Out Teach
Life Science
Material Type:
Upper Primary
  • Activities
  • Life Sciences
  • Needs of Organisms
  • Out Teach
  • Science
  • Stability and Change
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Environmental Changes - Out Teach

    Environmental Changes - Out Teach


    This is a distance-learning lesson students can complete at home.

    The student will explore the garden environment for examples of organisms meeting their needs and will be given an event that might cause that organism to thrive, move or perish.

    This activity was created by Out Teach (, a nonprofit providing outdoor experiential learning to transform Science education for students in under-served communities.


    Out Teach logo

    This is one of Out Teach's outdoor lessons, and we always want to make sure students are safe and responsible when you go outside to learn. Before starting this lesson, ask a grown-up if you can go outside and let them know where you plan to be. Get a grown-up's permission before starting this lesson. You may need to wait for another time to do this lesson safely. Have your grown-up read through this lesson with you and think about the best way to do it. Everyone's situation is going to be different and that's okay.  Also, look at the supplies list before you begin. We wouldn't want you to have to come back inside for a pencil or a piece of tape.  Have fun learning outside!

    Think and Observe

    Go into your outdoor space and think about the following questions:

    • In order for you to survive, what needs must be met?

    • In order for plants and animals to survive, what needs must be met?

    • How are human needs similar to the survival needs of plants and animals? How are they different?


    Take a walk around your outdoor space. Look for any organisms and/or evidence of organisms that live there. If you can't go outside, you can look out your window or think about your schoolyard.

    In your journal sketch at least three organisms in their environment. Label the livng and non-living elements of the environment that your organisms need to survive.

    Think about the following questions as you create your sketch:

    • How does the environment support your organism's need for food?

    • Where do your organisms get water?

    • Do your organisms make a shelter?

    • How much space do your organisms need to grow and thrive? (Thrive: a word meaning to really do well, to succeed.)

    Write About It

    Read the following text:

    The word ecosystem is a combination of the words: Ecology and System. An ecosystem is a community of living and non-living things that interact as a balanced system. To make it an ecosystem, it does not have to be of a particular size. An ecosystem could be large as a forest or small as a tree. Plants and animals living in an ecosystem need food, air, water, shelter and space. If these resources are limited, they are forced to compete in order to survive. Floods, droughts, or fires can cause some organisms to perish, thrive, or migrate.

    Perish: to die

    Migrate: to move from one place to another.

    Drought: a long period of time without rain.

    For Parents

    In this lesson the student will explore the outdoor environment for examples of organisms and the things they need to survive. They will be given an event that might cause organisms to thrive, move, or perish. This will help them understand the effects of environmental changes, adaptations, and behaviors that enable animals (including humans) to survive in changing habitats.

    Read over your child's writing. Discuss the following questions with them:

    • What organisms would thrive?

    • What organisms would perish?

    • What organisms would migrate?

    • What organisms rely on other organisms?

    • Would your organims survive the drought?

    • ther activities you can have your students do:

    • Have your child write: Pretend you are an animal in an ecosystem. Write about a day in your life. 

    • Have your child create an ecosystem in a jar.

    • Give your child a scenario (fire, flood, extreme litter, new building, etc) and have them determine what effects that will have on their organisms.

    Key Vocabulary

    • Organism

    • Environment

    • Ecosystem

    • Drought

    • Thrive

    • Perish