Strand III
Use Scientific Knowledge from the Life Sciences in Real-World Contexts


Science/Strand III
Content Standard 5
All students will explain how parts of an ecosystem are related and how they interact; explain how energy is distributed to living things in an ecosystem; investigate and explain how communities of living things change over a period of time; describe how materials cycle through an ecosystem and get reused in the environment; and analyze how humans and the environment interact. (Ecosystems)


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5/Elementary
Benchmark 2
Describe the basic requirements for all living things to maintain their existence.

Benchmark Clarification

All living things need energy and obtain it from the sun directly (plants/producers) or indirectly (animals/consumers). All living things also need a habitat that provides water, food, space, and minerals. Some living things also need air and light to survive.

Students will:

  • Describe how a living thing gets water, food, space, minerals, and sometimes air and light from a habitat.

Key Concept / Real World Context / Instructional Example / Assessment Example / Resources


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5/Elementary/Benchmark 2
Key Concept
Needs of life:

  • food
  • habitat
  • water
  • shelter
  • air
  • light
  • minerals

See (SCI.III.2.E.4).


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5/Elementary/Benchmark 2
Real World Context
Selected ecosystems:

  • aquarium
  • rotting log
  • terrarium
  • backyard
  • local pond or wetland
  • wood lot


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5/Elementary/Benchmark 2
Instructional Example

Benchmark Question: How is energy distributed to living things in an ecosystem?

Focus Question: What does an animal need to survive?

Students will work in small groups to create a list of life requirements for a specific animal. Groups will post lists and analyze them to find common life requirements. The teacher will assign one role* in nature to each student. Each student will create a nametag for his or her role. Standing in a circle, the teacher will hold the end of a ball of string and start the web (see graphic below) by tossing the ball of string to a student while stating the relationship (e.g., a bear eats raspberries, the raspberry bush needs water, water supplies cedar trees, etc.). The recipient will hold the string in one hand and toss the ball of string to another student, stating the relationship between their roles. Students will continue this exercise until the web is complete. After the web is complete, the teacher will eliminate one role by having a student tug on the string and drop it. Anyone feeling the tug must also tug and subsequently also will be eliminated. At the end of the game, students will discuss how they were affected and why.

*Possible roles: air, Sun, water, soil, types of plants, types of animals.

Constructing: (SCI.I.1.E.1), (SCI.I.1.E.5).

Reflecting: (SCI.II.1.E.1), (SCI.II.1.E.4), (SCI.II.1.E.5).


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5/Elementary/Benchmark 2
Assessment Example

Create a labeled drawing of an animal in its habitat. Use arrows labeled with food, water, shelter, air, light, or minerals to connect those life requirements to the animal. Then eliminate one plant or animal from the picture and predict the consequences of that action. Write the prediction and the reasons for it in a science journal.

(Give students rubric before activity.)

Scoring Rubric






Completeness of habitat drawing

Draws an animal in its habitat with three or more labels missing.

Draws an animal in its habitat with two or fewer labels missing.

Draws and labels an animal and each item in the picture of the habitat.

Draws and labels an animal and each item in the picture of the habitat, featuring more than one example of any of the life requirements.

Completeness of relationships

Places four or fewer labeled arrows correctly.

Places five labeled arrows correctly.

Places six labeled arrows correctly.

Places more than six labeled arrows correctly.

Accuracy of predictions

Writes one prediction but reasons are incomplete.

Writes one prediction but prediction is inaccurate or reason is inaccurate.

Writes more than one prediction and reasons are accurate.

Writes two or more predictions and reasons are accurate.


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5/Elementary/Benchmark 2


Know It All Series. McClanahan.

Life In… Series. World Book.

“Special Needs.” Sing the Science Standards (Songbook/CD).