Year 2: Living things and their habitats
This list consists of lesson plans, activities and video clips to support the teaching of living things and their habitats at Year Two. It contains tips on using the resources, suggestions for further use and background 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:
• explore and compare the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive
• identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other
• identify and name a variety of plants and animals in their habitats, including micro-habitats
• describe how animals obtain their food from plants and other animals, using the idea of a simple food chain, and identify and name different sources of food.
Visit the primary science webpage to access all lists.
Links and Resources
Carrying out a treasure hunt is an exciting way for children to explore whether something is living or has never been alive and find out about the characteristics of living things. All living things carry out the same processes, but often in different ways. Younger children need to recognise that living things move, feed, grow, reproduce and use their senses. They may be find it difficult to understand that plants are living just as much as animals, only they carry out the processes in different ways.
It can be played in the school grounds or adapted to an indoor location if needed. Giving children a container such as a bag and alist of objects makes the activity more like a treasure hunt. Once the 'treasures' have been collected children can sort them into two groups giving reasons for why they have done this.
The treasure hunt activity is on pages 10-13 of the Grouping and Classification file. As well as containing plenty of other activity ideas, this resource provides clear subject knowledge and progression of learning on grouping and classification.
Living things live in habitats to which they are suited and provide their basic needs. This interactive activity asks children to identify which animals are suited to a particular habitat and choose the reasons from different options. It could be used as a whole class session in an ICT suite or for pairs of children working on a class computer. The following habitats are considered:
• Savannah grassland
• Temperate farmland
• Temperate forest
• Temperate pond
• Tropical rainforest
This is a web based activity. I have found it to work well using the Chrome browser.
A presentation on penguin diversity and adaptation containing high quality photographs of different penguin species. This resource shows how penguins are adapted to survive in a particular habitat. Children then make masks of the different species showing their variation. There is also a quiz to consolidate learning.This links to learning about variation at Key Stage One.
This puzzle asks children to guide a squirrel and a snake to the centre of an oak tree. It looks at the oak tree and how it provides a habitat for many living things. Use it as a starting point to discuss the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other. For example: What would happen to the bird if the insects were removed? What would happen to the tree if there were too many squirrels? Children could investigate other habitats within the school grounds or on a day trip, and draw the creatures they find within the habitats.
If you are feeling creative then try making an edible pond containing jelly insects, chocolate frogs and tapioca frog spawn! Children will certainly never forget the pond habitat and the living things that dwell in it.
This activity helps children carry out close observation in order to identify adult and immature worms and sort them into two groups. Carrying out this simple survey is a great way of letting children work in a scientific way, whilst also investigating habitats.
Try looking for worms in any other microhabitats nearby. Worms like dark, damp places so they may be under rotting wood, beneath stones and in piles of decaying leaves. Did you find more immature worms than adults? Was there more than one species of worm? Did you find different species in different habitats?
This starter clip is a fun way of introducing simple food chains. Watch in class then ask children to draw some simple food chains found in different habitats. Habitats could include: a meadow, a pond, a wood, the seashore. Children could name the food sources for each part of the food chain remembering that the Sun is the ultimate source of energy.
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.
Children could draw pictures to show simple food chains, remembering that the sun is the ultimate source of energy and the start of all food chains.