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Life Cycles and the Four Seasons

In this worksheet, students will answer questions about the life cycles of animals and plants. They will gain a greater understanding of why many life cycles are seasonal.

'Life Cycles and the Four Seasons' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Living Things and Their Habitats

Curriculum subtopic:   Life Cycles

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

The photographs below show how a tree can change in nature throughout the year.

 

Tree through the seasons

 

All living things undergo changes throughout their lives. Some of these changes are annual like those in the picture. This means they happen every year.  

Many other changes occur over much longer periods - think about the changes that occur in our bodies over our whole lifetime. Scientists refer to these changes as life cycles

Many life cycles are influenced by our environment and seasonal changes.

Let's take a closer look.

We often associate Spring with the start of new life cycles. Think about Easter eggs, new-born lambs and freshly blooming flowers.

In the Northern Hemisphere the Spring months are March, April and May. Spring is an annual season.

 

Now, complete this sentence by choosing the best answer from the three below.

 

The word season means a year ______________________.

has 365 days

is divided into periods of time

has rainy days

Both new plants and animals are usually created by a process called sexual reproduction.

 

During sexual reproduction a male cell combines with a female cell to create a brand new cell which then grows into new offspring (young).

 

What is the name we give to the process in plants when a male cell and female cell combine to create a new cell?

fertilisation

pollination

germination

Can you put the stages of the life cycle of a flowering plant in the correct order, starting with the germination (sprouting) of the seedling?

stem emerges → roots form → flower buds → bud opens

roots form → stem emerges → flower buds → bud opens

roots form → flower buds → stem emerges → bud opens

stem emerges → bud opens → roots form → flower buds

The sun is directly linked to the life cycles of plants and many animals. 

The sun provides us with light and heat which helps plants to grow and animals to find more food.

 

Sunshine over field

 

In which TWO seasons does the temperature increase?

summer and autumn

spring and summer

autumn and winter

spring and autumn

Hibernation is a really important part of the life cycle of some animals. Many animals such as hedgehogs and bats hibernate. It enables them to survive when the environment is too harsh for them.

 

Typically the trigger for an animal to begin hibernation is when the temperature drops and the days become shorter (when there is less light energy).

Temperature dial

 

In which TWO seasons do we expect our climate to become cooler and darker? 

autumn and winter

autumn and spring

summer and autumn

spring and summer

Spring is a time when we often see tadpoles in ponds and waterways. Tadpoles are frog larvae (young).

 

Tadpoles hatch from frogspawn. You may even have a tank in your classroom which contains frogspawn. Female frogs produce large amounts of frogspawn because only one or two of these eggs will ever develop into adult frogs. Many get eaten at the early stages in their life cycle.

Tadpole

 

Match the correct part of the frog life cycle to its description.

Column A

Column B

a mass of clear eggs that has the appearance of je...
frogspawn
a small creature with a short tail and large head ...
frog
a fairly large animal with arms and legs and a ver...
tadpole
a quite large animal with bulging eyes that squats...
froglet

What are the clues that autumn is here?

Choose two answers.

 

Wood in autumn

We start Christmas shopping.

Some animals prepare for hibernation by gathering extra food.

Many trees lose their leaves.

Days get gradually warmer

Many trees, such as the oak tree, shed their leaves in autumn.

Oak tree

Trees shed leaves to prevent themselves from losing all the precious and valuable materials they have made during the spring and summer. The plants take all the useful materials out of the leaf and then it is allowed to simply drop off.

 

Other trees and bushes, such as conifers and holly, do not shed their leaves during the winter; instead they replace their leaves gradually over the whole year, allowing the old leaf to simply drop off whenever it is no longer needed.

 

What name do we give to trees and bushes such as conifers and holly?

Write one word.

Can you put the stages of the life cycle of a butterfly in the correct order?

 

Make sure your stages start at 'birth' and finish at 'adult'.

butterfly → caterpillar → egg → pupa

caterpillar → egg → pupa → butterfly

egg → caterpillar → pupa → butterfly

pupa → butterfly → egg → caterpillar

Many of the life cycles we have looked at during this worksheet depend upon the seasons (no, not the football and cricket seasons!).

 

The seasons come about because the Earth orbits the sun. The Earth's axis is slightly tilted and this is extra important when we think about the differences between the seasons.  The EQUATOR divides the Earth into the two Hemispheres: NORTHERN HEMISPHERE (where we, in the UK, live) and the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE.

 

Tilt of the Earth

 

Can you match up these statements about the tilt of the Earth?

Column A

Column B

In our winter the Northern hemisphere tilts...
away from the sun.
In our summer the Northern Hemisphere tilts...
towards the sun.
  • Question 1

We often associate Spring with the start of new life cycles. Think about Easter eggs, new-born lambs and freshly blooming flowers.

In the Northern Hemisphere the Spring months are March, April and May. Spring is an annual season.

 

Now, complete this sentence by choosing the best answer from the three below.

 

The word season means a year ______________________.

CORRECT ANSWER
is divided into periods of time
EDDIE SAYS
Seasons are periods of time throughout the year when the environment around us changes. The seasons 'shape' our year. Farmers and gardeners sow, grow and harvest crops according to the seasons. We look for lambs in Spring, not in Autumn!
  • Question 2

Both new plants and animals are usually created by a process called sexual reproduction.

 

During sexual reproduction a male cell combines with a female cell to create a brand new cell which then grows into new offspring (young).

 

What is the name we give to the process in plants when a male cell and female cell combine to create a new cell?

CORRECT ANSWER
fertilisation
EDDIE SAYS
Pollen is the name given to the male sex cells in plants.
The pollen grain grows into the female part (carpel) to join with the egg inside. This is FERTILSATION and a seed forms as a result. Pollination is the transfer of pollen between flowers (often carried by insects or the wind) and germination is when a seed grows (sprouts) into a young plant.
  • Question 3

Can you put the stages of the life cycle of a flowering plant in the correct order, starting with the germination (sprouting) of the seedling?

CORRECT ANSWER
roots form → stem emerges → flower buds → bud opens
EDDIE SAYS
When a seed germinates, the root appears first. This collects water from the soil and anchors the plant firmly. Then the stem starts to grow, later leaves and flowers. Most plants flower in the spring and summer.
We say that a plant flowers when you can first see the bloom. When you buy plants from a garden centre they often come with a useful information card which tells you the correct time to plant, and also when to expect flowers to bloom.
  • Question 4

The sun is directly linked to the life cycles of plants and many animals. 

The sun provides us with light and heat which helps plants to grow and animals to find more food.

 

Sunshine over field

 

In which TWO seasons does the temperature increase?

CORRECT ANSWER
spring and summer
EDDIE SAYS
Our climate heats up in spring and summer. This is the natural time for growth - plants grow and animals reproduce because there is a lot of food to be found.
  • Question 5

Hibernation is a really important part of the life cycle of some animals. Many animals such as hedgehogs and bats hibernate. It enables them to survive when the environment is too harsh for them.

 

Typically the trigger for an animal to begin hibernation is when the temperature drops and the days become shorter (when there is less light energy).

Temperature dial

 

In which TWO seasons do we expect our climate to become cooler and darker? 

CORRECT ANSWER
autumn and winter
EDDIE SAYS
Autumn and winter are the coldest and darkest times of our year.
Some animals hibernate during winter because it is often too difficult for them to be awake. It's really cold and there is less food available, so they will waste a lot of energy trying to find food that's probably not there. As a result, many would die. Hibernating gets them through this difficult time.
  • Question 6

Spring is a time when we often see tadpoles in ponds and waterways. Tadpoles are frog larvae (young).

 

Tadpoles hatch from frogspawn. You may even have a tank in your classroom which contains frogspawn. Female frogs produce large amounts of frogspawn because only one or two of these eggs will ever develop into adult frogs. Many get eaten at the early stages in their life cycle.

Tadpole

 

Match the correct part of the frog life cycle to its description.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

a mass of clear eggs that has the...
frogspawn
a small creature with a short tai...
tadpole
a fairly large animal with arms a...
froglet
a quite large animal with bulging...
frog
EDDIE SAYS
The life cycle of a frog is quite simple to learn, really. You could practise learning it by asking an adult or a friend to draw a picture to represent each stage, then try to identify the correct stage by looking for the clues in the drawing.
  • Question 7

What are the clues that autumn is here?

Choose two answers.

 

Wood in autumn

CORRECT ANSWER
Some animals prepare for hibernation by gathering extra food.
Many trees lose their leaves.
EDDIE SAYS
There are many changes which we can observe. Sometimes animals move into our homes, which are dry and warm. Look out for wolf spiders, wasps and butterflies! Animals, like squirrels and dormice, gather extra food to help them through the winter months. The leaves of the trees start to turn a different colour as the tree withdraws the goodness from them - then the leaves fall off. All this is triggered because the days are getting shorter and colder.
  • Question 8

Many trees, such as the oak tree, shed their leaves in autumn.

Oak tree

Trees shed leaves to prevent themselves from losing all the precious and valuable materials they have made during the spring and summer. The plants take all the useful materials out of the leaf and then it is allowed to simply drop off.

 

Other trees and bushes, such as conifers and holly, do not shed their leaves during the winter; instead they replace their leaves gradually over the whole year, allowing the old leaf to simply drop off whenever it is no longer needed.

 

What name do we give to trees and bushes such as conifers and holly?

Write one word.

CORRECT ANSWER
evergreen
evergreens
EDDIE SAYS
As you saw in the introduction to this worksheet, many trees shed their leaves during the winter months before growing new ones in the spring and summer. Trees that shed their leaves during autumn and winter are called deciduous. However, those that keep them all the round are, sensibly, called evergreen - holly, yew, pine, fir, etc. are all evergreen trees.
  • Question 9

Can you put the stages of the life cycle of a butterfly in the correct order?

 

Make sure your stages start at 'birth' and finish at 'adult'.

CORRECT ANSWER
egg → caterpillar → pupa → butterfly
EDDIE SAYS
Have you read 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'? It's one of my most favourite books. It's also fabulous because it teaches you about the life cycle of a butterfly in a really cool way.
I wish I could eat all the food that the caterpillar does and then go to sleep for ages before waking up with a fabulous set of new wings!
P.S. Sometimes the pupa is also known as a chrysalis (pronounced cris-a-lis).
  • Question 10

Many of the life cycles we have looked at during this worksheet depend upon the seasons (no, not the football and cricket seasons!).

 

The seasons come about because the Earth orbits the sun. The Earth's axis is slightly tilted and this is extra important when we think about the differences between the seasons.  The EQUATOR divides the Earth into the two Hemispheres: NORTHERN HEMISPHERE (where we, in the UK, live) and the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE.

 

Tilt of the Earth

 

Can you match up these statements about the tilt of the Earth?

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

In our winter the Northern hemisp...
away from the sun.
In our summer the Northern Hemisp...
towards the sun.
EDDIE SAYS
In summer we get more light and thermal (heat) energy from the sun because we spend more of each 24 hours facing towards the Sun. That's because of the amazing tilt of the Earth: on our journey around the Sun, if our Northern Hemisphere is getting more sunshine per day, then we are moving through Spring and into Summer, As the journey continues and we gradually get less and less sunshine per day, we move into Autumn and then Winter. This is really hard to 'visualise', but there are some great videos of this online, so check one out!
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