Life in the Dirt – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards.

Grades K-2 Disciplinary Core Ideas
LS1A: All organisms have external parts. Different animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find and take in food, water and air. Plants have different parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits) that help them survive, grow, and produce more plants. p.144
LS2A: Animals depend on their surroundings to get what they need, including food, water, shelter, and a favorable temperature. Animals depend on plants or other animals for food. They use their senses to find food and water and their body parts to gather, catch, eat, and chew the food. Plants depend on air, water, minerals (in the soil), and light to grow. p.151
LS2B: Organisms obtain the materials they need to grow and survive from the environment. Many of these materials come from organisms and are used again by other organisms. p.153
LS4D: There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water. p.166
ESS2B: Rocks, soils, and sand are present in most areas where plants and animals live. p.183

Grades 3-5 Disciplinary Core Ideas
LS1A: Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior and reproduction. p.144
LS2A: The food of almost any kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Either way, they are “consumers.” Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plants parts and animals) and therefore operate as “decomposers.” Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil for plants to use. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life. p.151-152
LS2B: Matter cycles between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these organisms live and die. Organisms obtain gases, water, and minerals from the environment and release waste matter (gas, liquid, or solid) back into the environment. p.153
LS4D: Scientists have identified and classified many plants and animals. p.167
ESS2A: Water, ice, wind, living organisms, and gravity break rocks, soils, and sediments into smaller particles and move them around. p.181

Grades 6-8 Disciplinary Core Ideas
LS2A: Organisms and populations of organisms are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors. p.152
LS2B: Decomposers recycle nutrients from dead plant or animal matter back to the soil in terrestrial environments or to the water in aquatic environments. p.153


In addition to science content, activities in this unit also can help students to practice the following mathematics and language arts concepts. The Common Core Standards listed here are in addition to the ones that our activities typically address, as listed in the Four Winds document, The Nature Program: Alignment with Learning Standards.

Grades K-2 Common Core Standards
Mathematics Standard K.CC: Count to 100 by ones and tens. Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality. Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things.
Mathematics Standard K.CC: Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group.
Mathematics Standard 2.MD: Estimate lengths using units of inches, feet, centimeters and meters.

Grades 3-5 Common Core Standards
Mathematics Standard 3.MD: Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch.
Mathematics Standard 4.MD: Apply the area and perimeter formulas for rectangles in real world and mathematical problems.

Grades 6-8 Common Core Standards
Mathematics Standard 6.SP: Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context, such as by giving quantitative measures of center (median and/or mean) and variability, as well as describing any overall pattern and any striking deviations from the overall pattern with reference to the context in which the data were gathered.

Leave a Reply