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Animals Unit Sequence

Before beginning the Animals Unit, you need to decide what to teach and importantly, what not to teach! Use this page to choose the unit sequence that’s most appropriate for your students.

  • Some activities are REPEATING ACTIVITIES (). Omit these activities if students have already completed them in another unit (unless you’d like students to repeat them as review).
  • Other activities are TWO-TURTLE ACTIVITIES (), which place a higher demand on students. Decide whether the higher demand required by these activities will be useful or distracting for your students. The Carbon TIME Turtle Trails Document document provides further info about choices for making units more or less demanding, depending on your students’ needs.

Unless otherwise noted in the table below, all activities in the unit should be taught.

Animals Unit Sequence and Decisions Table


Activity Sequence


Make a Decision


(60 min)

1.1 Animals Unit Pretest (20 min)



1.2 Expressing Ideas and Questions About Animals (40 min)




(2 hr

5 min)

2.1 Zooming Into Plants, Animals, And Decomposers (40 min)

These activities are exactly the same as equivalent ones in Plants and Decomposers Units. Do not repeat these activities in multiple units unless students need a review. Also, in Activity 2.1, the “Cells: The Building Blocks” reading is optional.

2.2 Molecules Cells Are Made Of (45 min)

2.3 Molecules In Cells Quiz (20 min)

2.4 Questions About Animals (30 min)



(2 hr

40 min)

3.1 Predictions About Mealworms Eating (50 min)



3.2 Observing Mealworms Eating (60 min over 2 days)



3.3 Evidence-Based Arguments About Mealworms Eating (50 min)




(1 hr

20 min)

4.1 Molecular Models For Cows Moving and Functioning (40 min)

The molecular modeling part of Activity 4.1 is the same as the molecular modeling for cellular respiration in the Plants and Decomposers Units. Do not repeat unless for review.

4.2 Explaining Cellular Respiration (40 min)


There are multiple scaffolds you can choose from to use with Activity 4.2 including the cellular respiration PPT, the Three Questions Checklist, example explanations, and a reading. Choose options that fit for your class at this time.


(1 hr

20 min)

5.1 Tracing Cows Growing (40 min)



5.2 Molecular Models For Cows Growing (40 min)

Activity 5.2 is exactly the same as molecular modeling for biosynthesis in the Plants and Decomposers Units. It’s also a 2-turtle activity. Consider skipping 5.2 if you’ve already taught it in another unit or if it’s too advanced for your class.

5.3 Explaining Digestion (40 min)


In Activities 5.3 and 5.4, you can choose from among similar scaffolding tools as those listed for Activity 4.2

5.4 Explaining Biosynthesis (40 min)



(2 hr)

6.1 Explaining Other Examples of Animals Growing, Moving, and Functioning (50 min)


Activity 6.1 has explanations about 3 different animals. Consider a jigsaw format with different students becoming experts on different animals and then sharing/comparing.

6.2 Comparing Animals And Flames


In Activity 6.2, students will compare flames and animals.

6.3 Functions Of All Animals (50 min)


In Activity 6.3, students will develop an explanation that applies to all animals.

6.3 Animals Posttest (20 min)