Habitat Sharing and Wrap-Up

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SWBAT describe key ideas and details from information presented.

Big Idea

We can learn so much from our experiences and from others, too!

Teacher Notes

Activity Description

The children will share their dioramas made in a previous lesson.  After sharing the children will evaluate the presentations to find out what they have learned and then evaluate their own performance as to what they would improve. (REWORD)

NGSS/Common Core Connections

In this lesson, the students will be sharing their dioramas (which is a form of a model), which will help them work towards the goal of comparing the plants and animals of different habitats.  They are looking for patterns in the natural world since when the children created their dioramas they were working off of animal classification charts.  The children will be working on describing key ideas or details from information presented.



Habitat Wrap-Up Recording page -- 1 per student


5 minutes

Engage?  Everything about this project is engaging.  It's kind of like asking a kid if he wants some ice cream.  They're already engaged, all I have to do is corral their excitement and channel it in the proper manner.  

You have all done a wonderful job on your habitats.  I am so very proud of all of you.  How are you feeling?  Are you proud of what you have accomplished?

We are now about to enter the most exciting part of this challenge--sharing it with others.  Remember how we talked before about how scientist share their findings or their ideas?  Think back to Mad Margaret and how Jasper shared his findings (see lesson link).  Or how scientists, like Mary Blair,  share their ideas with the world (see lesson link).

I love having the children connect their past learning to today's learning.  It helps them to make the connections and then amplifies their learning.

As a person is sharing you will need to be a good listener.  Look up at our anchor chart and silently read what good listeners do.  Think to yourself how you are going to accomplish that task.  

But today I am going to ask you to step it up a notch.  You also are going to have to write about what you have learned about other people's presentations.  So you have to be a great listener so you can remember information that your classmates have presented.  You will have to write down what you liked about someone's presentation and also what you learned about dependency.  

Since one of the speaking/listening standards is to describe ideas or details from information presented, I want them to know of their expectations up front so they can be more successful.

Discussing Models and Expectations

10 minutes

For the next part the children come up and share their model.  They are so proud that they are just beaming!  So sweet!

Remember when we first were making a habitat and we discussed what a model was?  Well, today you are going to be sharing your model of a habitat with the class.  

Your habitat model represents real life. So when you come up and explain about your habitat, I want you to tell me about what each thing represents.  So rather than telling us that you made a bird out of a feather and a pipe cleaner tell us about the bird that it represents. For example you could say that this is a cardinal who has made his nest in the pine tree.  I want to know all about your habitat itself.  I also want to know about how your model shows dependency.   

I have learned from previous experiences, to make sure that the children understand that I don't want to know the details of how they made their habitats, but I want them to focus on the real reason we created them.  We were trying to make a model of things in the real world, so that is exactly what I want each of them to explain.  

So here is the breakdown of what we want to know--

  • Tell us the type of habitat that you made.
  • Tell us the names of the plants and animals that are in your habitat.
  • In what ways are plants and animals depending on each other?

Giving them the bottom line of what they need to do helps obtain their objective.  It also clarifies the idea that we want to know about the model, not insignificant details.  In addition, having the children listen to others telling about each of the habitats helps deepen the understanding of each of the habitats. 


40 minutes

Now it is time to share their fabulous habitats.  Each person comes up to the front and explains all about it while holding their model habitat.  When they are finished, the audience can ask three questions.  Questions cannot be "What is that animal?" since the presenter has already explained the animals. I try to encourage great thinking questions since that is part of the standard.

Here are some great questions that the children came up with all by themselves:

    • What inspired you to do the ocean?
    • Why did you pick the jungle?
    • Why did you put lots of animals that are connected to the tree--like the macaw, the monkey, the toucan?
    • What is your favorite animal?
    • What are you the most proud of?


15 minutes

After everyone has presented, I have the children fill out a Habitat Wrap-Up recording page.  I didn't want them to fill it out as a speaker is presenting since they would not be listening well.

This recording page helps them to reflect on their learning plus it also adds an element of evaluation.  The children are excited to fill out the sheet since they get to write about one of their classmate's projects.  As they are working I walk around making sure everyone understands the task.  I stop and talk to the children about what they had written down.  

This child did a great job explaining how another child showed interdependency in his model. This girl had a bit of trouble with the idea of a habitat being a model, but worked through it beautifully.

When they are done, we have a short discussion. I ask the following questions:

  • What are some of the most interesting things that you learned from someone else?
  • Did you learn anything about the design process?
  • Who would like to share what they would do differently next time?

 I want them to begin to learn how to evaluate themselves and others.  I feel we can learn so much from the mistakes that we have made!


To see if the children understood the main ideas on their papers, I checked them for certain criteria.  In the first section, "Listening to Others," I was looking to see if they were able to tell about someone else's project and explain why they liked it.  This starts them on the path of learning to evaluate their work and the work of others.  

For the part on the right of the recording page, I was looking to see if they could explain dependency of plants and animals.  This is one of the main goals from the previous NGSS aligned unit on pollination.  This helps the children connect ideas from past learning.  Most of my class completed this part effectively, which I was very pleased with.

Then at the bottom of the page, I wanted them to critique what they had done and then see if they could reflect and think about what they might do differently next time to make improvements.  I also wanted to see if they learned something about the whole design process.  

Here is an example of a child who realized that time is crucial when creating.  One girl had some pieces that fell off of her model habitat.  I love that her learning reflected that she would change things to make them more stable (see sample).  This child completed the top portion correctly, but at the bottom, she did not connect her learning to the design process itself.  On this boy's paper you can see how he used part of the engineering design chant that we learned in this lesson.