At this level students are classifying living things into broad groups. They usually call mammals, animals. This activity introduces the word mammal.
Students are aware of different ecosystems which they call forests, farms, the sea, etc. The word 'habitat' is often used. Habitat means the place where something lives. However, it is very common to use the word more broadly to talk about where lots of plants and animals live.
Biodiversity is an extremely important concept that helps with envisioning conservation. Most of the activities will investigate and compare different kinds of living things and ecosystems.
Optional: Make some time for students to read the section on ‘Biodiversity' in the Digital Toolbox for Years 1 & 2.
1. Use the activity sheet or modify it for students to draw or write about their favourite living things:
• What is your favourite plant? What words can you think of to describe it?
• What is your favourite mammal? What words can you think of to describe it?
• What is your favourite bird? What words can you think of to describe it?
• What is your favourite insect? What words can you think of to describe it?
2. As a class share what students know about animal sounds. Use the sounds to create interesting soundscapes. At the conclusion get students to choose one of the sounds. Ask students the following:
• What sort of noises do mammals make? (Include wild mammals as well as domesticated mammals.)
• What sort of noises do insects make? (Hint: mosquito, cricket, cicada, fly.)
• What sort of noises do birds make?
• What sort of noises do plants make? (Think of the wind, falling branches, etc.)
3. Students provide ideas to answer the question ‘Why do we need plants and animals in our lives?’ They make links to some of the things that they are familiar with. Provide prompts to help students make links, e.g., look at clothing (cotton, wool leather), food, pets, nature.
• Why do we need plants and animals in our lives?
Create a story using students as plants and animals that have been talked about in the class discussion. Use students as trees making sound in a gentle breeze. Have animals making sounds going through the forest. Then, have a big storm and the storm passing by.