Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications
to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,”
the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance
using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources.
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Upper ElementaryGrade 5Grade 4Grade 3
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Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
Examples of structures could include thorns, stems, roots, colored petals, heart, stomach, lung, brain, and skin.
Assessment is limited to macroscopic structures within plant and animal systems.
This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.
Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This activity seems to have been written prior to the release of the NGSS so it does not refer explicitly to this Performance Expectation, but students are engaged in making sense of the relationship between structure and function as they test the effectiveness of three fish mouth types with three types of food sources. Photos are provided to engage students in the consideration of mouth structures, but more effective pictures for this purpose and additional background information can be found at: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/fish/discover/fish/anatomy/mouth-types/
Construct and/or support an argument with evidence, data, and/or a model.
This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.
Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students investigate to determine the best of three model mouth types for each given food source (parasites and algae, small fish, large fish). Groups test each mouth model in a water-filled basin at each of three stations to determine which is best suited to the different food sources and rate their effectiveness on a 1-3 scale. To more fully engage in this practice, the student worksheet provided could be revised to include a time constraint and the collection of quantitative data to offer further support for their arguments.
For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.
Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The relationship between the effectiveness of fish feeding ability and survival success within an ecosystem is an important concept here. Students might create marine food webs to go along with their written stories to make this relationship more explicit and to provide an opportunity to emphasize the science component of the creative writing rubric.
Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.
This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.
These activities are focused primarily on fish mouth structure and diet, although students do apply their learning to questions about such as how this affects where they live, and their place in the food chain. When students create stories in the Elaborate and Evaluate phases, they could further address this performance expectation if they also completed a table that included additional information on the fish, such as body and fin types, or behaviors concerning predator/prey relationships and ecological niches.
A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions.
This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.
Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Language Arts-oriented activities in the Elaborate and Evaluate phase of the lesson sequence address behaviors and interactions between fish and other organisms. The teacher might emphasize the roles of different fish from an ecosystem perspective, providing models of food webs on the board and having students create them in their notebooks to support the systems concept.