CODE/MOE/UOIT Makerspaces Project

Lesson Plan--Grade 4 Science:

 Understanding Life Systems


Plants and animals are interdependent and are adapted to meet their needs from the resources available in their particular habitats. 

Overall Curriculum Expectations:

#1  - Analyse the effects of human activities on habitats and communities

#2 - Investigate the interdependence of plants and animals within specific habitats and communities

Specific Expectations:

1.1 analyse the positive and negative impacts of human interactions with natural habitats and communities 

3.6 identify animals that are carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores

Learning Goals:

“We are learning to…”

  • Identify herbivores, omnivores, carnivores, and top predators within an ecosystem
  • Look at the relationships between plants and animals
  • Think and talk about human impact on the environment

Success Criteria:

“We will be successful when…”

  • We can explain the differences between herbivores, omnivores, carnivores and top predators within an ecosystem
  • We create an ocean ecological pyramid
  • We are able to explain why each animal was placed in each category

Lesson Overview:

  • Students will review the definitions of herbivore, omnivore, carnivore and top predators.
  • They will brainstorm different animals in the ocean.
  • Students will follow whole group instruction for the first three animals within the ecological pyramid and then work with a partner to fill it in.

Students will “Showcase” their work in the consolidation piece.

Materials and Technology:

View Master and iPod


Tynker Accounts (1 per student)

Venn Diagram

White Board Markers

Instagrok - website information

Student Accommodations/Modifications:

  • Students will be provided with a checklist
  • Partner/peer-to-peer support
  • Google Read and Write
  • Fewer animals per level in pyramid







Lesson will be differentiated by:

   Process, specifically: Students will follow a slightly different checklist. They will do a few more plants/animals with teacher support (if required).

      Product, specifically: Students will demonstrate their understanding requiring fewer plants and animals.

      Environment, specifically: Students can work in the makerspace with adult support.

MINDS ON:  Getting Started

During this phase, the teacher may:

• activate students’ prior knowledge;

• engage students by posing thought-provoking questions;

• gather diagnostic and/or formative assessment data through observation and questioning;

• discuss and clarify the task(s).


During this phase, students may:

• participate in discussions;

• propose strategies;

• question the teacher and their classmates;

• make connections to and reflect on prior learning.


Describe how you will introduce the learning activity to your students. What key questions will you ask? How will you gather diagnostic or formative data about the student's’ current levels of understanding? How will students be grouped? How will materials be distributed?

When students come in each table group will have a View Master. Heterogeneous groupings decided by the teacher. The View Master will feature an ocean ecosystem.  After going through the viewing pack students will classify their animals in a Venn Diagram (herbivores and carnivores -- middle would be for omnivores). They would circle the top predator. If there are animals that they are unsure of where to place they will put them outside the Venn Diagram and look up information later. Students will share their findings and explain why they placed each of the animals in their Venn Diagram.

Questions to consider:

What is an herbivore, omnivore, carnivore, and top predator?

What might be some of the human impacts on the ocean environment?

Can you think of any possible solutions?

The Venn Diagrams will be collected as a way to assess if students know the difference between herbivores, omnivores, carnivores, and top predators.

Students will be introduced to the task of coding an ecological pyramid using Tynker. Note: Students should have some prior coding experience

ACTION:  Working on it

During this phase, the teacher may:

• ask probing questions;

• clarify misconceptions, as needed, by redirecting students through questioning;

• answer students’ questions (but avoid providing a solution to the problem);

• observe and assess;

• encourage students to represent their thinking concretely and/or pictorially;

• encourage students to clarify ideas and to pose questions to other students.


During this phase, students may:

• represent their thinking (using numbers, pictures, words, manipulatives, actions, etc.);

• participate actively in whole group, small group, or independent settings;

• explain their thinking to the teacher and their classmates;

• explore and develop strategies and concepts.

Describe the task(s) in which your students will be engaged. What misconceptions or difficulties do you think they might experience? How will they demonstrate their understanding of the concept? How will you gather your assessment data (e.g., checklist, anecdotal records)? What extension activities will you provide?

  • Students will log on to their Tynker Accounts. They will follow instructions to learn how to move plants/animals into the ecological pyramid and learn how to create speech bubbles for their sprites. The class will code three together, that includes the text for the speech bubbles. Students will then have to add at least 3 animals/plants to each category (except for top predator). Students will be able to work in partners or individually to complete the task. The partners will be student choice.
  • Students will look at books or websites, such as Instagrok, to ensure information about their plants/animals is correct.
  • Extending the Learning:
  • Teachers could have students work with another group to share their findings, validate their research, and/or offer suggestions for revisions.
  • Some difficulties may be finding information about animals and deciding which category to place them in. Students may run into some difficulties in trying to code their plants/animals.

When students are finished their ecological pyramid they will put it in ‘Showcase’.  Work may be assessed using a checklist or a rubric.  

CONSOLIDATION:  Reflecting and Connecting

During this phase, the teacher may:

• bring students back together to share and analyse strategies;

• encourage students to explain a variety of learning strategies;

• ask students to defend their procedures and justify their answers;

• clarify misunderstandings;

• relate strategies and solutions to similar types of problems in order to help students generalize concepts;

• summarize the discussion and emphasize key points or concepts.


During this phase, students may:

• share their findings;

• use a variety of concrete, pictorial, and numerical representations to demonstrate their understandings;

• justify and explain their thinking;

• reflect on their learning.


How will you select the individual students or groups of students who are to share their work with the class (i.e., to demonstrate a variety of strategies, to show different types of representations, to illustrate a key concept)? What key questions will you ask during the debriefing?

  • Individual students or a group will be able to show one level (their choice) of their pyramid to the class with a maximum of three plants/animals per group. Students will explain their plant/animal choice and what makes their choice fit into the category they’ve been placed in.

After presentations ask students what they liked or did not like about learning about ecosystems in this way.


St. Ambrose Catholic School—Huron Perth Catholic District School Board

Adapted from