Discover! Simulations

Where Plants and Animals Live

1. Get Set to Explore


  • habitat: A place where an animal naturally lives or a plant naturally grows.
  • meadow: A grassy piece of land.
  • pond: A small body of fresh water that does not flow; ponds are generally smaller than lakes.

Building Background

  • Encourage children to name some of the different plants and animals they learned about in the Discover! Simulation for Unit A. Or you may wish to repeat the activity you did to introduce that simulation—taking the class outside or having them look out a large window in the classroom to spot and name different plants and animals.
  • Explain that where plants and animals live is a place called a habitat. Reinforce this vocabulary word by emphasizing the definition. Point out that a meadow is one kind of habitat. Review the definition of a meadow. Explain that a pond is another kind of habitat. Ask children to describe a pond. Then share the definition of this word with the class.
  • Pose the Discover! question to the class. Explain that in this simulation, children will be looking for plants and animals in a pond habitat. Encourage children to name different kinds of plants and animals they think they will find. Prompt them to think about plants and animals that live in the water and on the shore and animals that live in the sky above the pond. You may wish to list their answers on the board. Keep the list up and return to it after children have completed Step 3 of the simulation.

2. Guide the Exploration

  • Let children launch the Discover! Simulation. They should listen closely to the question and the directions. Children may enjoy working in pairs on this simulation.
  • Point out the pictures of plants and animals shown along the right side of the screen. Children should look for these plants and animals in the pond scene. Explain that some of the animals may be hard to see because they are hidden.
  • When children find one of the plants or animals, they should use the cursor to click it. Tell them to listen carefully to the information the simulation gives about that organism and how and where it lives in the pond.
  • The simulation will put a check by the picture of each organism that children locate in the pond scene. Challenge children to find the eight different plants and animals shown in the individual pictures. When children click any of these, the plant or animal will move in a characteristic way or perform a characteristic action.

3. Review/Assess

  • Go over Step 3's Wrap-Up text. Ask children to list the different animals and plants that they found in the pond. As they name the different plants and animals from the simulation, check off any that also appear on the list you made on the board earlier.
  • Once children have named all eight featured plants and animals, talk about whether any of the plants or animals they predicted would live in the pond were shown, but not featured. Allow children to make corrections to this list, if they wish.
  • Present the Extension questions and direct children to replay the simulation.
    • The following animals and plants live in the water: cattail, green frog, great blue heron, muskrat, sunfish, painted turtle.
    • Of the animals featured, only the the sunfish cannot leave the water. All of the other animals can and do leave the water.

If time permits, present children with the following questions:

  • Critical Thinking: Draw Conclusions Some of the animals shown in the pond scene might have been hard to spot because they were hiding. Why do animals hide? Hint: How would hiding help them survive? Answer: To prevent other animals from attacking and eating them; so they can sneak up on the animals they eat.
  • Inquiry Skill: Use Numbers How many animals and plants did you learn about in this simulation? How many of these were animals? How many were plants? How many other animals and plants were mentioned but not discussed in detail? Answer: Eight plants and animals were featured in the simulation; two were plants and six were animals. Two other organisms were mentioned: the water lily, a plant, was mentioned in the discussion of the green frog; mosquitoes were mentioned in the discussion of the dragonfly.

4. Reaching All Learners


Encourage children to compare the different kinds of animals and plants that live in a meadow and a pond. Challenge them to classify the animals by type, such as birds, mammals, and insects.