Interdependence Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

In order to survive, living and non-living things engage in interdependence. Students will enjoy this lesson plan about interdependence, which includes individual observations, a writing activity, and an art project to summarize the lesson.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson students will be able to:

  • define the terms 'depend' and 'interdependence'
  • identify ways in which they depend on living and non-living things
  • identify ways that living and non-living things engage in interdependence
  • explain three specific ways that living things engage in interdependence


  • 45 - 60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.


Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.


Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.



  • Start the lesson by dividing students into small groups, and provide them with a discussion question for students to brainstorm with small groups.
    • How many of you have ever had a pet? How did you take care of your pet?
    • What would happen if you suddenly stopped taking care of your pet?
  • Guide students to the concept that pets depend on their owners for food, water, shelter.
  • Distribute copies of the lesson Interdependence: Lesson for Kids to students. Explain that they will be learning about ways that living and non-living things depend on each other for survival.
  • Have students read the lesson introduction and the section 'Interdependence: What's That?' with their small group.
    • How does a giraffe depend on an oxpecker? How does the oxpecker benefit from the relationship?
    • What would happen if one of these animals becomes extinct?
  • Have students read the lesson section 'Interdependence Among Living and Non-Living Things' with their small group.
    • What are non-living things that you depend on for survival?
    • What if the amount of oxygen on Earth were to decrease, or become polluted?

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