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Hidden Habitats | Series 6, Lesson #3

Hidden Habitats

Key Topics: Habitat, Microhabitat, Species, Extinction, Endangered Species, Human Impact

Grade Levels: 3rd - 6th

Click here for Series #6 Description

Science Framework

Spanish Lesson Plan

Lesson Bridge

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!

Lesson Overview:  

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:

Essential Question(s) that Connect CCCs and SEPs:


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



Activity Procedure:


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

  1. Review your Garden Agreements
  2. 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!)
  3. Hand out the Habitat Survey Sheet and explain what students will be doing with the sheet (drawing habitats)
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

Extension Activities:

Gardens Change Lives!                                                          Page  of