Spring is just around the corner, and that leaves our students looking forward to all things outdoors! Spring flowers, animals re-emerging from hibernation, and seeing exciting insects outside again are all on their radar. It's like the world around us is coming alive again after being dormant in winter.
Naturally, spring is the perfect time of the year to teach life cycle units to your kindergarten students! Of course, this topic fits perfectly into kindergarten science standards, but there are also many other ways you can bring life cycle activities into your spring lesson plans! In this article, I'm going to talk about teaching life cycles through reading, writing, and science lessons so that you can do the same for your students. So, keep reading to discover how to teach life cycles in kindergarten!
How to Teach Life Cycles with Reading
Read alouds are the perfect way to familiarize students with different plant and animal life cycles. Before choosing my read alouds, I try to think about what types of life cycles I plan to focus on in my teaching. For insects like bees and ladybugs, National Geographic Kids has some excellent nonfiction read alouds. You could also share The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons with your students to learn more about these fascinating insects. Read alouds are also a great way to work on reading comprehension and communication skills!
Students can also learn about different life cycles from books that take a more narrative approach, like Sunflower House by Eve Bunting. In this story, a young boy talks about each step he takes when taking care of and growing sunflowers from seed to plant. By reading these different stories and texts, students become familiar with the different life cycle stages living things go through.
Writing Activities for Teaching Life Cycles
As you teach life cycles of organisms to young children, they can write about the facts they learn. For example, after learning about salmon, students can write about where they live, eat, and even why they are essential. I love independent work like this because it forces your students to use critical thinking and reading comprehension. In addition, an informational writing unit furthers your students' understanding of the circle of life.
Students can write about similar topics with plants and insects, like what they need to survive or the different parts. For plants, this means students could write about how plants need water, sunlight, and soil and plant parts like stems and roots. For insects, students could write about interesting facts like that insects have six legs and a head, thorax, and abdomen. Writing is a great way for students to share all the facts and information about the animal and plant life cycle. In addition, students can work on their fine motor skills while writing!
How to Use Science to Teach Life Cycles
Students get to put their plant and animal life cycle knowledge to the test with science! I try to begin discussions about each plant or animal with KWL charts. These life cycle charts are a fun way to see what students already know and help me plan a series of lessons for what students want to know. Then, I implement these lessons through read alouds and educational videos to aid the learning process. Then, we can go back to the chart and record our new learning! Having your students record what they've learned is a great way to practice reading comprehension and application!
Science is also a great time for students to practice putting life cycles in order. At the end of our unit, I want students to understand that different plants and animals go through different phases before reaching adulthood. Therefore, modeling a series of events in the life cycle is a creative way to practice using that knowledge.
One way to do this is by having students cut out and glue each phase of the life cycle on a piece of paper in the correct order. Another great resource that's so much fun to make is a life cycle hat. Students can still practice putting each life cycle in the correct order. However, now they have a hat that shows their learning! I love using a life cycle hat because it's a fun craft for my students to do. Plus, they have a resource they can refer back to!
Learning about different species with a life cycles unit is the perfect way to help students understand the circle of life. In addition, these activities incorporate vocabulary words and creative writing into your lessons!
Be sure to check out this life cycle bundle that is heavily discounted so you can teach life cycles all year long.