This series of activities can be done year round. Students are divided into four groups. Time frame for this series is approximately 2 hours.

Conceptual Framework: Basic needs of living things, animal habitats

Activity One: Shrinking Habitat
Activity Two: Habitat Rummy
Activity Three: Forest Foray
Activity Four: Trees as Habitats

Shrinking Habitat

  1. Docent will divide students into 4 groups: vegetation, herbivores, carnivores, and land developers.
  2. Give each herbivore representations of food, water, shelter, and vegetation (which is other students)
    and have them arrange their habitat as they wish.
  3. Provide each carnivore with representations of shelter, space, food, and water and have them move into the habitat and arrange it as they wish keeping their resources close.
  4. Have the developers move in and remove trees, shelter, or water in order to construct their new development.
  5. Discuss what happened as each new group arranged the habitat the way they wanted. What were the consequences? Did animals die because of any action? Could the developers have made other choices that would have spared resources?

Habitat Rummy

  1. Docent will explain what each animal needs and how to play the game.
  2. Docent will divide group into smaller groups of 2 or 3.
  3. Play by dealing 5 cards to each player and rotating around the circle discarding unwanted cards and selecting new ones from the deck, to try to complete all habitat requirements for each animal.
  4. Students will play several rounds.
  5. Then docent and students will discuss the habitat needs of all animals.

Forest Foray

  1. Docent will divide students into pairs and give each pair a piece of yarn and cards that tell what they should look for.
  2. Students will use yarn to carefully pull back the litter on the forest floor to investigate the characteristics of the forest floor as well as who lives there.
  3. Students will answer the questions on their cards including: What might be a home for an animal? Which spots get the most and least sunlight? Which spots are the wettest and driest? What evidence is there of insects? Is there anything that doesn’t belong in the forest?
  4. Docent will lead group discussion for students to compare their findings.

Trees as Habitats

  1. Docent will divide students into small groups of 2 or 3 and pass out a hand lens, paper, and pencil to each group.
  2. Students will be instructed to look at surrounding trees for signs of animal life. (chewed leaves, tunnels, holes, egg cases, webs, galls, etc.)
  3. Students will observe and record their findings-either by writing or illustrating.
  4. Docent will prompt students to look for bird nests, chewed leaves, any animals climbing or flying around the tree, or any other plants growing on the tree.
  5. Docent will inquire about what students found and show signs of life to the entire group.