- Fourth Grade, Fifth Grade
- 75 minutes
Use this lesson to see how animals can have very interesting relationships. Some help each other, some benefit from others, and some hurt others. Young scientists are sure to benefit from this eye-opening lesson.
Student will be able to describe the three different types of symbiotic relationships.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Ask your students if they know what the word "symbiosis" means.
- Tell your students that symbiosis is a relationship between two different species.
- Tell your students there are different types of symbiotic relationships.
- Ask your students if they know any. Record them on the board if they are correct.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (20 minutes)
- Tell your students that there are three different types of symbiotic relations.
- The first one is called mutualism. Explain to your students that mutualism is when two species benefit each other.
- Ask your students if there is anyone who has a friend that helps her with math while she helps the friend with English. Explain to your students that the relation is mutualism, since both friends are benefiting from each other. Tell your students that an example of mutualism among species could be that of bees and flowers.
- The second type is called commensalism. Explain to your students that commensalism is when one species benefits while the other one is not affected. Ask your students if there is anyone who has a younger sibling listen when she reads a book she likes. Tell your students this is commensalism, since the younger sibling is benefiting from listening to the story but she is not affected, since they would read the book anyway. Tell your students that an example of commensalism among species is when a vulture eats a lion's leftovers.
- The third type is called parasitism. Explain to your students that parasitism is when one species benefits by harming another one. Tell your students that an example of parasitism is fleas. They benefit from living in pets' fur, while the pets end up getting itchy skin.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (20 minutes)
- Ask your students to pair up and each write an 8-12 line poem that shows any symbiotic relationship between two species.
- Ask your students to draw a picture below the poem to show the relationship as well.
Independent Working Time (10 minutes)
- Distribute sheets of white paper. Have students divide their sheets into two columns.
- Tell them to write a commensalism, mutualism, or parasitism relation that has occurred in their lives in the first column.
- Tell them to write a commensalism, mutualism, or parasitism relation that occurs between two species in an ecosystem in the second column.
- Enrichment: Ask advanced students to research the different types of symbiotic relations. Ask them to write three types of relations for mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism. After that, they should pick one relation from each category. From each relation, have them choose an example and write a paragraph long monologue for one of the animals in that example. For instance, the student could write a monologue from a bee's perspective or flower's perspective for mutualism.
- Support: Pull up 3-5 examples of mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism. Have struggling students draw the relations and write the species that are benefiting or being harmed for each picture. The students should also write the name of the relation next to each picture.
Assessment (5 minutes)
- Ask your students to write an example of each type of symbiotic relationship.
Review and Closing (15 minutes)
- Ask your students to read their poem from Guided Practice out loud.