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Animal Habitats

Compiled By: shazam

Here are some ideas for teaching animal habitats.

Habitat activity
Posted by: New Teacher

We just finished habitats a week ago. You could have the kids make a habitat for crickets. Tell them to put leaves, twigs, grass, etc in a shoe box or other covered box. Add crickets, water, and food. Crickets eat corn meal, potatoes, apples, etc. Make sure to tell them to put holes in the top of the box. If all of your students bring a cricket habitat, be ready for a very noisy classroom! The crickets nearly drove the other second grade teacher at our school crazy!

habitat theme
Posted by: Sarah

What grade do you teach?

I have done a habitat theme before.

The quote was, "Food, water, shelter, space, a habitat is a wonderful place!"

I had different parts of the room decorated like different habitats. Your terrarium could be part of a desert or pond ecosystem. Good luck.

penguin activities--snacks and other
Posted by: Jessica

My first grade class just finished a penguin unit. We made a big deal about the globe, equator, and how penguins can live in lots of places under the equator in the southern hemisphere.
A good question was always "Why would a penguin and polar bear never meet, except for in a zoo?"
(Polar bears only live in northern hemisphere.
It was a great way to get some geography in.

There are at least 4 Tacky the Penguin books. They are all great!!

Also, look for the book "Antarctic Antics."
It is a collection of poems about the life of a penguin, from the egg to eating, to predators, and living in the Antarctic. The kids and I loved it!! I also tracked down a video of the book at the local library. This is a "must" for your unit!

Another fun activity was the penguin habitat snack.
We just started a big unit on animals and habitat is an important concept.
The snack is made in a clear plastic disposable cup. Use bright-blue "kool-aid" (I got it already made in a jug." Also, use little fruit snack fish. (I could only find sharks, but I explained it to my kids.) Then we used little and big marshmallows for the icebergs/snow/and/or eggs.
The kids loved making this! They didn't all eat it, but it was fun.

At the end of our unit, we also decided to adopt a penguin from our local zoo. We adopted a Humboldt penguin, a penguin on the endangered species list. I asked each child to bring in 1 dollar. This is another way to culminate the unit. We spent a few weeks on our unit and my kids really adored penguins.

Posted by: teach

I've done a project with fourth graders where we take carrots , potatoes, and rocks and paint them to create animals. We add body parts using straws, clay, pipe cleaners, etc. Before making the animals,I take the students outside and have them choose an area for their animal's habitat. Then they design their animal based on the habitat. After all the animals are made, they put their animal in it's habitat and the other students try to find it. (It once took us forever to find a walkinig stick on a tree)
Actually, I guess this is more a lesson on camouflage, but perhaps you could get some idea from it

Posted by: first teacher

We just finished a desert unit. Here are some of the things I used. Books: Alejandro's Gift, Way Out In The Desert, The Desert Giant, Welcome To The Sea Of Sand, The Desert Alphabet Book, and Lost. We did a KWL chart--the favorite L was the arctic is a desert as a desert receives no more than 1o inches of rainfall or snowfall each year. We studied the adaptations of desert animals, focused on /st/ (goes with the book Lost), made desert collages out of torn paper, drew desert scenes on sandpaper, wrote about desert animals and published ina pop-up book format, made a class alphabet book. We also looked to find deserts on a map of the world and the Unted States. In the past we have written acrostic poems. We have also written math story problems about the desert. Hope this helps.

Desert at Night
Posted by: Lori

I have done habitats several years in a row. The kids think it's cool that the animals only come out at night. I have done an activity where the students draw the desert at night in wax crayon. I always had them make a moon, stars, at least 3 animals, 2 cacti and of course sand. Then I watered down some black tempera paint and they brush it over the picture. The paint will not stick to the wax crayon but only to the paper. It looks cool. Problem is that the paper sometimes curls up because of the water but I usually laminate the pictures because it makes the crayon colours "pop" anyways. Hope that all makes sense.

Animal Habitats
Posted by: Lori 2

Here are some that I have used in the past to teach habitats to young students some are beginning readers others would be more appropriate as read alouds. If you need any specific areas or regions, let me know -- this isn't my complete list just what I had here at home. Hope it helps. Lori

Liz Looks for a Home by Tracey West -- a Magic Tree House Book (video available)

The Magic School Bus Hops Home -- A Book about Animal Habitats by Patricia Relf (video Available)

A Walk ______ series by Caroline Arnold
-- A Walk in the Desert
-- A Walk by the Seashore
-- A Walk in the Woods
-- A Walk up the Mountain

Lindsay Barrett George has a neat series --
In the Woods: Who's Been Here?
In the Snow: Who's Been Here?
Around the Pond: Who's Been Here?
Around the World: Who's Been Here?

Life in the Rainforests: Animal, People, Plants by Lucy Baker
Life in the Deserts
Life in the Mountains
Life in the Oceans
Life in the Islands
Life in the Polar Lands

How to Be a Nature Detective by Millicent Selsam

Bringing Back the Animals by Teresa Kennedy

Where Once There Was a Wood by Denise Fleming

Catus Hotel by Brenda Z. Guiberson -- makes a nice story about the saguaro catus and how it is home to many desert animals.

Desert by Ron Hirschi
Forest by Ron Hirschi
Mountain by Roh Hirschi

At Home in the Tide Pool by Alexandra Wright

The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole

The Magic School Bus Takes a Dive -- A Book About Coral Reefs by Nancy White

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

Welcome to the Green House by Jane Yolen

Jaguar in the Rain Forest by Joanne Ryder

Under the Ground by Henry Pluckrose

The Snow Leopard by Theeresa Radcliffe

Chipmunk Song by Joanne Ryder

White Bear, Ice Bear bny Joanne Ryder

Imagine Your are a Tiger by Karen Wallace

All Eyes on the Pond by Michael J. Rosen

Pond Year by Kathryn Lasky

A Salamander's Life by John Himmelman

The Salamander Room by ???

Humphrey the Lost Whale by Wendy Tokuda

Polar Animals
Posted by: Michele

We spent a week on introductions to the arctic, tundra, etc. then we will spend a week discussing land animals (caribou, musk ox, arctic fox), a week on water animals (beluga whales, killer whales etc), and a week on animals that are both land/water animals (polar bears, seals, walrus etc.). Each week we are having some type of science experiment also (blubber, white fur vs. black fur...which keeps you warmer etc.) This is just an over view of my plans. Hope they help.

rain forest
Posted by: Lynne

A teacher I know in our city who teaches third grade gifted turned her classroom into a rain forest. The children twisted paper into liana vines, built paper trees, hung things from the ceiling and walls, etc. The fact that she also has a 5 ft. python in there too(shudder!!) probably didn't hurt the atmosphere. All of the things that were created were meticulously researched and placed in their proper part of the forest. They loved it! The last time I taught about the RF we created a mural in the hall. We used torn tissue paper and glue to create the background , then added layers with the trees, animals, insects, etc. I used as much texture as possible(such as feathers, cut and twisted paper, etc.) Hope this helps!

writing ideas
Posted by: Julianne

Make a book called "Animal Homes". At the top of each page have students create a picture of an animal home you are studying. At the bottom of the page they write about the home. An example would be using brown construction paper to create a bear's den. Leave a little flap unglued and draw the bear under there. Then have students write about how bears find or make a comfortable place to spend the winter.

Use interactive writing with your group to create room posters about different habitats. Interactive writing is a technique where the whole group helps to compose a written piece. The teacher shares the pen with the students, having each of them contribute a word or a few letters to the chart. Have students create and cut out artwork to decorate the finished poster.

Posted by: Lisa

Divide the kids into groups assigning each group a habitat to illustrate in a mural. A step further is to add animals or homes common to that habitat. Could go into animal adaptations to their habitats.
Another idea is to pass out animal picture cards and have kids go to the picture or title of their habitat.

What about an Ant Farm?
Posted by: Sharon D. W-L

I have used an Ant Farm in the past as a class pet for my first graders. They are very co-operative creatures and when you get them via the mail they only send you the worker ants. :) No queen or soldier ants are allowed to be sent. Feed them and add water to their "nest" once or twice a week and that is basically it. I often kept them covered up as I found they did more digging this way - in the dark. Then I would have various times when small groups could go and take the box off and observe the ant farm with all their tunnels. I do prefer the ant farms that are thin and tall and not the hill like ones out there but either would serve the purpose. :)

I had planned to do one this year as well but wanted to wait until March or April to order them via the mail as it gets very cold here. I might order them right away and have them come in September but will have to bring them straight home at Christmas and get them into a warm house. Cold is not good for them although I have never needed heat lamps or anything like that, just a warm room temperature and they are good to go.

I had tried last year to order ladybugs but was told that they are a pest and could not order them and bring them into Canada. The K teachers do butterflies and then let them go and I was hoping to do the something similar in May or June. I'll have to look and see what is available but will probably just stick with ants.


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nocturnal animals
Posted by: april

I work with younger children but I have fun reading Jim Arnosky's books. He does pond animals and the pictures are real to life and very useful.
I also like to use coffee can stories with my children . If you would like to get a copy email me and I can send with the instructions for usage. You can also create a pond scene which you turn your room dark and listen to tapes of animal sounds and have them guess. Create a campfire ring (Round circle with foam flames) and Then have a pretend campfire to discuss the animals . A project they could do is a poster on one animal and give pictures and information about that animal.

ecosystem projects
Posted by: Greg Drotar

Hello Wes

I teach an EMR class at a Middle School. Something that we did with the students they really enjoyed on Eosystems was to present the information in a powerpoint.
We showed this on a TV screen via computer connection. The students took guided notes from the powerpoint presentation.

As the students took notes they would then write down the name of plants and animals they would see in the particular ecosystem. After seeing the animals they would then get a picture sheet of animals cut and paste and name the animals that were in the ecosystem to their particular ecosystem page. (On the internet their is a particularly decent site with very good animal pictures you can cut and paste to a word document then later copy)
The sky really is the limit on this though. Your students could make a model of an animal from an ecosystem out of clay. Depending on ability level they could diagram inside parts or outside parts. They could do reports on an ecosystem with picture illustrations. You could do dioramas of the ecosystem; shaping, painting and coloring different landforms in the ecosystem. The students could make animals or even get little plastic farm animals and glue them into the diorama. How do people fit in? Maybe they put a mini house on the diorama.
Hope this helps. Good luck.

fish in a jar
Posted by: Sarah

Here's a lesson idea: make "ecosystems in a jar" with fresh water. In the last issue of our provincial science teachers' magazine, there is an idea for the following project: "Can I raise small fish in a closed system in a pickle jar?" It's aimed at grade 4. The students each create an ecosystem with a guppy and plants and observe it for 28 days. I have grade 4 next year and am planning to try it. I think there will be some good writing we can do related to this activity as well.

Other ideas
- take a trip to a conservation area or park in the fall and observe a freshwater pond ecosystem
- have a guest speaker from a water treatment plant or take a tour

It would also be fun to graph how much of the world's water is fresh water or how much drinking water each continent has.

Sounds like a fun unit!