Beacon Lesson Plan Library


Renee Benefield


Students will answer the question of what is needed for basic survival of all living things. They will participate in group discussion and then create an individual project to display examples and non-examples of basic needs.


The student knows some of the basic needs of living things (for example, food, water, space).


-Chart paper to list examples/non-examples of basic needs
-Paper for student posters
-Markers or crayons for student use


1. Prepare chart for recording student response.
2. Gather preferred paper for student posters.
3. Students should have or be provided with markers or crayons.


1. Call group to the floor. Tell students that they are going on a trip to an island. They will have to take the items with them that they will need to survive for a few days because there will be no stores or other businesses to make or purchase what they will need.

2. Give a few minutes for student discussion among themselves.

3. Start to direct students to narrow down what they absolutely would need to take with them.

4. Write on a chart the title: A Survivorís Basic Needs List. (You might want to draw an outline of a suitcase around the perimeter of the chart.) Ask students to give you what they would absolutely need to survive. Remind them there will not be a place to purchase items.

5. List student responses. These may include non-examples, preferably outside of the suitcase.

6. After the list is created, ask students if the list they created would be limited to just humans or all living things. Circle the items that would be exclusive to humans.

7. Explain to students that all living things require very basic necessities to survive. Discuss what very few other things humans need to survive, such as clothing, clean water, companionship, etc.

8. Explain that as humans there are many things that are wants.

9. Ask students to return to their seats and distribute paper.

10. Instruct students to fold their paper and label basic needs for living things/ non-examples.

11. Students work independently and give at least three examples of each item.

12. Collect posters and check accuracy of knowledge of basic needs and give appropriate feedback.


Students draw a poster that includes examples and non-examples of basic needs of all living things that include at least three examples of each. Teacher checks for accuracy of the items on the student product.


You may extend this lesson by discussing needs and wants as a social studies topic. Also, as an enrichment, students could discuss how basic needs of humans differ from other living things.
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