Unit 1: Exploring Habitats
Students explore various habitats (forest, desert, water, rainforest, and wetland), investigating how plants and animals survive within them, and compare and contrast the information that they gather.
In this unit, 2nd grade students explore different habitats (forest, desert, water, and rainforest) and investigate how different plants and animals survive in each habitat. Rather than just learning facts about the habitats, students examine the connection between parts of each habitat and how those connections are crucial for survival. Using the Next Generation Science Standards as a guide, students are challenged to use the information they learn about different habitats to compare how different plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs. Students will also be challenged to compare the differences in the kinds of living things that are found in different areas and why those differences exist. This unit builds on the 1st grade Animals unit, in which students learned about different types of animals and their characteristics, and prepares students for a 3rd grade unit in which they will analyze animal adaptations with regard to animal habitats. This unit uses the Bobbie Kalman Introducing Habitats series as mentor texts. These texts were chosen because of their clear representations of the different habitats and their accessibility. The texts in this unit support student understanding of key genre features while also allowing multiple opportunities to develop fluency. Over the course of the unit, the majority of heavy thinking and analysis should be on students. By the end of the unit, students should have a deeper understanding of key components of informational texts, and students should be able to transfer those understandings to other complex informational texts. Students will also write daily in response to the text, with a focus on using complete sentences and recognizing run-on sentences. Students will also begin writing longer informational texts in which they synthesize and teach back the content they are learning about the different habitats.
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Book: A Desert Habitat by Bobbie Kalman and Kelley Macaulay (Crabtree Pub Co. 2006)
Book: A Forest Habitat (Introducing Habitats) by Bobbie Kalman and Kelley Macaulay (Crabtree Pub Co. 2006)
Book: A Rainforest Habitat by Bobbie Kalman and Molly Aloian (Crabtree Pub Co. 2006)
Book: Water Habitats by Bobbie Kalman and Molly Aloian (Crabtree Pub Co. 2006)
Assessment Text: “A Wetland Habitat” by Molly Aloian; Bobbie Kalman (Crabtree Publishing Company;)
This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
Download Content Assessment
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Suggestions for how to prepare to teach this unit
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The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
All core texts in the unit are written with predominantly one-syllable or simple two-syllable words that require students to use knowledge of common spelling-sound correspondences when reading. Words that are not easily decodable are often irregularly spelled high-frequency words, or genre-specific vocab; therefore, students should practice using decoding strategies and word analysis strategies when reading.
The main fluency focus of this unit is on reading an informational text with the right expression and intonation to show interpretation of the passage. This includes knowing how to read different text features to highlight the features purpose. This also includes rereading and self-correcting in order to figure out the meaning of domain-specific or tricky words.
Each text is read for a minimum of four days. On days three and four when students are reading for fluency and to build a deeper understanding, have students pick a short section of the text to reread in order to self-assess their own fluency. Students can either score their own fluency on the Reading Fluency Rubric (2nd-5th Grade) or get feedback from a partner.
Partners should use the language of the teaching points when giving targeted feedback.
If desired, pick sections of the text to use as a fluency checkpoint. Score students on the Reading Fluency Rubric (2nd-5th Grade).
Specific skills to focus on when giving feedback on writing assignments
Complete sentences are the foundation for all writing. In this unit, students learn to differentiate between a fragment and a complete sentence. They also learn to identify and correct a run-on sentence. We recommend using our guide Sentence-Level Feedback and Support (K-5th Grade) to provide individual and small-group feedback to ensure that all students are able to use complete sentences by the end of the unit.
In this unit, students begin to explore how to use informational text features in their own writing. After exploring why authors use particular text features in a mentor text, students will use the text feature in their own writing. This unit serves as a launch to using text features.
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 1, view our 2nd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.
Fishtank ELA units related to the content in this unit.
Identify questions about forest, desert, rainforest, and water habitats by asking and answering "what" questions about key details in a text.
Identify key information about forest habitats by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
Explain where different plants and animals in forest habitats live and get their energy by asking and answering where questions about key details in a text.
Explain how the author uses various text features to teach us about a forest habitat by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
Create a visual representation of a forest habit that shows how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs.
Produce complete simple sentences orally and in writing.
Write a page in an informational book that explains how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs in the places they live by writing complete sentences using key details from the text.
Explain what types of plants and animals live in the desert and why they live there by asking and answering who and why questions about details from the text.
Explain how plants and animals in the desert survive by asking and answering how questions about key details in a text.
Explain how the author uses various text features to teach us about a desert habitat by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
Create a visual representation of a desert habitat that shows how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs.
Discussion & Writing
Compare and contrast how plants and animals in two habitats depend on their surroundings to meet their needs by identifying key details from two texts.
Identify key information about water habitats by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
Describe what life is like in a pond, river, and swamp, and how plants and animals depend on their habitats by asking and answering how questions about key details in the text.
Explain how the author uses various text features to teach us about a water habitat by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
Create a visual representation of a water habitat that shows how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs.
Identify key information about what makes a rainforest habitat unique by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
Explain how animals in the rainforest survive by asking and answering questions about key details in the text.
Explain how the author uses various text features to teach us about a rainforest habitat by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
Create a visual representation of a rainforest habitat that shows how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs.
Informative Writing – 2 days
Revise the pages in your informational book by correcting run-on sentences and adding appropriate punctuation and create a front cover and table of contents to add to an informational book about habitats.
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Design a zoo habitat for a given animal using knowledge of plant and animal relationships and habitat features from the unit.
The content standards covered in this unit
— Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the diversity of living things in each of a variety of different habitats.
Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include specific animal and plant names in specific habitats.
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
— Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— Compare formal and informal uses of English.
— Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.
— Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
— Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).
— Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
— Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
— Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
— Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
— Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.
— Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
— Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
— Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
— Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.
— By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2—3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
— Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
— Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
— Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
— Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
— With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
— Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
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