At the start of today's lesson we first review the basics of what animals need to survive. I have them work with a partner to write down the basic needs of animals. I walk around and monitor their discussions and make note of any egregious misconceptions that need to be cleared up before we move forward. They share out and I have a student record write up these basic needs on a chart paper: food, water, shelter, air/appropriate climate is what my class agreed upon. This gives them another focus point as they fill out their organizers. All of this information should be included within the categories they research. These are all the conditions that would need to be accurately replicated in order for animals to survive and thrive in captivity. Again, the scenario they are working with is a case of last-resort: if an endangered species absolutely had to be relocated from its native environment, would criteria would need to be met in order for this animal to do as well as possible in captivity?
Here is an example of a high-quality habitat designed for a injured black bear cub that could not be released back into the wild. This video can be used to stimulate discussion about what can be found in a quality animal habitat.
Students now work independently, with a partner, or in a small group to generate a list of more specific details about how to meet animal needs. Here are the key ideas we came up with together as a class. When a student veered off on a tangent, I recorded their response, but didn't include it on the chart paper.