Welcome to Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden  
 
 
   
 

AFTER YOU VISIT THE GARDEN…

Lesson Ideas for Kindergarten


Activity #4: Anybody's home?

Lesson objective:
Students will identify and describe some of the plants and animals that live in a pond ecosystem.

Materials:

  • Pond ecosystem cards (see Activity 4- Ecosystem Cards A & B)
  • Things that do not belong in a pond cards (see Activity 4- Not in Pond Cards)
    paper bag
  • chart paper or chalkboard
  • tape (or other material use to attach pictures to the board)
  • art materials for students (paper, crayons, etc.)

Teacher FYI:
As part of this less, you will discuss the koi's home or habitat (the space where a particular animal lives). Students will describe the other plants and animals that live (and interact) in the same pond area as the koi—this is considered an ecological community. The community, along with the different habitats in that community makes up an ecosystem.

Before you start:
Create the graphic organizer shown below on chart paper or on the board:

Exploration:

  1. Begin by have students share what they observed at the Japanese Gardens. Then guide the discussion to what they saw in and around the koi pond.
  2. Show students the paper bags with the animal & plant cards inside (you may wish to double the cards). Tell students that this is a “mystery bag,” and that there are pictures of many different plants and animals inside. Some cards have pictures of plants and animals that they saw at the Japanese gardens, and that belong in a pond ecosystem.
  3. Demonstrate to students how they will come up, one at a time, to draw a card from the bag and show it to the group. The students are to observe the plant or animal on the card, and give a “thumbs up” if it is a plant or animal that belongs in a pond ecosystem, or a “thumbs down” if it isn’t. Then the student who drew the card will place it on the correct side of the graphic organizer (demonstrate the process by modeling one time).
  4. Ask students why they think some of the animals live in a pond while others do not. Ask them to think about why koi prefer to live in a pond? (e.g. fins and tail, can't breathe in air, etc.)
  5. Ask students to draw a picture of the koi home or habitat. Remind them to include the other plants and animals that share the koi's home.

Extension:

  1. Decorate the bulletin board created in the pre-activity with the pond ecosystem cards or pictures from the visit to the garden.
  2. Play a game of “feed me” (“steal the bacon") with students pretending to be koi fish in a pond racing to capture the pellet (bean bag) that a visiting human has dropped in the water.