Hidden Habitats | Series 6, Lesson #3
Key Topics: Habitat, Microhabitat, Species, Extinction, Endangered Species, Human Impact
Grade Levels: 3rd - 6th
Click here for Series #6 Description
Spanish Lesson Plan
Connect this lesson (3) to Food Chain Frenzy (2) by reminding students how all species are connected to one another as we pass around energy from the sun. Today we will explore how species also rely on habitat and the role that a healthy habitat plays in maintaining the food web. Close the Loop by discussing how watersheds are habitat to many animals and plants!
We will learn about what makes a suitable habitat? What kinds of living beings are typically found in our schoolyard? Students will get to explore their garden and think about the animals that live there.
Suggested Activities & Learning Objectives by Grade:
- 4: Habitat Discussion and Schoolyard Safari,:
- 4-LS1-1 What do plants and animals use to help them survive, grow, and reproduce?
- 5: Habitat Discussion and Schoolyard Safari:
- 5-ESS3-1 How can we gather information and determine the health of the ladybug population, and discuss ways to improve it using the data we’ve gathered?
Essential Question(s) that Connect CCCs and SEPs:
- Ask students to identify any patterns that appear from the three lists. How can this pattern support your explanation of what a habitat is? (Patterns; Construct Explanations and Design Solutions)
- How do habitats change at different scales? Can I look at habitats on a smaller scale? (Scale; Asking Questions and Defining Problems)
- How can we use the patterns of habitats to promote the populations of local endangered species? (Patterns; Asking Questions and Defining Problems)
Habitat- A place where an animal lives that provides food, water, and shelter.
Microhabitat- A small area which differs from the surrounding habitat
Species- A group of similar living organisms that are able to mate with one another
Extinction- A species that no longer exists
Endangered- When a species is at risk of becoming extinct
- Identify places in the garden where students can find habitats for different kinds of animals and bugs.
- Make sure you have clipboards and crayons ready to go for each student (If you don’t have clipboards in your garden, ask the teacher ahead of time if students can come prepared with something hard to write on.)
- Print out one Habitat Survey Sheet for each student
Who knows what a habitat is? Is our garden a habitat? For what sort of animals? What ways do these animals benefit the garden?
Have students take a few minutes to wander through the garden, find a spot to sit and observe what they see. When they return, ask them to think, pair, share what they saw. Even within our garden there are microhabitats that supply the unique needs of different animals. How does the habitat of a worm differ from the habitat of a bird? Microhabitats support a diversity of plant and animal populations! (Scale; Asking Questions and Defining Problems)
Take a moment to define the vocabulary terms and relate the terms to what they just experienced in their garden exploration. Every living thing needs a home. What makes a habitat home? On the board have three columns labeled Plants, Animals, & People. Have students share what each category NEEDS to survive. We will find that all groups need a resource base (their habitat) that provides food, water, safety and space to live and produce young. Just as we look for homes near jobs, schools, transportation, shops, parks and services, each animal needs a habitat where it can obtain the things it needs for survival. Plants also require certain soil types, light, nutrients, water and temperature ranges. One of the biggest reasons why so many animal species are endangered or going extinct is habitat loss. What types of things cause habitat loss? (farming, building, logging, and resource extraction).
Action: Identifying different habitats in the garden
- Review your Garden Agreements
- Discuss how they will be going on a garden safari, looking for and exploring the different microhabitats that our garden has to offer. (Different habitats can be as simple as a garden bed that gets more shade than other garden beds. Gardeners being mindful of this will plant things that like a cooler, shadier habitat!)
- Hand out the Habitat Survey Sheet and explain what students will be doing with the sheet (drawing habitats)
- Walk with students, and give a few examples of habitat. Example: The lavender plant offers at least two habitats. In the sun, we can often find bees looking for pollen in the lavender flowers. At the base of the plant, we can often find rollie-pollies and worms enjoying the shade and damp soil.
- Let students spend up to 15 minutes freely exploring. Walk around and help students to stay on task and continually give examples of habitats.
Ask students to think about other spaces on the school campus. Do they think the garden has more habitat for plants and animals than the playground? What about the lawns/fields?
What ways can we reduce habitat loss at our school?
- Release ladybugs into the garden you can find these at local nurseries or order online.
- Build bug shelters in the garden.
- Help students learn more about the animals they found in the schoolyard. For example, they could research different animals found and create a class chart showing a picture of each animal and information about what it needs to survive. They might also go on a schoolyard safari at different times of the year to see whether they notice any changes.
- Ask students what kinds of animals they would like to have (or have more of) on their school grounds (birds, bees, butterflies, squirrels, rabbits). Have them do some research to find out what could be done to the schoolyard habitat to attract those animals. (Provide bird feeders or baths, shelters for mammals, or plants as food for wildlife.) They can find information in the library or on the internet, or get advice from experts such as the state wildlife agency.
- Play Living Dangerously, an active game where students discover how the availability of habitat resources affects populations of living things.
- Students write and draw enticing travel ads for a garden animal’s habitat. Follow this activity guide: Homing In.
Gardens Change Lives! Page of