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Resources and the Environment: Assessments

Author(s): Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, and Paula H. Cutler, BA.
Resources and the Environment: Assessments

Resources are things in an environment that meet an organism's needs or wants.
© Aleksandr Lobanov.

  • Grades:
  • K-2
  • Length: 45 Minutes


Students complete an assessment instrument that allows teachers to determine how much they know about the origins of natural and processed resources. To measure learning, students complete the same instrument again upon completion of the unit.

This activity is from the Resources and the Environment Teacher's Guide. Although it is most appropriate for use with students in grades K-2, the lesson is easily adaptable for other grade levels.

Teacher Background

In the unit entitled, “Living Things and Their Needs,” students learned the basic needs of plants and animals: air, water, food (source of nutrients and energy), and space or a place to be. This unit builds on those concepts by focusing on how basic needs are met for humans and other organisms.

All of an organism’s surroundings make up its environment. Environments include both nonliving factors, such as temperature and atmosphere, and living factors, such as other plants, animals and micro-organisms.

Resources, which are anything obtained from the environment to meet the needs or wants of an organism, also can be classified as having living or nonliving origins.

Objectives and Standards


  • All living things need air, water, food and a place to be (space).

  • Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs are met.

  • A resource is anything that an organism gets from the living or nonliving environment.

  • Objects can be classified as natural or designed.


  • Recording

  • Communicating

  • Describing

Materials and Setup

Materials per Student

  • Crayons or markers

  • Drawing paper (for the post-assessment)

  • Student sheet


Have each student complete his or her own assessment. You may wish to seat students in groups to share materials.

Procedure and Extensions

  1. Explain to students that they will be learning about resources—the things people and other living things need to survive, grow and reproduce—and to recognize the origins of resources and whether they are natural or designed.

  2. Begin by asking students about the basic necessities of life: food, water, air and place to be. Ask, What do plants need to grow? Do animals need the same things as plants? What do people need? How are these needs met? (i.e., how do animals get these basic needs).

  3. Provide each student with a student sheet. In each of the four boxes a natural or a designed basic need of people is featured. Students will draw a possible source of the example given. For example, the “Food” box contains an apple (natural). The student might draw an apple tree as the source for the apple. Ask leading questions like, Where does an apple come from?

  4. Encourage students to share their work and display it in the classroom until the end of the unit. Upon completing the unit, have students revisit their drawings and ask them to create new drawings based on what they have learned.

Handouts and Downloads

Related Content

  • Resources and the Environment

    Resources and the Environment Teacher Guide

    Young students explore how living things—including humans—use resources found naturally in their environments or modify resources to meet their needs. (11 activities).

  • Tillena Lou's Big Adventure

    Tillena Lou’s Big Adventure Reading

    Tillena Lou becomes lost while while exploring away from her home, then she gets an unexpected ride into the world of people. What surprises await the tiny turtle?


Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Filling the Gaps: K-6 Science/Health Education
Grant Number: 5R25RR013454