Exploring Life Cycles

Students study the life cycles of different plants and animals and the characteristics of living, nonliving, and dead things, through multiple engaging informational texts and hands-on activities.



Unit 7


Unit Summary

In this science-based unit, students begin to build respect for and understanding of living things by studying the life cycles of different plants and animals. In the first bend of the unit, students continue their exploration of seasons by exploring what makes spring the season of growth and the different characteristics of living, nonliving, and dead things. In the second part of the unit, students observe and learn about plants and what seeds need in order to grow into a plant. In the third part of the unit, students observe and learn about frogs and butterflies and the process in which tadpoles turn into frogs and caterpillars transform into butterflies. In the fourth part of the unit, students learn about birds and how birds grow and change inside of an egg. Throughout the unit, students should be challenged to think critically about how the life cycles of plants and animals are similar and different, and what all living things need in order to thrive and survive.

In reading, students continue to use all of the strategies learned in previous units to understand an informational or literary text. Students build on those understandings by noticing the sequence of events, particularly in informational texts. Because students read a variety of texts on the same topic, students also begin t think about the ways in which texts on the same topic can be similar and different. In writing, students continue to build writing fluency by writing daily in response to the Target Task. After each bend in the unit, students also engage in either a narrative or informational writing piece. At the beginning of the unit, students write a story about a seed that travels from one place to another, and then later in the unit write stories about the life cycle of a plant and a bird. Students also use informational writing to teach about the stages in a frog and butterfly life cycle. By this point in the year, students should be using a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing, with more of an emphasis on drawing and writing. 

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

Supporting Materials


These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.

Essential Questions

  • What do all living things need to survive?
  • How are life cycles of various organisms similar and different?

Reading Focus Areas

  • To understand information in a text, readers think about the sequence of events. 
  • Texts on the same topic can be similar and different. 

Writing Focus Areas

Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Produce simple sentences orally and in writing.
  • Use the conjunctions “because” and “so” orally and in writing.
  • Use statements, questions, and exclamations orally or in writing.

Narrative Writing Focus Areas

  • Narrate a single event.
  • Tell what happens in the beginning, middle, and end.

Informational Writing Focus Areas

  • Name the topic they are writing about.
  • Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to include some information about the topic.

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges. 
  • Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings and ideas clearly. 



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To see all the vocabulary for Unit 7, view our Kindergarten Vocabulary Glossary.

Content Knowledge and Connections

  • All living things need food, water, and air to survive.
  • A life cycle is a series of stages that a living thing passes through as it is born, grows, and dies.
  • Different organisms have different life cycles. Organisms grow differently.
    • Plants start as seeds. The seeds germinate and grow into a young plant. The plant then grows into a mature or adult plant. The adult plant grows seeds. The seeds travel to different places and the life cycle starts again.
    • A frog starts as an egg. The eggs turn into tadpoles. The tadpoles have gills that grow underwater. The tadpoles then grow legs and lungs. They become froglets. The froglets lose their tail and turn into an adult. The adult then lays its own eggs and the life cycle starts again.
    • A butterfly starts as an egg. A caterpillar grows out of the egg. The caterpillar then goes into a chrysalis. In the chrysalis, it grows a head, wings, and a body. Out of the chrysalis comes a butterfly. The butterfly later lays its own eggs and the life cycle starts again.
    • A bird starts as an egg. Inside the egg, it grows into a little bird. The little bird hatches out of the egg. The mother and father take care of the bird as it grows. The little chicks grow into adult birds, who later can have their own chicks.

Supporting All Students

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.

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Supporting Standards

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Unit 6

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Unit 8

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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