Plant and Animal Environmental Interactions

Contributor: Alison Weiss. Lesson ID: 10587

Beavers and elephants have a lot in common. Really? Just ask a tree! Using fun animal videos and pictures, learn about how plants and animals change their environments.


Life Science

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Have you ever seen a tree that looked like something chewed on it? Do holes mysteriously appear in the ground? Can plants take over their neighborhood?

What animal is responsible for the damage in the photograph above?

If you guessed beaver, you're right! They are furry mammals, and some of their most interesting characteristics include their webbed feet, flat powerful tail, and those choppers!

Beavers are perhaps one of the most notorious animals for changing their environment, specifically by building dams. Animals and even humans change the physical characteristics of their environment to help them survive better. For example, humans build roads and dig tunnels to help them travel faster from one place to the next.

The beavers build dams by chewing or gnawing down trees with their big, sharp teeth. So, a beaver changes his physical environment when the trees are chopped or chomped down! That is just the beginning of how the beaver changes his environment.

With your parent or teacher, read all about beavers, and even hear what they sound like, in this National Geographic page about the Beaver (!

Discuss these questions with your parent or teacher after you’ve finished reading all about beavers:

  1. What other ways does the beaver change his environment?
  2. Why does the beaver change his environment?

Did you know that plants can also change the environment around them?

Have you ever been walking down the sidewalk and tripped where a tree root had pushed up and cracked the sidewalk? That is an example of how plants can change their environment!

Another example of plants changing their environment is a fallen tree. Perhaps an old dead tree falls in the forest and lands across a stream. The stream will have to change course and that is how plants can physically change their environments!

Discuss with your parent some other ideas of how plants can change their environments physically! You may even want to go outside to get some ideas!

Watch Big Changes in the Big Forest: Crash Course Kids # 38.2 (below):

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Have fun!

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