Unit Plan: Field Study – Pond

Science / Grade 4

Big Ideas


  • All living things sense and respond to their environment.


  • Interactions
  • Environment
  • Survival
  • Stewardship
  • Interdependence
  • Ecosystems
  • Adaptation

Essential Questions

Students will keep considering…

  • How do living things sense and respond to their environment?
  • What does using my senses in nature look, sound, feel, taste and smell like?
  • How do my senses compare to the senses of other plants and animals?
  • How is sensing and responding related to interdependence within ecosystems?

Evaluative Criteria


Monitoring Progress

Teacher will monitor progress:
Teachers can monitor progress through ongoing formative assessment including but not limited to:

  • Class discussion
  • Group and pair discussions






How will teachers and their students reflect on and evaluate the completed project?

Teacher Reflection

  • What aspects of the field study went well?
  • What did students struggle with?
  • What did you struggle with?
  • What would you add/revise the next time you taught this field study?
  • What connections can I make back to my school learning community?
  • Organize a bioblitz event in your school yard or in nearby nature.
  • Develop a plan of action to address a selected environmental problem or issue related to water systems

Stage 2 – Evidence

Authentic Performance Tasks

AUTHENTIC PERFORMANCE TASK: Assessing for Understanding

Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding by:

Assessing prior knowledge:

Five senses Mind-map

Walk and Talk to pond:

  1. What is a pond? Bigger than _____, smaller than _____
  2. What are some questions you have about ponds & the organisms that live there?

Students will demonstrate their knowledge, skills & understanding by:

  • collecting organism samples
  • exploring the pond in a sensory way (smell, hearing, sight)
  • drawing a sketch of the pond
  • demonstrating proper use of a hand lens
  • observing organisms under a hand lens
  • using Pond Critter Cards to identify different organisms
  • making a list of species found (type only)
  • constructing a food chain
  • learning information about pond organisms from Pond Critter cards
  • pair-sharing observations, questions, reminds me…

Possible Walk and Talk questions:

  1.  How did the organisms get into the pond?
  2.  What adaptations do organisms have to survive in the pond?
  3. Where do the majority of organisms live? Why?
  4. What do plants growing around the pond tell us? How about where they are growing?
  5. What other mammals, insects, & birds are these organisms supporting?
  6.  How do you know if the pond is a healthy ecosystem?

Final group circle question options:

  1. What is a pond?
  2. How did I notice (observe) the pond organisms?
  3. What did I notice (observe) in this field study?
  4. How do pond organisms sense and respond to their environment?
  5. What questions do I still have about ponds and the organisms that live in them?

    > Click here to learn more about Performance Tasks


    What is a GRASPS task?

    > No GRASPS avaiable for this Unit Plan

    Other Evidence

    OTHER EVIDENCE: Assessing for Knowledge and Skills

    Students will show they have acquired Stage 1 knowledge and skills by:


    The following resources are made available through the British Columbia Ministry of Education. For more information, please visit BC’s New Curriculum.


    Big Ideas

    The Big Ideas consist of generalizations and principles and the key concepts important in an area of learning. The Big Ideas represent what students will understand at the completion of the curriculum for their grade. They are intended to endure beyond a single grade and contribute to future understanding.

    Visit the Ministry of Education for more information

    Core Competencies

    orangecommunicationCommunications Competency

    The set of abilities that students use to impart and exchange information, experiences and ideas, to explore the world around them, and to understand and effectively engage in the use of digital media

    bluethinkingThinking Competency

    The knowledge, skills and processes we associate with intellectual development

    greensocialSocial Competency

    The set of abilities that relate to students’ identity in the world, both as individuals and as members of their community and society

    Visit the Ministry of Education for more information

    Curricular Competencies & Content

    Curricular Competencies are the skills, strategies, and processes that students develop over time. They reflect the “Do” in the Know-Do-Understand model of curriculum. The Curricular Competencies are built on the thinking, communicating, and personal and social competencies relevant to disciplines that make up an area of learning.

    Visit the Ministry of Education for more information

    Additional Resources

    First People's Principles of Learning

    To read more about First People’s Principles of Learning, please click here.

    For classroom resources, please visit the First Nations Education Steering Committee.