.

The visible thinking routine of "parts, purposes and complexities" will be at the center of this collection as we analyze the needs of plants and animals and how their parts satisfy those needs.  While we took a deep dive into just a couple of the living things, I've included a few other artifacts for educator choice.  

This collection also utilizes the See, Think, Wonder routine to help pique student interest, build student engagement and introduce the concept of parts and purposes of living things.  

*I paired this lesson with a real world observation of a plant to observe, examine and describe the function of plant parts.


See/Think/Wonder: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

Plant Study

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gopherus berlandieri

NMNH - Vertebrate Zoology - Herpetology Division

Myripristis violacea

NMNH - Vertebrate Zoology - Fishes Division

Polar Bear at the National Zoo

Smithsonian Archives - History Div

Tiger Moth

NMNH - Education & Outreach

Baltimore Oriole, Northern Oriole

NMNH - Education & Outreach