Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Organism Detectives

Bobbi-Jean Fremer
Hernando County Schools


Using magnifying glasses, students become detectives as they take a nature walk in search of organisms that live on or near the surface of the Earth in land, air, and water.


The student knows some kinds of organisms that live on or near the surface of the Earth in land, water, and air.


-Detective costume (trench coat and hat, large magnifying glass, etc.)
-Magnifying glasses
-Pictures of organisms that live in land, air, and water
-Student record sheet (see Attached File)


1. Duplicate student record sheet. (see Attached File)
2. Have detective costume ready to be worn.
3. Choose the pictures of organisms to be used for examples and non-examples.
4. Have magnifying glasses and clipboards ready for student use.
5. Plan route for nature walk.


1. Stand in front of class dressed in a detective costume holding a large magnifying glass. Examine items in the classroom with the magnifying glass. Ask class if they know what you are (detective) and what you are holding. Class will discuss detectives and magnifying glasses. Tell class that they are going to become detectives today.

2. Model how to use a magnifying glass.

3. Show pictures of different kinds of organisms and ask the students where that organism would live. For example, show the class a picture of an octopus and ask where this animal would live. The students would respond that the octopus lives in the water. Provide non-examples as well. For example, show a picture of a cat and ask the students if they would find this organism in the water. The students will respond that you would not find this organism in the water; you would find it on land.

4. Allow students to share/discuss organisms that they observed on their way to school.

5. Break students up into groups of two. Give each group a magnifying glass. Allow students to practice using the magnifying glass. The students may look for organisms in the classroom and they may examine various objects around the classroom.

6. Tell students that they are now going to become organism detectives. Explain that the class will be taking a nature walk in search of organisms. Pass out Land, Air, and Water worksheet. This worksheet is the student record sheet. (see Attached File) Explain that students are going to work with their partners to find (detect) three organisms that live on/in land, three organisms that live in air, and at least one organism that lives in water. Pass out one clipboard to each group. Remind students that they will need to bring a pencil with them.

7. Take students on the nature walk. Walk around various areas of the school, such as the outdoor classroom, the pond, the nature trail, the PE fields, etc. Remind them to use their magnifying glasses and detective skills to find the organisms that they are looking for.

8. Return to the classroom. Collect the studentsí worksheets. Discuss the organisms that were observed.

9. Review the worksheets to check for understanding. Provide feedback to the students. Review material as necessary.


The students will be able to completely label organisms under the correct category: land, air, and water. The students will be formatively assessed when the completed worksheet is reviewed.


Extension: When students return to the classroom, they may add one organism to each column. They may add an organism that was not observed outside.
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