Human Habitats

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SWBAT explain why human habitats are different depending on where you live by considering the impact of climate.

Big Idea

This lesson explores how environment influences on human habitats.


15 minutes

I begin this lesson with an exploration because all kids have some experience with human habitats.

I call on one table at a time to come sit on the floor. I tell them that today we will be learning about human habitats. I ask the kids, "Where do humans live?" I ask them this to get them thinking about different places people live. Many of them only have experience with their own families and homes.

I explain the task to them. It sounds something like this:

  • I am going to place an envelope of pictures on your table
  • You will work as a team to identify what each object is made out of
  • You will also talk about where you think you might find places like this
  • You will have 7 minutes to work with the pictures
  • When the timer goes off, the table leaders will put the pictures back in the envelope and bring them to me
  • I will cal one table at a time to come back to the floor so we can talk about what we notice in the pictures

I call one team at a time to go sit at the tables. I tell them that the quietest table will get their envelope first. I drop the envelopes at the tables and set the time for 7 minutes.


10 minutes

Once we are finished with the picture observations and the materials identification as teams, we meet back on the floor to discuss what we saw.

I ask the kids to come and sit on the floor one table at a time. I take a set of picture cards and hold one at a time up for all to see. I ask the kids to turn to their floor partner and tell them the materials that they see used in each structure.

I then ask them to tell their partner where in the world they think each structure might be located. I share the real details as we go. For example, there is a picture of a long house located in the desert. I explain to them that rock houses are used by some Native American tribes and are located in the northeastern part of the United States. I use a U.S. map to show them where this is located compared to where we are. I do this for each of the six pictures in the set.


10 minutes

The explaining in this lesson is done through a non-fiction book titled, Homes and Houses written by Ann Morris.

The kids remain on the floor as we read through the text. For each page, we look at the picture, try to estimate what the houses are made of and where they are located. We then explore a website called Shelters Around the World on the ActivBoard. If you don't have a SmartBoard or an ActivBoard, you can just use the pictures in the book as they are sufficient to get the point across.

Once we are finished with the pictures in the book, I ask for volunteers to share what materials they remember being used to create houses. I then ask them to tell us where they think the materials may have come from, e.g. a desert, forest, savannah, etc. I record their ideas in the form of a list on chart paper.

After we have exhausted ideas, I save the poster chart paper for use in our closure for this lesson and for our Earth Day lesson.


10 minutes

The evaluation for this lesson is for the kids to identify things that humans use to create their habitats and how the use of those products impact other animals' habitats. The two goals here are to one, identify the objects used and two, to indicate how we can use our resources more wisely.


The kids remain seated on the floor. I show them the materials they will be using for the task and demonstrate the expectations. I use the actual materials that they will be given because young children are literal and using the same materials that they are going to use makes it authentic for them.

I use my science journal to demonstrate. I hold up the cut and paste page that they will be using. I demonstrate how they will look for materials that humans use to create their habitats. I put an X on the pictures of things that humans do not use to make habitats. I cut out and paste onto my journal page the pictures without an X on them. Once I glue them all on to my journal page, I write an idea of how humans can improve the use of resources used to build our habitats such as recycling specific objects or reusing materials.


  • You can help each other and ask each other questions, but everyone will do their own work
  • Everyone will cut and paste materials humans use in their habitats and glue them onto their journal page
  • Everyone will write about how we can use resources so that animal habitats are not so greatly impacted
  • We will meet back on the floor to share our ideas with our partners and the class if our stick is picked
  • If you finish before the rest of the class, raise your hand and I will check your work. If your work is done completely and well, you may color the pictures of the objects you glued onto your journal page

Once I have gone over the demonstration and expectations, I call one team at a time to go sit at their tables.

I call the table leaders up to get a picture sheet for each student at their table. The leaders deliver the pages to each student and they are asked to get to work.

I roam the room to answer questions and assist as needed. I also ask kids random questions as I roam such as, "Why would it be important for humans to reuse materials rather than throw it away and get more?" I prefer to ask how, why and can questions that require explanations. These types of questions require in-depth answers rather than yes and no, which requires them to synthesize information in order to completely answer.


Once everyone is finished with their task, I call the kids to the carpet one table at a time and have them bring their science journals open to the work page with them. They first share their work with their floor partner. They check to see if they cut and pasted the same material pictures and then share their ideas on how to not negatively impact animal habitats as we create our own habitats.

It then pick four name sticks from the name stick can. The four chosen sit one at a time in the teacher chair and share with the class what them and their partner talked about during the sharing time. I record their recycle/reuse ideas on the materials/location chart paper as they share. We will use it in a future lesson to be taught on Earth Day.



5 minutes

The extension for this lesson is designed to lead my class to the next science unit about weather.

Since the kids have experienced a variety of human housing in this lesson, I ask them the question, "How do you think weather might decide how your house is made?"

I ask the kids to think silently to themselves for a timed 45 seconds. I then have them turn to their floor partner and share their ideas. I set the timer for 30 seconds two times so each person gets equal time to talk.

I as for volunteers to share what they talked about with their partner as I record the ideas on a sheet of chart paper. I keep the chart paper for use during our weather unit so we can examine how weather impacts how we live.