Providing for Pollinators | EL Education Curriculum

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In this module, students continue to build on their knowledge of pollinators from Module 3 as they deepen their literacy skills and build citizenship. Specifically, students explore the module guiding questions: "Why should people help pollinators to survive? How can I take action to help pollinators?"

In Unit 1, students explore folktales and fables in which pollinators are the central characters. They engage in a close read-aloud, focused read-alouds, and independent reading and learn to determine the central message of the folktales and fables they read. They then learn to compare and contrast two versions of the same fable. As they analyze each text, students also consider habits of character that help the fictional characters contribute to a better world by responding to challenges. Students are supported in their comprehension with the Role-Play protocol, text-dependent questions, and note-taking.

In Unit 2, students continue their study of pollinators by reading and writing opinion pieces. Specifically, students learn about the challenges facing bats and butterflies. In the first part of the unit, students read two opinion texts, A Place for Bats and "Bats' Roosts in Danger!" Building on the research skills students learned in Module 3, the class records class notes about these dangers.  In the second part of the unit, students read about the dangers facing butterflies and continue to hone their research skills by recording class notes. Students draft an opinion piece about why butterflies are important to plants and animals, using reasons collected on the class notes to support their opinion.

In Unit 3, students apply their knowledge about plants and pollinators to help one important pollinator: butterflies. Building on knowledge from Modules 3-4, students read about how planting wildflowers helps butterflies. For their performance task, students are invited to take action by creating a wildflower seed packet to then give a visitor at the Celebration of Learning. This performance task includes a high-quality colored pencil drawing of a butterfly and a short opinion piece about why it is important to help butterflies (W.2.1, W.2.2, W.2.5, W.2.6, W.2.7, W.2.8). In this unit, students engage in a routine of oral and written reflection and share a formal reflection on their work and learning throughout Module 4 in small groups at the end of the unit. As a culmination of the work of Module 4, students write letters inviting community and family members to a Celebration of Learning, where they share their reflections and give their seed packets to a guest.

Recall that EL Education believes that high-quality work is a reflection and result of the high expectations teachers have for all students. Thus, it is a means to excellence and equity. The performance task for this module allows for students to create high-quality work based on their deep knowledge of pollinators. Using the literacy skills built throughout the school year; knowledge built in Modules 3-4; and cycles of drafting, critique, and revision, students are able to create a high-quality product that showcases their learning for the year. Unit 3 of this module supports this work for the performance task with both the design of its lessons and the use of optional flex days. Refer to the Performance Task Overview and Unit 3 Overview for additional information.

Guiding Questions and Big Ideas

  • Why should people help pollinators to survive?
    • Researchers gather evidence before forming an opinion.
    • We can help pollinators so we can continue to have the fruits, flowers, and vegetables we enjoy.
  • How can I take action to help pollinators?
    • We can take action to affect the lives of pollinators.
    • Taking action on research-based opinions can contribute to a better world.

The Four Ts

  • Topic: Providing for Pollinators
  • Task: Opinion writing, scientific illustrations
  • Targets (CCSS explicitly taught and assessed): W.2.1, W.2.2, W.2.5, W.2.6, W.2.7, W.2.8
  • Texts: A Place for Bats; A Place for Butterflies; Hey, Little Ant; The Ant and the Grasshopper; The Little Hummingbird; The Lizard and the Sun

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards and to be taught during the Integrated Literacy Block of the school day. The module also intentionally incorporates science and social studies content that many teachers across the nation are expected to address in second grade. These intentional connections are described below. (Based on your state or district context, teachers may also choose to address additional specific social studies or science standards during other parts of the school day.)

NGSS Science Standards:

  • 2-LS2-2: Plants depend on animals for pollination or to move their seeds around.

C3 Framework for Social Studies:

  • D2.Civ.2.K-2: Explain how all people, not just official leaders, play important roles in a community.
  • D2.Civ.10.K-2: Compare their own point of view with others' perspectives.

Habits of Character / Social Emotional Learning Focus

Central to EL Education's curriculum is a focus on "habits of character" and social-emotional learning. Students work to become effective learners, developing mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration); work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion); and work to contribute to a better world, putting their learning to use to improve communities (e.g., citizenship, service).

In this module, students work to contribute to a better world by taking action to provide for pollinators in their community.  They apply their learning by forming opinions about why people should protect pollinators, and then creating a wildflower seed packet that helps to protect butterflies. They also learn to identify their strengths by reflecting on their work and learning daily.


Each unit in the K-2 Language Arts Curriculum has one standards-based assessment built in. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Performance Task

Wildflower Seed Packet

In this performance task, students take action to help butterflies by creating a wildflower seed packet filled with wildflower seeds. The seeds can be planted, which will help to provide butterflies with nectar and a habitat. The front of the wildflower seed packet includes a title and a detailed, colorful pencil drawing of a monarch butterfly. The back of the wildflower seed packet includes instructions for how to plant the wildflower seeds, as well as a typed opinion piece explaining why people should help butterflies. This task addresses CCSS ELA W.2.1, W.2.2, W.2.5, W.2.6, W.2.7, and W.2.8.


EL Education's Models of Excellence: Center for High Quality Student Work is a collection of useful resources, exemplary project work, and compelling writing curated in collaboration with Harvard's Graduate School of Education. It's the world's largest collection of quality student work. Please visit this site to get tools, tips, and models of excellent student work that you can use to immediately make your students stronger writers and to inspire and engage them across all subjects.

Refer to each Unit Overview for a list of any unusual physical materials required (such as puppets or props) for module lessons.

Texts to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
The Little Hummingbird
by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Six per classroom
ISBN: 9781553655336
A Place for Butterflies
by Melissa Stewart
One per student
ISBN: 9781561457847
A Place for Bats
by Melissa Stewart
One per pair
ISBN: 9781561457632
The Ant and the Grasshopper
by Diane Marwood
One per student
ISBN: 9780778779018
Hey, Little Ant
by Phillip and Hannah Hoose
Six per classroom
ISBN: 9781883672546
The Lizard and the Sun
by Alma Flor Ada
One per classroom
ISBN: 9780440415312


Each module is approximately 6-8 weeks of instruction broken into 3 units. The "week at a glance" chart in the curriculum map gives the big picture, breaking down the module into a detailed week-by-week view. It shows how the module unfolds, the focus of each week of instruction, and where the six assessments and the performance task occur.


Labs are 1 hour of instruction per day. They are designed to promote student proficiency and growth.

There are 5 distinct Labs: Explore, Engineer, Create, Imagine, and Research. Each of the Labs unfolds across an entire module and takes place in four stages: Launch, Practice, Extend, and Choice and Challenge.

During their Lab time, students break up into smaller Lab groups and go to separate workstations (tables or other work spaces around the classroom). This structure creates a small collaborative atmosphere in which students will work throughout their Labs experience. It also supports the management of materials (since each workstation has its own materials).

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