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Animal Habitat Project for Elementary Students
Animal Project for Kids
Children LOVE animals. They love playing with them, reading about them, learning about them, and owning them. One of the units of study that we teach each year is about plant and animal life. It is one of the students' favorites each year. During this unit, I send home a project for students to do. The project is to chose an animal and replicate it's habitat. It always receives rave reviews from both the parents and the students. I place them in the hallway for parents to view during parent teacher conferences. This is a third grade project but can easily be adapted for higher grades. I provide each student with a letter to the parents explaining the project, a rubric to understand the expectations and guidelines, and a timeline in which to complete the project.
Chosing an Animal for Your Project
There are a couple of ways that you can have your students chose an animal for their project. We usually read about the different habitats throughout the world before assigning the project. This way students have an opportunity to think about what animals interest them and which ones they are curious about. Students can choose a habitat that they like, such as the dessert, and then select an animal from that habitat. Or students can think of an animal that they would like to research and then learn about it's habitat. Either way the end result will be the same, an animal in it's accurate habitat.
Habitat Project Guidelines
Along with the parent letter, I send home information about how the project should be put together as well as some suggestions for materials that can be used. I find that the more explicit my directions and expectations are, the better the quality of projects turned in.
Directions for Model
- Start thinking of an animal that lives in the forest, ocean, desert, or rain forest.
- You will need to use a shoe box or another type of base for the model home of the animal.
- Wrap or cover the box with wrapping paper or construction paper.
- Use felt, leaves, sand, rocks, play dough, clay, colored paper or whatever you can think of to decorate the background of the habitat.
- Then it is time to make the animal that you chose for your habitat. You can use play dough, plastic toys, cotton balls, foam balls, pipe cleaners, etc.
- Place your animal in it's new home.
List of Possible Supplies Need
- Construction paper
- wrapping paper
- shoe box or box of similar size
- crayons, markers, colored pencils
- tape, glue
- cotton balls, felt, stones, sand, leaves, plastic toys
- almost anything that you can imagine, BE CREATIVE!
I find that including a rubric eliminates any confusion by both parents and students. Everyone involved know exactly what my expectations are and they can work toward the grade that they wish to earn. It keeps the number of questions to a minimum and pushes my students to go above and beyond what they may normally create. Here is a copy of the rubric that I include with this project.
Animal Habitat Rubric
Written report with animal, general description, and the group that the animal belongs to.
Description of how the animal fits into its environment. (color, food it eats, body parts, etc.)
Report includes at least one interesting fact about the animal.
Model depicts animal in an acurate habitat.
Neatness and creativity are shown.
Project is turned in on time with the rubric.
Presentation of material is given.
Total Number of Points
No matter what your students choose for their animal or which habitat they would like to showcase, I bet that they will exceed all of your expectations. Each year my students come up with more and more creative ways to display their projects and represent their animal in its habitat. I also find that as they present their information, they really have internalized the information which tells me that they have really learned something. Their classmates are always great audience members during this time because they are all so fascinated by animals. Good luck with your projects and come back to share some results!