Exploring Animal Habitats

May is our favorite time to dive into an Animal Habitat unit!  The kiddos always love this unit and so do we!  That's what makes it perfect for the end of the year...it is engaging enough to keep the kiddos motivated!  

We start the unit with this organizer.  We use Brain Pop Jr. to learn about different habitats.  After watching short videos about each animal habitat, kiddos draw an animal that lives in the habitat on the recorder.  You can click the picture to grab the organizer!

Click here to grab this Animal Habitat recording sheet for your classroom!

Next, kiddos select an animal they will study and research.  We love to use Pebble Go for research!  Pebble Go delivers Nonfiction in the perfect format for young learners.  It is easy to read or listen to and the facts are laid out so nicely!  Kiddos fill out a recording sheet while they research their animal.
Click here to grab this animal research recording sheet for your classroom!

After selecting an animal to research, kiddos began their Mystery Animal project.  They draw the animal's habitat on the outside flap and on the inside flap, they draw the animal.  On the back of the project, they glue on their facts they researched as "clues."  They love to read them aloud to the class and let others guess their animal!
Front cover of the Guess My Animal project shows the animal's habitat and its eyes 'hiding' in the habitat.
While showing the front cover, kiddos read what they recording during their research time.  Classmates can guess their animals!
Flip up the front cover to see the animal's body!  Were the guesses correct?

Now comes the part the kiddos usually LOVE the most...Habitat Dioramas!  Kiddos begin with making a model of their animal (the same one they researched) using Model Magic clay.  

After the clay animals have dried, they are ready to be painted!

With the animals painted and drying, the kiddos are ready to move onto their dioramas!  We start first with painting in the diorama to look like the animal's habitat.

When the dioramas dry, kiddos add fun crafty things to make the habitat look more realistic.  Here's a sample of some things we like to use:

We like to ask parents to donate items to the classroom and the supplies usually last a couple years!  We collected things like sand, small rocks, fake moss, fake flowers, feathers, pom poms (to be bushes, suns, clouds), raffia ribbon (looks like hay, straw, grass), Easter grass, colored tissue paper.

The final products are so neat to look at and the kiddos are SO proud to show them off!!

A fun, final wrap up to the animal unit is using Animal Grow Capsules.  In partner groups, kiddos watched their capsules grow.
After the animals are finished "growing," kiddos write about their animal.  Again, they use Pebble Go as a resource for animal research.  After finishing the writing piece, kiddos sponge paint their animal at the top of the paper.  These writing pieces can turn into a class book!