Life Under Water: Meeting basic needs

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Updated on Feb 10, 2012

Grade Level: 1st - 5th; Type: Life Science

To create an underwater habitat. To explore the basic needs of living things under water.


  • How do habitats provide basic needs for living things?
  • How are basic needs provided in an underwater habitat?
  • What would happen if one or more basic needs were not present in an underwater habitat?

All living things have basic needs that must be met in order for them to live.The habitats for living things must provide those basic needs.If their habitat is not meeting their basic needs they will be forced to find a new habitat or they could die.The basic needs for most living things include water, air, food, and sunlight.Without these needs being met, life cannot be sustained.

  • Small aquarium with cover
  • Elodea plants
  • Fish food
  • Water
  • Gravel (make sure it is clean)
  • 2-4 guppies

  1. Have an adult help you pour gravel into the bottom of your aquarium.Use the gravel to hold the elodea plants in place.Add water slowly to the tank.
  2. Allow the water to sit for some time so that it will rise to room temperature.Hint: After some time, allow your closed bag of guppies in their water to float in the aquarium water.This allows the guppies to become acclimated to their new habitat.
  3. Carefully add the guppies.Closely observe the guppies’ response to their new habitat and record your observations.(See sample observation chart below.)
  4. Observe your guppies and their habitat for a week.Feed your guppies a few flakes of food at least twice a week and write down their response to the food.Record your observations on a chart.(See sample below.)
Sample observation chart:
Day of week
Behavior observed
Basic needs being met
  1. Reflect on your observations.How did the underwater habitat meet the basic needs of the plants and guppies?What would have happened if you hadn’t red your guppies or placed the tank in total darkness?

Terms/Concepts: Habitat; Basic needs; Energy; Water; Food; Sunlight; Air


    2. Science Turns Minds On. (1995) New York: McGraw-Hill
Angela Pike has been in the world of elementary education for almost a decade, working as a classroom teacher, school writing specialist, and later a school administrator. After a recent leave from the education realm to stay at home with her children, she channeled her passion for education, science, and writing into a composing articles and educational activities for various companies.

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