Sarah Owens Kindergarten Geronimo Road Elementary Making and Observing Life in a Terrarium
Overview: In this lesson, the students will learn what a terrarium is, the layers of a terrarium, and the function of these layers. They will see how these components work together to create an ecosystem. Primary Learning Objective: Students will create a terrarium and observe the habitats of worms, pill bugs, and millipedes. Students will see how they function in an enclosed environment. Additional Learning Objective: Students will compare their terrarium to a tropical rain forest habitat. Students will witness the water cycle in an enclosed environment. Standards: • •
Determine habitat conditions that support plant growth and survival. Demonstrate the ability to follow multistep oral directions.
Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
Infer that change is something that happens to many things in the environment based on observation using one or more of their senses.
Materials and Equipment: The Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin science journal plastic containers gravel leaf litter (crushed leaves and sticks) soil moss worms pill bugs millipedes water squirt bottles Background/Preparation: Review habitats with the class specifically the rain forest. Vocabulary: terrarium: A mini indoor garden in a glass container. aquarium: A glass-sided tank or bowl in which fish or other aquatic animals or plants live. water cycle: The water cycle is made up of the following stages: evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.
condensation: Changing the physical state of matter from gas to a liquid. precipitation: The amount of rain, snow, hail, etc. that has fallen at a given place within a given period. evaporation: Changing the physical state of matter from a liquid to a gas. Procedure/Activity: 1.) Introduce the lesson to the students by reading The Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin. Discuss the different types of habitats and the animals that live in each one. 2.) Show the class the website about rain forests to see the various habitats of the world. http://www.mbgnet.net/ 3.) Using a Venn Diagram compare terrariums to aquariums. Display the diagram on a smart board, projector, or make copies for students to use and fill in information. Tell the students that they will be making a terrarium to observe the worms, millipedes, and pill bugs. 4.) Divide your students into 4 cooperative learning groups to create a diverse mix of students. (I usually group a mixture of male/female, high achievement/lower achievement) The class will watch a video on how to make a terrarium on eHow. http://www.ehow.com/video_9374_make-terrarium.html 5.) The teacher will model, step by step, the addition of materials into the terrarium. 6.) Each group will get a plastic container and all of the other materials for their terrariums. They will follow the teacher's example and complete the following steps: a. Layer the gravel, which is used as a way to drain the water from the soil. b. Add the leaf litter, which acts as a source of food. c. Add the soil in the container on a slope with one end being higher than the other. d. Place the moss on the higher end of the slope. e. Place worms, millipedes, and pill bugs into the terrarium. f. Mist the soil with the water from the squirt bottle. Place in an undisturbed area for daily observation. 7.) Mist the soil every few days. You should be able to see the worms forming tunnels in the soil You should also be able to observe the water as it evaporates, condenses and falls back to the ground. 8.) Have the students write in their science journals about the process and their daily observations. Assessment: Observe the students as they work. Review journal writing to see if daily observations are being written