Grade 3 - Lilly, Michael

Unit: Natural Selection

Science Stuff (from Standards document):

LS3.A: Inheritance of Traits

  • Many characteristics of organisms are inherited from their parents. (3-LS3-1)
  • Other characteristics result from individuals’ interactions with the environment, which can range from diet to learning. (3­ LS3-2)
  • (NYSED) Some characteristics result from the interactions of both inheritance and the effect of the environment. (3-LS3-2)

LS3.B: Variation of Traits

  • Different organisms vary in how they look and function because they have different inherited information. (3-LS3-1)
  • The environment also affects the traits that an organism develops. (3-LS3-2)

LS4.B: Natural Selection

  • Sometimes the differences in characteristics between individuals of the same species provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing. (3-LS4-2)


Essential Questions for Unit: 

1) What characteristics could be considered an advantage?

2) How does evolution influence natural selection through survival? -- Why is survival changed through the influence of natural selection?

3) How does the environment influence natural selection? -- How does co-existing help in evolution?

Big Ideas/Enduring Understandings for Unit:

1) Characteristics can be changed through generations.

2) The environment can help adapt certain traits.

3) Evolution happens through co-existing instead of individual existing. 

Performance Tasks for Unit: 

1) By the end of the lesson students will be able to design their own species that has certain characteristics/traits in order to survive in the environment of their choosing.

--> What are the species advantages or disadvantages in the environment that you chose. Explain why or why not your species survived.

2) By the end of the lesson students will be able to adapt their environments and see if it changes the survival of their species. (Students will create their own environments)

 --> Compare and contrast the disadvantages and advantages of your species in the new environment. 

3) How does the species adapt to the new environment?

--> Students will be able to explain how their species will be able to adapt to the new environment. 


Assessment Questions for Unit

1. Imagine that you can create your own species, make sure to give it some characteristics and traits that we have learned about. Next, choose an environment for your new species. Where will they work best, a colder or warmer climate, a desert or a rainforest? After choosing your climate, please explain how the characteristics and traits you have chosen will help the species survive in the climate.

2. With the same species we have created before, a new climate will be assigned at random for it. What issues do you think will arise for the species? Are some of its previous advantages now considered disadvantages, or vice-versa? Make sure to write about both new advantages and disadvantages!

3. Now that the species has been in a new climate for a long time, what new characteristics or traits will evolve throughout generations? What have previous traits “turned into” and how will this help the species survive? Be sure to be specific about how the new traits adapt into the new traits!

    • Angelica Iris Ortiz
      Angelica Iris Ortiz

      For your first question, I would like to ask from what characteristics are you asking about? Meaning characteristics from the environment, from animals, or from plants. I think that question needs to be more specified. And I would like to know the topic of your Unit, if you can please add that. But other than I think your questions and big ideas are fundamental, engaging, and third grade students would be able to understand what you are asking of them. Thank you for your hard work! 

      • Mikaela Fernandes-Dix
        Mikaela Fernandes-Dix

        I thought your essential questions were good but also pushing a higher level then 3rd grade. Maybe you can put these questions into a more simple form for a third grader to be able to understand? I loved your ideas I just think these questions may be a little difficult for a third grader to understand and comprehend. I thought your big ideas were also great and went along great with your essential questions and unit topic!

        -Mikaela Fernandes-Dix

        • Kealy Costigan
          Kealy Costigan

          I love the performance tasks!! They really stood out to me. I agree with Mikaela that at first glance concepts questions are kind of tough, maybe just simplify the language a little bit or just go a little further into depth on what you mean. I look forward to seeing what the final product is! 

          • Rachel Scarano
            Rachel Scarano

            You have some really good questions, but I feel like they can be worded a little easier for 3rd graders. I found myself having to read them over a couple of times to understand. Other than that I really really like your tasks, the 1st one is really cool. The students are going to be so excited to do that in the classroom! It seems like it's going to be really fun. 

            • Kaitlyn Kennedy
              Kaitlyn Kennedy

              I like the idea of your unit and your questions, however, for the first question what are you referencing specifically? What types of characteristics? I also think some of these questions may be past the grade level you are trying to teach. Agreeing with Kealy and Mikaela to simplify the language to better suit your grade level.

              • Jacqueline Manzano
                Jacqueline Manzano

                I like the unit and essential questions, and I think the task is very interesting and creative. I think these questions are will positively challenge the third grade mind. I like how students can become easily interested in the unit if they find a way to relate the contents to their favorite animal. 

                • Rochelle Cadogan
                  Rochelle Cadogan

                  I really liked your topic of the unit! The performance tasks are super creative which will draw the attention of the students. Like everyone else mentioned, maybe you can word the questions a bit simpler for third graders. 

                  • Kayla Armstrong
                    Kayla Armstrong

                    The idea of evolution is an interesting one and I think a comparison of how we adapt to changes in our community will help further understand the idea of adaptation and evolution. For example, when it gets cold you wear more layers to adapt to the colder weather, when it's hot you wear less layers. I agree with Rachel, the questions can be a bit more simplified and words like characteristics and advantage can be literacy words presented and taught during the lesson.

                    • Samantha Kappmeier
                      Samantha Kappmeier

                      I like this unit a lot and your essential questions are very thought provoking. I also agree with everyone that your performance tasks are very creative and on the nose for these particular topics that will really get their imagination flowing which is something that we as teachers want them to hold onto even into their later years of education. 

                      • Gerald Ardito
                        Gerald Ardito

                        Lilly and Michael,

                        I think you have created a really good and well connected set of Performance Tasks for this unit.

                        I suggest that you pretend to be one of your students and then review the directions you have provided. Could you be successful at these tasks with those instructions?