Grade 1

Investigating Living Things Through Playful Inquiry


Core Competency Questions:

  • How can I design a way to show my understanding of how living things survive?
  • How can I reflect on my learning of local plants and animals?
  • How can I use art to communicate my ideas and understandings?

The Context:

We explored how living things survive. Our first step was identifying the differences between living and nonliving things and investigating what was living in our local environment. We discovered a variety of different plants in our community and what they need to live in our changing temperate weather. Based on questions generated by the grade ones, we explored various animals that live in our neighbourhood. Looking at physical features and behavioural adaptations, students recognized how these animals are able to survive.


The progressions of the lessons inspired their knowledge of the local environment. The students were engaged and invested in their learning because they had the freedom to play, build and extend their thinking.” -Megan Kent


“The bear survives by catching its fish before Winter before it hibernates.”

“The geese fly south to stay warm.”

“The trees shade the animals and the flowers.”

“They have their leaves to help them stay shaded…they make food for them.”

It shows me what things really look like so I can know what the real animal looks like.” -Raphael

“My friends were with me and they made me feel happy and loved….they taught me how to make things out of the different materials.” -Karina

It kind of taught me about it…I told my mom….maybe she could help me learn more at home.” -Isabel

“It was fun! I got to do some creating…so I can learn about different things in a different way…I was more interested in it.” -Samuel


What is a living thing? Using our understanding to build one.

How are our local plants used? Painting with beets.


How do animals survive? Inventing creatures with unique features & behavioural adaptations.

Curricular Competencies

  • Science 1- Explore the structural features and behavioural adaptations of living things in the local environment.
  • Language Arts 1- Plan and create a variety of communication forms (labeling, mind mapping, acting).

ADST connections

  • Develop their skills and knowledge through play, exploration and collaborative work.