Title: The Science of Survival

Authors: Eric Chan, Dan Moran, and Kevin Petry


Grades 6-8


NYS Intermediate (5-8) Standards:

STANDARD 1- Analysis, Inquiry, and Design

Key Idea 1:

The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena

in a continuing, creative process.

S1.1 Formulate questions independently with the aid of references appropriate for

guiding the search for explanations of everyday observations.

S1.1a formulate questions about natural phenomena

S1.1b identify appropriate references to investigate a question

S1.1c refine and clarify questions so that they are subject to scientific investigation

S1.2 Construct explanations independently for natural phenomena.


Key Idea 1:

Information technology is used to retrieve, process, and communicate information as a

tool to enhance learning.

1.1 Use a range of equipment and software to integrate several forms of information in

order to create good-quality audio, video, graphic, and text-based presentations.

1.2 Use spreadsheets and database software to collect, process, display, and analyze

information. Students access needed information from electronic databases and

on-line telecommunication services.

1.3 Systematically obtain accurate and relevant information pertaining to a particular

topic from a range of sources, including local and national media, libraries, museums, governmental agencies, industries, and individuals.


Rationale: This activity is a beginning of the school year activity and introduces the 21st century skills of working in teams, and completing web based research. The activity also introduces the idea that we are always surrounded by situations that can be explained scientifically.


Objectives: To motivate students to learn about the science of the natural world

                -SWBAT describe friction and how it “may” set fire to wood (cellulose)

                -SWBAT describe a bacterial infection

                -SWBAT understand the importance of clean drinking water

                -SWBAT to explain digestion



- Laptops with internet access

- Video screen or SMART Board with connection to the internet

- You Tube




Aim: How can scientific knowledge help man to survive in the wild?


Do Now: On loose leaf, Brainstorm a minimum of 5 things you would need to do if you were stranded in the wild.


Motivation: Tell students about a camping trip that went wrong and that you have just returned from. Then show them, “The Science of Survival” sketch starring the student’s teachers.


Teacher Input: Alert the class that they will be completing a jigsaw activity. Each team will be assigned a different topic to research and create a power point on for presentation to the class. The following questions will be used to guide each team in their research. Each number below represents a team.

1.       What is friction? How can it be used to start a fire? What is the difference between physical and chemical change? What is combustion? Why does wood burn?

2.       What are bacteria? Why can they make people sick? What is the meaning of the word “antiseptic”? Explain the importance of keeping a wound clean. What is gangrene?

3.       What is so important about finding clean drinking water? What is contaminated water? How does filtering or boiling water purify it? Which organisms may be contaminated water and how may they make you sick?

4.       What is nutrition? What is protein and where does it come from? What parts of digestion are physical? Why? What parts of digestion are chemical? Why? What is starvation and how may it kill?


Guided Practice:

1.       Break students into teams of 4 and provide each team with 2 laptops.

2.       As the teams conduct Google searches on their respective topics, the teacher will move from team to team demonstrating the importance of information literacy.

3.       Remind students to paraphrase and reference information they take from the internet.

4.       Give mini-lessons on using and inserting photos from the internet to Microsoft Power Point.


Independent Practice:

1.       Students will develop a power point presentation based on their topic to present at the front of the class. The teacher should provide scaffolding for those students unfamiliar with the software.

2.       Each slide in the power point should represent one question provided by the teacher for each topic.

3.       The audience will write at least one full sentence on each slide of the power point that is presented.

4.       These student generated “fact sheets” will be collected by the teacher and graded as the first quiz of the year. 15/15 for 15 accurate facts.


Conclusion: (Exit ticket) Question: What is the single most important skill for survival and why?