Danielle Cocozza Group 1a
subject and grade level that this unit aims for.
Science - Habitats; Grade One
2: Information Systems
will access, generate, process and transfer information using appropriate
3: Mathematics - Modeling/Multiple Representation
use mathematical modeling/multiple representation to provide a means of
presenting and communicating mathematical information.
will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles and theories
pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize
the historical development of ideas in science.
Standard 6: Common Themes: Models
7: Interdisciplinary Problem Solving
will use software to display and communicate information in different
forms using text, pictures and sound.
will use information technology to retrieve and communicate information,
and as a tool to enhance learning.
will analyze real word data in a graph.
will use mathematical modeling/multiple representation to provide
a means of presenting and communicating mathematical information.
will understand and communicate how animals depend upon each other
and their physical environment.
systems thinking, students will build a model to recognize that commonalities
will demonstrate skills and strategies for interdisciplinary problem
solving by working together effectively to realize their ideas and
present their results.
will independently open and operate a software program in order to
access information on various habitats.
will analyze a teacher-made graph to determine that populations of
habitats change according to physical, environmental factors.
will accurately describe how animals depend upon each other and their
physical, non-living environment.
will use a model to represent various aspects of habitats in the real
as a group, will brainstorm, plan and stay on task as they construct
a model and communicate the results.
standards or outcomes
about habitats can be obtained through use of computer technology.
habitats have different characteristics.
are composed of important components: food and water, shelter, and
- All components
of a habitat need to occur in order for an animal to exist there.
to a habitat can endanger the existence of animals.
of the "real" world can be shared with the use of models.
of student to access habitat information upon request, using the program
Eyewitness Encyclopedia of Nature.
- Oral descriptions
of various habitats.
of habitat pie graph worksheet (attached).
of "Animal Needs" worksheet (attached).
to describe effects of changes in habitat upon animals.
diorama of chosen animal habitat.
a two-week period, the following activities may be used to familiarize
first grade students with the concept of habitats. The unit begins with
a read-aloud which draws upon the children's prior knowledge about homes.
Daily discussions are suggested as a way of connecting the new information
with any other information the students may have. You may want to concentrate
upon habitats with which the students are familiar - i.e. habitats they
see or live near.
of the ideas and activities in this unit were taken from:
K- 1 2 Activity Guide
5430 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 230
Bethesda, Maryland 20814-2142
Time: 20 - 30 Minutes
Materials: Percy and the Five Houses by Else Holmelund Minarik
(Greenwillow Books, New York, 1989)
begin the unit on animal habitats, read to the students the book Percy
and the Five Houses. In the story, Percy (a beaver) is enticed by
a wily fox into buying various new homes, none of which are suited to
his particular needs. Ultimately, Percy realizes his dam is the best home
class should discuss reasons why Percy discovers this home is good for
him, and then construct an experience chart outlining what they know about
animal homes. This is a valuable assessment tool for the teacher, as it
lends the opportunity to correct any misconceptions the student hold,
as well as providing a springboard for the next activity.
Lesson Two Arrangements and Habitats
Time: Two Days, 20 -30 minutes each day
Materials: Drawing materials (paper and crayons)
the conclusion of this activity, students should understand that, while
each animal requires food, water, shelter and space to survive, each species
must have these available in a suitable arrangement.
Procedure (Day Two):
the students to dray a picture of where they live. They should include
in these pictures the things they need to live where they do; i.e. a place
to cook and keep food, a place to sleep, the neighborhood where they obtain
the drawings are finished, have the students share what they drew. Underscore
the importance of the kitchen (as a place to eat), and the bedroom (as
the place to sleep). Ask the questions:
do you do if there is no food left in your house?"
"Where do you go if it is rainy or cold outside?"
"Where does your family go to get things they need?"
answers to these questions should allow you to introduce the components
of a habitat: food and water, shelter and space. Display the drawings
for students to refer to during the next day's activities.
the drawings, review with students the components of a habitat. Be sure
to clarify that, to an animal, space is similar to a person's neighborhood.
Have children close their eyes and imagine: a bird's home, a polar bear's
home, a lizard's home. Ask a student to describe each of those homes aloud.
Summarize the discussion by emphasizing that, although the homes are different,
every animal needs its own home.
Three Medial Assessment, Preview of Software
Time: 20 minutes, 15-20 minutes
Materials: Habitat Pie Graph Worksheet (attached), software program entitled
"Eyewitness Encyclopedia of Nature"
In addition, you may allot extra time to use the Animal Needs Worksheet
that students will choose an animal, and use the pie graph worksheet to
explain the components of that animal's habitat. Distribute the worksheets
and have students choose and then write the name of their animal in the
space provided at the bottom of the sheet. Encourage the students to fill
in the necessary information by drawing and labeling each section accordingly.
The resulting graphs should communicate: one-third food and water; one-third
shelter; one-third space. If the teacher so chooses, a graph representing
fourths may be used instead.
the class is finished, the worksheets should be collected for teacher
the children to the technology center, and preview with them the program
"Eyewitness Encyclopedia of Nature". In this program, there
is a section specifically allotted to habitats. Demonstrate to the students
how to enter the program, and gain access to the habitats they choose
to investigate (this is an opportunity to point out habitats in specific
geographic locations, perhaps for use in a social studies unit). Students
will see how to open and close applications within the program to gather
information about specific habitats.
Four Software Investigation
Time: 30-45 minutes
Materials: Multiple Computers with Software Program "Eyewitness Encyclopedia
students to explore various habitats through use of the computer program.
Students should use this time to discover characteristics of different
habitats ( our three were desert, arctic, and forest), i.e. the desert
is hot and sandy, with very little rain. Students should be encouraged,
though, to "visit" as many habitats as they like.
should be able to independently access the program, as well as the information
they are seeking.
Lesson Five Do changes to a habitat affect the animals living there?
Time: Three days, time varies from 20 to 40 minutes
Materials Day Six - large outdoor space (or gym), graph paper
Seven - graph made from day six, preferably transferred to chart paper
Day Eight - feathers, cooking oil, water, container
By the end of these three activities, students should understand that
both physical and nonphysical changes to a habitat affect the animals
which live there.
This activity should take 30-40 minutes, outdoors or in a large indoor
Begin by reviewing the components of a habitat. Tell the students they
are going to be participating in an activity which will show how important
the food and water, and shelter facets of a habitat are to an animal.
Emphasize the importance of a suitable arrangement of the components in
students count off in fours. All the ones go to one area; all twos, threes
and fours go together to another area. Mark two parallel lines about ten
yards apart. The ones line up behind one line; the rest of the students
line up behind the other line.
ones become "deer". All deer need a good habitat in order to
survive. Ask the students what the essential components of a habitat are
again: food and water, shelter and space in a suitable arrangement. For
the purposes of this activity, we assume the "deer" have enough
space in which to live. The deer need to find food, water and shelter
in order to survive. When a deer is looking for food, it should clamp
its hands over its stomach. When it is looking for water, it puts its
hands over its mouth. When it is looking for shelter, it holds its hands
together over its head. A deer can choose to look for any one of its needs
during each round or segment of the activity; the deer cannot, however,
change what it is looking for; e.g. when it sees what is available during
that round. It can change what it is looking for in the next round, if
twos, threes and fours are food water and shelter - components of habitat.
Each students gets to choose at the beginning of each round which component
he or she will be during that round. The students depict which component
they are in the same way the deer show what they are looking for; that
is, hands on the stomach for food, etc.
activity starts with all players lined up on their respective lines (deer
on one side, habitat components on the other side) - and with their backs
to the students at the other line.
teacher begins the first round by asking all of the students to make their
signs - each deer deciding what it is looking for, each habitat component
deciding what it is. Give the students a few moments to choose their sign.
the students are ready, count: "One ... two ... three!"At the
count of three, each deer and each habitat component turn to face the
opposite group, continuing to hold their signs clearly.
deer see the habitat component they need, they are to run to it. Each
deer must hold the sign of what it is looking for until getting to the
habitat component person with the same sign. Each deer that reaches its
necessary habitat component takes the "food", "water",
or "shelter" back to the deer side of the line. This is to represent
the deer's successfully meeting its needs, and successfully reproducing
as a result. Any deer that fails to find its food, water, or shelter dies
and becomes part of the habitat. That is, in the next round, the deer
that died is a habitat component and so is available as food, water, or
shelter to the deer who are still alive. If more than one deer reaches
a habitat component first, the first to arrive survives. If a habitat
component is not tagged, it remains where it is until the next round.
begin the next round by having the deer and the habitat components choose
their signs - they can be different from round to round. This should continue
for 10-1 5 rounds. The teacher keeps track on the graph paper of how many
deer there are in each round.
may want to secretly notify the components in one round that there was
a forest fire (leaving no shelter) or a drought (leaving no water). Keep
track of these habitat factors on the graph paper as well.
This activity should be allotted 20 minutes.
teacher will have transferred the information from the graph paper to
a larger piece of chart paper for student viewing in the classroom. Prompt
a discussion by asking if all habitat components were available in a certain
year; students will use the chart as a tool to interpret that infon-nation.
Students will discover that the deer population grew or diminished in
relation to the arrangement of the habitat in that year.
Extension: Have individual student copies of the graph available. Compare
the number of deer in one year to another, using most or least. You may
also wish to have students add the first five years for a total population,
This activity should be allotted 20-30 minutes.
should be able to infer now that changes in habitat affect the animals
living there. Ask students to imagine an arctic habitat, imagining that
an oil spill has occurred there. Have them predict the outcomes of this
a feather and some cooking oil, illustrate how a bird diving for a fish
dinner would be affected by this change in weight upon its feathers. Discuss
the interdependence of living things in a habitat. Students will realize
that each change in a habitat will create a domino effect upon the animals
Illustrate an example of the food chain.
Extension: Using the Internet, search for information on the Exxon Valdez
disaster, and share this real-life example with the students. You may
even e-mail a school in the area to inquire as to the far-reaching consequences
the oil spill had upon that habitat.
Studies Extension: A project on habitat conservation.
Six Culminating Activity
Time: Two days, 30-45 minutes each day
Materials: shoeboxes, magazines, art supplies, books children can use
activity will serve as a culminating assessment to the unit.
will be asked to create, in groups, a diorama of a particular habitat.
students into groups of three or four. Give them each a small plastic
animal(or picture of an animal), and ask them to make a model of that
animal's habitat. Instruct the children that each member of the group
should take part in the planning and assembling of their diorama. They
will be expected to present and explain their creation to the class.
teacher made rubric with a scale of one to four should be used to evaluate
the presence of food and water, shelter and space in a suitable arrangement
for each animal habitat.
unit was en oyed by both the students and myself. It covers the essential
information connected to animal habitats, but it has the potential to
be extended in many different ways, and in many different subject areas.
We are going on to study how plants play an important role in habitats