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The Nitrogen Cycle:Using a skit to teach kids

Nitrogen Cycle Lesson Skit

these are teacher made and can be laminated and reused over and over again

these are teacher made and can be laminated and reused over and over again

5th grade 5E lesson plan:How animals and plants survive

This 5E lesson plan is really exciting for kids, they will understand how a cycle works and will enjoy the lesson.

Real world application:

- Nitrogen is a basic element of all living cells.

-Nitrogen as a gas is carried to the Earth's surface through precipitation.

-Nitrogen is used by plants than passed through the food chain to animals and people.

-How do we help our environment stay balanced?

Lesson Description

In this lesson students will learn the nitrogen cycle's process by modeling its process or acting out the main steps in the cycle. This will help students remember the importance of each part of the cycle.

Content Area Standards Alignment

5.2 B, C, D, E- Scientific processes. The student uses scientific inquiry methods during field and laboratory investigations. The student is expected to collect information by observing and measuring; they are also expected to analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct and indirect evidence, communicate valid conclusions; and construct simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts to organize, examine and evaluate information.

5.3C-Scientific processes. The student knows that information, critical thinking, and scientific problem solving are used in making decisions. The student is expected to represent the natural world using models and identifying their limitations.

5.5 B- Science concepts. The student knows that systems exist in the world. The student is expected to observe a simple system and describe the role of various parts such as a yo-yo and string.


Students will be able to identify the different parts of the nitrogen cycle. Students will also know the importance of a balanced system. Students will interpret data and draw conclusions.

5E Model Lesson sequence example

Grade Level: 3-5


Consumers, producers, nitrates, bacteria, air (atmosphere), soil, nitrogen fixation, plants and animals.

Lesson Sequence

1.Engage- introduction & discussion

Lead a discussion: Offer different scenarios that are examples of out of balance systems, for example, ask the students to predict what would happen if the cafeteria could only produce 300 lunches daily and there were 375 students to feed? Conclude: That this system is out of balance because there is not enough for all, how to fix this problem?

Teacher will see what the kids know by leading a whole group discussion. Students will think of problems with different scenarios and talk about solutions. Teacher will then introduce an illustration of the Nitrogen Cycle.

Resource Tool:

Document camera will be used to show pictures

2.Explore- model the cycle

Divide the class into equal groups. Label some students as rabbits, some bacterium, and others plants. Have students act out as you read the following story:

As The Sun comes up on a beautiful spring day, the rabbits wake up from their deep burrows. They head out looking for breakfast. They hop around each looking for a tasty plant to gobble. They happily eat their food and leave behind waste. The rabbits now full look for a place to nap. The bacteria are also hungry! They enter the rabbits waste and look for their favorite food called nitrogen. Notice nothing is wasted in nature, everything is recycled! So the bacteria leave behind Nitrates (a form of nitrogen plants can use). Now the plants can eat thanks to the work of bacteria. The plants thirstily drink up the nutrients left by bacteria, the Sun shines and the plants produce new leaves. The leaves contain nitrogen that has been changed into a protein that animals and humans can use. And just in time for the rabbits who are ready to eat again. Repeat story at least twice. (Each time the story is told represents one system).

Teacher will have students move desk to the walls to make room to act or model the story in correct sequence.

Students will then divide into equal groups. They will each have a label(rabbit, bacteria, or plant)

3.Explain-reflect on the activity

Students will discuss what they are observing from the skit or acting out of the story. They will interpret their findings on the "Nitrogen Cycle Investigation" chart. Answer if the systems are balanced or not and why or why not.

Teacher will guide students by asking them question about what they saw. The teach will fill out on the chart, information about one system with the class

Resource Tool:

Projector to fill out part of the chart with the whole class.

4.Elaborate- repeat the activity with unequal groups

Repeat explores activity, this time with unequal groups. Students write down their findings from observing the story with unequal groups.

Teacher will do the same as in the explore activity but with unequal groups.

Students will summarize what they learn in a few complete sentences. A few students will be called upon to reflect on what they learned. Ask them how we can make sure our environment stays balanced for all life.

Evaluate: can be a exit ticket or a small assessment that is provided by the curriculum or other resource that targets the objective effectively.

Teacher will monitor, students will be writing individually at their desk. Teacher will then close the lesson with some questions to think on.

Notes and Credits*

Lesson idea and materials provided by : Ms. Seewald (Math & Science Specialist) at Travis Elementary.

© 2012 Dominique Broomfield MEd

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