*2nd Grade - Desert Tortise Adoption

Lesson Developer: Morgan Black

Before You Adopt... 

YouTube Video

 A Classroom Tortoise

YouTube Video

Grade Level :2nd grade
Lesson Plan Title: 'Adopting an Endangered Species'


Concept/ Topic To Teach: 2nd Grade Science


Standards Addressed:
Strand 1:Inquiry Process

Inquiry Process establishes the basis for students learning in science. Students use scientific processes: questioning, planning and conducting investigations, using appropriate tools and techniques to gather data, thinking critically and logically about relationships between evidence and explanations, and communicating results.


General Goals/Objective: Students will research and gather information on the natural habitat of the desert tortoise. They will create a living environment for the desert tortoise that could be provided in the classroom. To assess the students comprehension, a class letter will be written to send to the Arizona Desert Tortoise Program that explains why they could be capable of adopting and nurturing a desert tortoise in their classroom.


Specific Objectives:
Concept 4: Communication

Communicate the Results of Investigations

PO.1. Communicate the results and conclusions of an investigation. (E.g. verbal, drawn or written).

(See MIO2-S2C1-02 and WO2-S3C2-01)

PO.2. Communicate with other groups to describe the results of an investigation.

(See LS-F1)


Required Materials:


Research Applications

Desert Explorers Website: Desert Tortoise ( K-3 page)


Pencils (colored and grey)

Arizona Desert Tortoise Program website


Anticipatory Set:


Teacher will introduce desert explorers site, demonstrate how it is used and review the different content areas and pictures of the desert tortoise.
Teacher will show both YouTube videos that show a classroom built habitat for a tortoise and considerations before adopting one.
Step-By-Step Procedure:
1. Teacher will allow students to explore and research the Desert Explorers Webstie and related sites that are given to find facts about the Desert Tortoise.
2. They may use additional resources on the site to collect at least 5 facts that describe the animal and its natural habitat.
3. Teacher will then brainstorm with students the important things that all living species need in order to survive.
4. Teacher will relate this to students by asking questions;
A. "What type of things are you responsible for doing when you have a pet?"
5. Teacher will record all ideas in a form of a mind map.
6.Teacher will boldly write all ideas presented that may relate to the letter that they will be writing.
Plan for Independent Practice:
1.Teacher will instruct small groups of 3 to combine thoughts and facts of all things that a desert tortoise would need to survive and answer the following questions:
A. How and what does it eat?
B. How and what does it drink?
C. Where does it live?
D. What enviorment does the tortoise like? Heat? Cold? Underground?
2. Teacher will then instruct class to take their infromation gathered and translate it to the possibility of creating a home for it in the classroom.
3. Students will reflect upon:
A. Maintence: Baths, mess clean-up, does it need to be walked?
B. Where in the classroom would you keep it?
C. How much space would it need? Would you put it in a cage or could it roam freely?
D. How would it be fed, watered and watched over during the weekends, school breaks and holidays?
E. What would you name it?
Closure: Teacher will show students the Desert Tortoise Rescue Page and review information.



Teacher will instruct students of their final assingment to take all notes, facts and mindmaps to create a proposal to the Desert Tortoise Rescue Team to see if they may house this endangered species in the classroom.

Assessment based on objective: Students will write individual letters to the Rescue team and submit to teacher for grading. Students must list facts and relate resources that they could adapt to making a habitat for a Desert Tortoise in their classroom.
Adaptations: Students with special needs may create a picture of the habitat in the classroom with limited text that still meets the standards of adapting a habitat for a turtle in the classroom.
Extensions: Students may take their letter to the Desert Tortoise Rescue and create a video through Xtranormal to send their response virtually through video instead of written text.
Possible connections to other subjects:
Math: Students may design cage using measurements.