In the previous lesson, students created imaginary animals based on the mouths and appendages given to them. They drew the animal and a background to show where the animal might live and what it might eat. Today they will take this one step further by deciding which animals might live in the same habitats, and how they might interact.
The purpose of the lesson is to help students understand that every habitat contains a diversity of life and that this diversity is important to the survival of each animal and plant within that habitat.
We begin today by reading the I Can statement together. "I can find more than one plant or animal in one habitat." I tell students that today we will think more about what it means to have several animals or plants in a single habitat and why that might be important.
The students have the pictures of their animals. On the back they have glued the information about what their animal eats, where it lives and how it survives. I ask students to bring those pictures to the rug and to set them on the floor in front of them facing the center of the circle so everyone can see them.
Next I tell students, "you will have a chance to move your own picture next to a picture of an animal that you think might belong in your habitat. Once a picture is placed near yours, if you choose to move your picture, you will need to move both pictures together. I want you to tell us why you have decided to move your picture to another picture."Choosing Animals for Our Habitats
I give each student turn. They move their picture and tell us why they are moving it. I am hoping here for students to use some of the things they know about habitats to explain their reasoning. I use this part of the lesson to assess student understanding of what makes up a habitat. I ask questions to support students who may be unable to explain why they moved their picture such as, "does the animal you moved next to look like it might eat the same thing as your animal? Do you see the same kinds of things in the background? Do you think your animal might eat this other animal?"
Once all pictures are moved I say to students, "today you will work in groups the way your pictures are stacked. You will create a mural of your habitat by placing your animal pictures on the mural and then using construction paper, crayon and marker, complete the background of your habitat. Your mural should show how all of the animals that are grouped together have a place to live, and food in your habitat. If one animal lives in water and another in a den, then both of those should be a part of your mural."
I know that students already have mini drawings of their habitats in the background of their animals, but this habitat mural should be more extensive and allow for different animals to live there. I am hoping students will have a better understanding of the diversity that is found within a single habitat.
I give each group about 30 minutes to complete their mural. I allow more time as needed to make sure that the murals are complete. During this time I circulate around the room to view student work, help students who are struggling, and to hear student thinking about what they are creating.
Once the murals are completed I ask students to sit around the mural they have created. I hand each student a piece of yellow yarn. I say, "I want you to tape one end of the yarn to your own animal and the other end to one thing that it eats that is on your mural. It might be someone else's animal, or a plant that you have drawn." I give students a few minutes to tape their strings to their murals.
I ask, "what do you notice about the strings and how they are connected?" I want students to realize that several animals in the habitat may eat the same thing, that bigger animals are eating smaller animals, and that they types of mouths, claws and body may determine what an animal eats. I let students share their ideas.
After students have shared, I hang each mural up so that everyone can see them and I ask all students to return to their seats.
My goal for this lesson was to give students an opportunity to realize that habitats are filled with diversity. There are different types of animals and plants, as well as landforms that make up a single habitat. To assess student understanding of this I ask them to take out their science journals and respond to the prompt that I write on the board.
It reads: I know that it is important for different animals to live in the same habitat because...
I give students a few minutes to write their response in their science journals. We then end by reading our I Can statement and giving a thumbs up vote to tell how we did. We read together, "I can find more than one plant or animal in one habitat."