Year 4: Animals, including humans
This list consists of lesson plans, activities and interactive resources to support the teaching of animals in Year Four. It contains tips on using the resources, suggestions for further use and subject knowledge. Possible misconceptions are highlighted so that teachers may plan lessons to facilitate correct conceptual understanding. Designed to support the new curriculum programme of study it aims to cover many of the requirements for knowledge and understanding and working scientifically. The statutory requirements are that children are taught to:
• describe the simple functions of the basic parts of the digestive system in humans
• identify the different types of teeth in humans and their simple functions
• construct and interpret a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators and prey.
Food chains is contained within this topic, however it would fit in well when learning about living things and their habitats.
Visit the primary science webpage to access all lists.
Links and Resources
This resource provides a selection of lesson plans, worksheets and teachers notes relating to Animals, including humans at Year Four. They include activities which look at food groups, healthy balanced diets and explore the human digestive system and how food is transported around the body.
Ideas are also provided for lessons where children compare diets of herbivores, carnivores and omnivores and investigate teeth and what causes decay.
There are also activities which look closely at food chains and food webs.
Though designed for KS3, the Modelling the process of digestion and digestion modelling picture cards provide a useful activity idea when presenting this topic at KS2.
Using the picture cards will get children thinking about what happens in the process of digestion and about the digestive system.
A physical representation such as a model of the human body is a great way of showing the whole digestive system. Physically removing parts such as, stomach, small intestine and large intestine, will help them to think more about the role each part plays. In matching the cards to the parts of the digestive system children will see that each part has a different role to play.
Pupils ideas about digestion shows some of the misconceptions children at Year 8 have about digestion. This is extremely useful to help teachers in KS2 plan lessons which prevent these misconceptions forming.
Though the Loop Cards are listed as part of this activity some of them contain knowledge which goes well beyond KS2. Teachers could however adapt them for use in Year 4 as they are a great way of revising the topic and stimulatig thinking about digestion.
This pack contains a host of great activities on the theme of food science. Spitacular Science on page 17 details a practical activity which investiagtes how the body breaks down food by starting with the salivia in our mouths. It involves children testing their own saliva, so consider your class and it's needs before carrying out this activity!
Inside The Human Body is a high quality interactive simulation which allows children to take a look at the parts of the digestive system and what happens at each stage of the digestive process.
Children could model the process of digestion using crackers looking at the simple functions of the mouth, oesophagus, stomach and the small and large intestine. Have fun bashing and grinding the crackers to simulate the action of the teeth. Place them in a plastic bag and pour in water to represent gastric juices, then watch them become a squidgy mess. Children could also tell the story of food as it travels through the digestive system.
This short film clip demonstrates a practical experiment which recreates the digestion process in the classroom. Using household items such as paper cups, orange juice and a pair of tights, this demonstration enables children to visualise the process of digestion in an engaging, practical way.
Pages 3-18 show pictures of different animals and their teeth. Hide the descriptions of how they eat and ask children to think about how and what they eat from observing their teeth. This could be done as a whole class activity or pictures given to groups and children asked to sort them into groups and say why they have done it.
A ready to go classroom resource including powerpoints, teachers notes and printable sheets to use in planning and recording investigations.
Children are given a context for investigating the effect of sugar in different drinks. They test different kinds of toothpaste for effectiveness. Then they are asked to make their own toothpaste.
This resource contains lots of science enquiry skills but also could have links to D & T (designing and making a product).
Rabbits and Foxes is a fun game which will help to show your class the relationships within a food chain, as well giving them some exercise! It works best in a large area, such as a hall or a playground.
Web of Life with help children see that feeding relationships are interconnected, and that any changes may result in an over population or a decline in a particular species within the food web.
Work in small groups to identify and construct food chains within five different habitats. These are British woodland, British coastal waters and the less familiar habitats of African savannah, Arctic tundra and Antarctic. There is also a key words activity in which children become familiar with the key scientific vocabulary used in the topic.
Whilst teaching about food chains it may be confusing to say that energy is passed along food chains, as it is biomass (biological material). At each level most of the biomass is used by the animal as fuel, and some is used to build the cells of the animal. Food has to be respired (with oxygen) to transfer energy.
A game which explores food chains in a marine environment, and highlights the fine balance of an ecosystem. The resources include teachers notes and students activity sheets. They could be used as an introduction to foood chains or as a game to consolidate learning. Children often confuse the direction of arrows in a food chain. Ask them to physically represent a food chain with a child representing each stage. Ask another child to placethe arrows. Remember to include the Sun as it is the ultimate source of energy and the start of all food chains.
Children find out about different nutrients and the effects they have on our bodies. They then look at models which help them to understand digestion and carry out a comparative test to investigate why calcium is important for our bones. Finally they research the dietary needs of a chosen person such as an astronaut, gladiators or explorer and use what they have learned to design a meal that will give them the best diet, with all the nutrients they will need to survive and thrive.