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Vermilion Parish Schools

Activity 1:  I Need It! I Want It!  (GLEs 1, 2, 6, 9, 10)

Materials List: chart or white board, Split-Page Notetaking BLM, science learning logs

This is a 2 day activity

Day 1:

Using a graphic organizer (view literacy strategy descriptions) such as a “T-Chart” labeled “Needs” and “Wants,” have students brainstorm needs and wants of human beings. Graphic organizers are visual illustrations of verbal statements. The “T-chart” is designed in the shape of a letter “T” with the subjects to be compared listed on the horizontal axis of the “T.” The descriptive statements are noted on either side of the vertical axis. As ideas are recorded, show no judgment as students make suggestions for each category.  When the chart is completed, facilitate a discussion as to how and why each suggestion fits into each category. Assist students in discovering that “needs” are the essentials to survival (food, water, shelter, air, light, and space).  Through the discussion, students may determine that some suggestions belong in a different category.

Explain to the students that they will be working in groups for the next several days.  Divide the students into groups of three or four in preparation for the next lessons.

Day 2: 

Review the lesson from the previous day.  On a white board or chart, model a modified version of split-page notetaking (view literacy strategy descriptions), which is a notetaking strategy that demonstrates how to organize information as well as how to separate more important information from less important information. Using the terms “needs” and “wants,” demonstrate how to set-up the page for recording important ideas, concepts, or definitions. Using the Split-Page Notetaking BLM provided, have students record information.  As important information is unveiled, have students add this information to the BLM.  Demonstrate for students how they can review their split-page notes by covering information in one column and using the information in the other column to prompt their recall of the covered information. Students can quiz each other over the content of their notes in preparation for tests and other class activities. As students become more familiar with this type of notetaking, the need for the BLM will be eliminated.



Living Things


What an organism needs to survive.









       Living Things

 Food, shelter, space, light, air

Types of needs:

general needs


specific needs

Introduce the next task by explaining to the students that they will be exploring the needs of living things and how the needs of various animals are met.

Investigation Task: Review group assignments. Have each group decide on an animal or plant to investigate. Each group needs to have a different animal or plant. Introduce the term organism as any living thing.  Remind the students of the general needs of plants and animals – food, water, shelter, air, light, and space.  In their science learning logs (view literacy strategy descriptions), have students record their ideas. This log is a notebook that students keep in content classrooms in order to record ideas, questions, reactions, new understandings, or visual representations such as diagrams, charts, etc. Documenting ideas in a log about content being studied forces students to “put into words” what they know or do not know.  This process offers a reflection of understanding that can lead to further study and alternative learning paths.  It combines writing and reading with content learning.   

As students discuss in groups, circulate around the groups, encouraging students to move from general needs to more specific needs. For example, if a group chooses a bird, have them think about specific types of food such as worms, nectar (hummingbirds), seeds, etc.  Provide resources such as the Internet, magazines, and library books for the students to use to print, cut out, or draw pictures of their chosen organism.

Have the students add the word “organism” to their split-page notetaking sheet.

Lesson Plans/Resources:

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