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Lesson Plans
Comparing Living Things
1st–2nd Grade
Objectives Objectives
  • Students will listen to a story that is read aloud and recall events from the story.
  • Students will understand that trees and other living things have patterns that they follow from one season to the next.
  • Students will learn about hibernation.
  • Students will research different types of animals and compare and contrast the animals.
  • Students will extend their learning by creating a book that illustrates the differences between two animals.
Materials Materials Needed Preparation
  1. Cut the white construction paper into 4.5" x 6.5" rectangles.
  2. Staple six to eight rectangles together to make booklets for the class. (You will need four booklets for four groups of student researchers.)
  3. Make several copies of each graphic organizer.



Invite students to gather on the floor in front of you as you read aloud Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson.

Ask students the following questions:
What is Fletcher’s problem in the story? (Answer: Fletcher was sad that the leaves were disappearing from the tree. He did not understand that the leaves were falling off the tree in preparation for winter.)

What does Fletcher discover when he goes to visit the tree at the end of the story? (Answer: It is covered with shimmering icicles and is just as beautiful as it was before.)



  1. Refer to the story and ask students what happened when Fletcher encountered a squirrel that was taking some leaves. Ask the following questions: What did the squirrel want to do with the leaves? (Answer: Use them to build a nest.) Why do you think the squirrel was building a nest? (Accept reasonable answers.) Mention to students that living things, like animals and trees, have different habits and patterns in different seasons. (For example, bears use leaves and branches to make a bed for winter, and many trees grow new leaves in the spring.)
  2. Explain to students that ground squirrels build their nests underground, while tree squirrels build their nests in trees. Introduce the concept of hibernation by saying that squirrels are one of the many animals that hibernate in winter. This means they are in a sleeplike state during the winter months. In the fall, squirrels gather food like seeds and nuts and bury them in a safe place. They feed on this stored food when they wake up from time to time during their winter hibernation.
  3. Invite students to brainstorm other habits or patterns of living things. Prompt them with questions like “What other animals hibernate during the winter?” or “What happens to plants in the springtime?” List students’ answers on the chalkboard to reinforce the lesson.

Guided Practice Guided Practice

  1. Explain to students that you would like them to research and discover more facts about tree squirrels and ground squirrels—as well as learn the habits of a few other animals.
  2. Divide the class into four groups and assign each group a pair of animals (tree squirrels and ground squirrels, bears and bats, foxes and rabbits, or hamsters and mice) to research. Provide each student with the appropriate graphic organizer for the group. (Each student should have a graphic organizer to keep records of the group’s research.)
  3. Have books and magazines available for students. Suggest that students use encyclopedias, online resources or library books for reference as they record facts about each animal on their graphic organizers.
  4. Invite the groups to share their completed graphic organizers with the class. Look for similarities and differences in the animal pairs for each group.

Independent Practice/Extension Activity Independent Practice/Extension Activity

  1. Give each group a construction paper booklet and challenge each group to choose several differences between the animals they researched.
  2. Invite students to share their research by creating a group book filled with information about the animals’ differences! Encourage students to use crayons or markers to decorate their books any way they like.

the 1st–2nd Grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)




Social Studies

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