Keywords: species, habitat, shelter, food, space, home range, territory; Lesson Plan Grade Level: second grade; Total Time Required for Lesson: 90 minutes; Setting: classroom and playground

Goals for Lesson

  • Students will develop an awareness of what is required for survival.
  • Students will become aware of different habitats.

Materials Needed

  • twigs
  • clay
  • dirt
  • leaves
  • grass clippings
  • four thin sheets of plywood 12 inches x 12 inches
  • science journals,
  • pencils
  • five cards with a picture of different mammals on each
  • job cards
  • recorders ledger

State Standard Addressed: E & E Standards: Ecosystem and Their Interactions (4.6)

Teaching Model: Hands-On

Subjects Covered: social studies & science

Topic Covered: mammal habitat


Write vocabulary words on board and review each one. Ask students if they know the definition. If they answer, correctly write it on board; if not, give the definition and write it on board. Leave on the board because you will be using them later in the Habitat Book the students will be constructing. (10 minutes)


Tell the students that you are going to play a game using their vocabulary words. Divide students into two groups. Then give instructions for the game.


The students will turn away from each other and each student will choose what they want to be shelter, food, or water. For shelter the students will put their hands over their heads so they look like a house, for food the students will put their hands on their stomachs, and for water they students will put their hands over their mouth. They will then turn around the students on the right will select a student on the left who is making the same sign. Each student on the right may only select one student, if there are not any students on the left to match then the student who does not have a partner will sit out on the side. Explain to the students that where was not enough food, water, or shelter for them to survive. Repeat this until there are not any students remaining. (15 minutes)

Review of Prior Learning

Review with class the vocabulary from board and have them write vocabulary in journals. Review jobs of each in the group (the students are familiar with these because they have doing them in other group activities). The Recorder will fill in the Recorders Ledger, Collector will collect materials needed, Builder will do the actual construction of the habitat (others may help by telling the builder what to do only), and Janitor/Speaker clean up any messes made during the activity and put away all materials at the end of the activity and share the project information with the class. (10 minutes)

Learning Activity

  1. Divide students into five groups of four.
  2. Give each group a mammal card.
  3. Tell the students that they are to pretend that they are the mammal on their card and they are going to build their habitat using the materials on the science table.
  4. Show the students the items on the table grass clippings, clay to make caves, twigs for trees or dens, etc.
  5. Give each group a 12 inch x 12 inch piece of thin plywood and tell them that this is what they are to use as the base of their project.
  6. Give each group the four jobs cards: Recorder, Collector, Builder, Janitor/Speaker
  7. Give students 5 minutes to decide what type of habitat they would live in.
  8. The Recorder will begin filling in the ledger.
  9. The Collector will get what the group decided they need to build there habitat.
  10. The Builder will then make their groups mammals habitat.
  11. The other group members will monitor the Builder so they are sure that (s)he is doing what the group decided.
  12. When they are done the Janitor will clean up there are and put their ledger and journal on the windowsill.
  13. Allow 40 minutes for actual construction of the habitats.
  14. Announce after 40 minutes that it is time to clean up and they have 5 minutes to do this.


Tell the students that they will share their ledger and project with the class tomorrow.


Their habitat structure is correctly constructed and the ledger is filled in completely and accurately.


DeLong, Colleen A., and Margaret Brittingham (1997). Pennsylvania Wildlife No. 1: Wildlife-Habitat Relationships . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Kurt Muston, Naturalist @ Black Moshannon State Park, Black Moshannon, Pennsylvania


Kimberly McDowel, second grade teacher, Bald Eagle Area School District