Lesson Plan

Shenandoah Residents

Ranger showing kids a plant

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Grade Level:
First Grade
Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants, Conservation, Wilderness
Group Size:
60 or more
National/State Standards:
Virginia Science Standards - 1.4, 1.5, and 1.8


Plants and animals live all around us and each one has the same life needs. Students will explore Shenandoah National Park to discover the different plants and animals that live in the park. Students will investigate how, where and why plants and animals meet their life needs in their respective environments and how Shenandoah National Park provides protection for plants and animals.


Following the park experience and classroom activities, the students will be able to

  1. Describe the life needs of plants and animals (air, food, water, and a suitable place to grow and live);
  2. Identify the four functional parts of a plant (roots, stem, leaves, and flowers) and identify all structures the plant uses to meet its life needs;
  3. Name three different kinds of animals that live in Shenandoah National Park and describe how specific physical characteristics help animals move, find homes, and obtain food;
  4. Describe how places like Shenandoah National Park help protect our limited natural resources.


Plants and animals live together and rely on each other in Shenandoah National Park. All living organisms have the same basic needs - air, food, water, oxygen, and a suitable place to live. Living organisms use their environment to fill these needs.

 Plants are living organisms. The structure of the plant helps it survive in its environment. The roots help provide support by anchoring the plant in the soil and collecting water and nutrients needed for growth. Stems transport water and nutrients absorbed by the roots to the leaves. Stems also provide support for the plant allowing the leaves to reach the sunlight needed to produce food. Leaves capture sunlight and are the site of the food production process called photosynthesis (a process by which a plant produces its food using energy from sunlight, carbon dioxide from the air, and water from the soil). Green plants are the only organisms that can convert the sun's light energy into food. As plants make food, one of the materials they produce is oxygen. Most plants reproduce through seeds. Every seed is a tiny plant complete with leaves, stems, and root parts waiting for the right conditions to germinate and grow.

 An animalis generally any living organism that is not considered a plant. All animals - including people, pets, and wildlife - have similar basic needs. All animals need a place to live. A habitat is the place where an animal lives. An animal's habitat has air, food, water, shelter, and space. Animals need to move in their habitats to meet their life needs. Since they are unable to make their own food, animals get the food they need by eating other living things. An animal's body or physical characteristics (body coverings, body shape, appendages, and methods of movement) helps it survive in its environment. Wild animals provide for their own life needs (food, shelter, water, and space) in their habitat. The animals in Shenandoah National Park are wild animals.


Last updated: June 15, 2018