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Science Center Units (Grade 5 - 6 Life Science): Unit Resources

READ THIS- Multimedia Info**
LEARN 360: Access Learn360 via OCM BOCES's MediaConnect  at  (username and password required - see your media/library specialist). First, log into MediaConnect then click on LEARN360. Leaving the web page open, return to this page and use the link to access the resource or copy/paste the shortcut. You cannot log directly into LEARN 360. 
Vital NY:  This is a free resource located at available to educators. Clicking the link should access the resource.  
DVD:  Listed DVDs can be obtained through MediaConnect’s physical collection (
Professional Development (PD):   These are resources that have been identified as sources of background information for the classroom teacher related to the content topic or a specific related skill. Teachers may choose to share this resource of parts of it with their students as they may deem beneficial.

Animal Responses

Unit - Kit Files
Animal Responses Student Journal (adaptable, MS Word)

Animal Responses Student Journal (PDF)

Animal Responses BLM (adaptable, MS Word) 

Animal Responses BLM (PDF)

Resource Files
Web Site: Reptile Adaptations Activity:
Adaptations are responses to external pressures on a group of organisms. (Science/ELA extension)

Web Site: Amazing Animal Senses (Neuroscience for Kids) This is a list of exceptional senses that different animals have developed.

Graphic (PNG) - Sexing Crayfish (png files will view ina browser - Chrome, Safari, IE)

Animal Responses - Animal Behavior
Phenomenon of Starling Murmuration (flock behavior) - awesome flock behavior which seems to correlate with the presence of predator(s) such a falcons.  The movement appears to be a flock response to one members change in direction - obviously much more complex than mere mortals can perceive.( All About Birds - Starling Murmurations) [3:05] [3:54]

Tips, Hints and FYIs
Animal Responses Information, Tips and Hints :critter info and care.

Guidelines for Returning Critters(PDF)

Critters: All three critters in this kit are invertebrates (no backbones) and, in fact, have no bones at all.  They all have exoskeletons and belong to the group of animals called "Arthropods".  Arthropods are invertebrates with exoskeletons, jointed bodies and segmented "legs".  Within this group or phylum the crayfish and brine shrimp belong to the subgroup called "Crustacea" and the mealworm (Darkling Beetle) belongs to the subgroup called "Insecta".

Responses: A response are reactions to a stimulus. Living things detect a stimulus using their senses. There are different types of responses that an organism can have.  An organism can have  behavioral responses and/or physical responses.  Organism species can have longer term adaptative responses.

  • Behavioral responses - run away, growl, hide, climb a tree, lay down, seek shade, seek sun
  • Physical responses: lower heart rate, shed fur, grow antlers, increase panting
  • Adaptative response: conserve water by less urine, tougher skin, sharper claws, longer neck, regulate internal temperature


Animal Web Cams (National Zoo) - there is a MicroscopeCAM!

Animal Web Cams (San Diego Zoo)

Video, National Geographic these videos capture behaviors of animals, many of them being conflicts (responses) between animals. There is even a category for invertebrates such as, Crabs, Lobsters, and Shrimp. Downside - you will have to endure a 20 -30 sec. commercial before each video.

Learn360: Animal Behavior (stimulus-response) [11:00]

You Tube: Nervous System (School House Rock)

Informational Text Resources
Animal Responses: Seasonal Change
Hibernation- Conservationist 4 Kids (full issue, PDF)

Animal Systems - Nervous System, I'm sensing something. (Biology 4 Kids)

Your Brain and Nervous System (

Professional Development(PD)
Basic Unit Info (PPT) - short Power Point file highlighting the standards and kit critters

Crazy About Crayfish (PDF) - an published article related to science inquiry  and crayfish

PD Websites
You Tube: Animal Behavior (Crash Course in Biology) - An interesting and relevant video that gives a great overview of the consequences of responsive behavior.

PD Multimedia
Learn360: Arthropods [14:19]

Learn360: Desert [12:21] - This video describes the many behavioral responses  and physical adaptations (responses) that animals have as desert dwellers.

Learn360: Defense Mechanisms

VITAL NY: Crayfish in the Classroom  [3:28]
VITAL NY : Setting Up An Experiment with Crayfish [4:24]

VITAL NY: Making Predictions About Crayfish [3:36]

VITAL NY : Assessing Student Understanding of Crayfish [1:09]


Terrestrial Ecosystems

Unit - Kit Files
 Terrestrial Ecosystems BLM (adaptable)

Terrestrial Ecosystems BLM (PDF)

Resource Files
PDF Files: Kit DVD Files
A Turkey Tale
Alien Invasion
Alien Invasion of NYS
Fall - Time for Bed
Fight or Flight
Fish Features
Fish of NYS
Reptiles and Amphibians
You Looking At Me?


Tips, Hints and FYIs
Guidelines for Returning Critters (PDF)

Ecosystems (Geography4Kids)

Desert USA: Ecology
(Desert USA)

Learn360: Biomes and Ecosystems  - presents seven different biomes and their unique characteristics

Web Based Video: Sierra Nevada Snow Pack (Science 360) - hydrologic cycle [5:18]

Web BaseVideo: Dead Trees and Dirty Water - eco impact of mountain pine beetle [4:61]

Web BaseVideo: Baltimore's Streams - impact of a city on urban streams [4:04]

MediaConnect Video (DVD):
Plant Parts, Visual Learning Co. [14:00] (K01547)- basic plant parts with added info on root types, stem structure, leaf structure and photosynthesis.

Informational Text Resources
Web Site: Biosphere Basics (Geology4Kids) - check out the menu on the right hand side

Web Site: NYS DEC Conservationist for Kids

Habitat is where it's at. (Spring 2012)
Biodiversity (Fall 2013) - the many different types of living things and the roles that they play allows nature to be flexible and adaptive to changes
Wildlife is Everywhere (Winter 2014)

Web Site: NYS DEC Conservationist
River Otter (Dec. 2013)

Professional Development(PD)
You Tube: Food Webs and Energy Pyramids - Bedrocks of Biodiversity - Explore food chains, food webs, energy pyramids, and the power of biodiversity in this ecology video by the Amoeba Sisters! This video also introduces general vocabulary for the unit of ecology. (Amoeba Sisters)

PD Websites
Web Page: EPA - Climate Change - a resource of current issues that affect ecosystems

PD Multimedia
Learn360Ecosystems [30:00] - a good overview/background information for the teacher, 5 video segments (we would suggest that if you share this video with your students you do so a selected section at a time)


Ponds and Wetlands

Unit - Kit Files
Ponds & Wetlands Student Journal, adaptable (MS Word)

Ponds & Wetlands Student Journal (PDF)

Ponds & Wetlands Blackline Masters (PDF)

OBIS Pond Guide - Web version
OBIS Pond Guide - PDF version

Resource Files
Live Binder Resources (Access Key: PondsUnit) - Links to web resources related to constructing/creating a pond ecosystem.

Microscope: Field of View (Calibrate) - microscopic measurement, a resource for the teacher which can be share with students via a projection board or PCs

Pond and Lake Maps (PDF) - can be used to "open" the unit discussion about the geographic features of surface water (ponds, lakes).  This PDF provides contour maps of local ponds and lakes.

Watersheds:Oswego and Susquehanna (PDF) 

Wetlands Coloring Book (PDF)
Wetland Science: A World In Our Backyard (PDF)

Onondaga County, OCWA: Sources of "Drinking" Water,  Sources Map

Cortland County SWCD: Soil/Water Conservation District 
Cortland City Services: Water Department

Tips, Hints and FYIs

The pond model that is created in the provided aquarium is one that can be discussed and formed as the students move through the unit.  We do not provide "directions" as it is open-ended and a considered a class project.

Fresh Water Ecosystems (MBGnet)

Plankton - The Drifters (ASU) Selection written for kids about microscopic plants and animals


Informational Text Resources
Web Site: NYS DEC Conservationist for Kids
The Great Lakes (Winter 2013)
What is Acid Rain? (Spring 2013)
Fish Features (Spring 2010)


Professional Development(PD)
Waterlife Background Reading (PDF)

PD Websites
NYS DEC: NYS Watershed - Information directly related to areas of NYS(watersheds, lakes and rivers, oceans and estuaries, wetlands, ground water) 

PD Multimedia
Learn360: The Pond ( ) [19:00]

Learn360: Wetlands ( [4:00]

Learn360: Single-celled Organisms ( [4:39]


Human Body

Unit - Kit Files
Human Body BLM (PDF)

Human Body General BLM (PDF)

Resource Files

Tips, Hints and FYIs



Informational Text Resources

Professional Development(PD)

PD Websites

PD Multimedia

Revised Date: 10/7/2013