Lesson 7

We All Have Jobs to Do 


Lesson Overview:

Students will discuss the jobs that people do in their community and compare them to jobs that plants and animals do in the natural community. For example, many species of birds are in the pest management business; maggots and ants are into waste management or garbage pick up; worms loosen soil. Students will read the classifieds in the paper. They will create help-wanted ads for the plants and animals in the school grounds' community.


Content Standards Addressed:

Common Core State Standards



In every community, jobs need to be done to keep the community healthy and functioning. The same applies in a natural or biological community where the role(s) played by organism(s) are their ecological niches. These are the jobs that these organisms do - sometimes similar to jobs in man-made communities.

For example, plants produce energy for other members of the community to consume. Some animals are food for other animals. Some animals, by preying on others, provide benefits to human communities - birds and bats gobble up many pesky bugs. Some organisms, in finding their own food, provide a benefit to other members of the biological community - bees and butterflies cross-pollinate plants in their search for nectar. And many organisms serve as scavengers, picking up dead materials and garbage in the community. 

While these jobs aren't always exactly parallel to a human community, there are connections that students can recognize.



Generate a list of jobs that are performed in the classroom. If children are old enough to read, distribute copies of a newspaper's classifieds section listing job opportunities. As a class, brainstorm how some of the classroom jobs might be advertised in the want ads.


Reproducible: Animal Want Ads

Using the plants and animals from their school grounds map, brainstorm and list with students some of the jobs they think that the members of the school grounds' community perform. To generate ideas, duplicate and pass around the example want ads and animal cards. Students should cut apart the cards on both sheets along the dotted lines. Ask them to work in pairs, to match each want ad with the picture of the appropriate animal. 


  • Insect Exterminator = bat
  • Landscape Manager = deer
  • Soil Aerator = earthworm
  • Aquatic Pest Manager = frog
  • Rodent Removal = owl
  • Garbage Removal = ant and centipede
  • Excavation Specialist = woodpecker
  • Food Collection = bee
  • Seed Planting Acrobat = squirrel
  • Energy Producer = trees

Students will need help with the traditional classified ad's vocabulary and new ecology terms used in this activity. Pairing them with older students or sending the activity home will help.



School: Write a job opportunity for an organism on your school grounds.

Take Home: Make a list of jobs that are being done by plants and animals in your backyard or neighborhood. Draw a picture of who is doing them.