Background Standards Objectives Students


Teacher Background:

All living things have basic needs for survival: food, water, shelter, and space. Wild animals meet their needs in their natural environment. A habitat is the place an animal lives which contails its food, water, shelter, and space. Students should be able to tell how different organisms interact as they meet their needs. For example, a bear may find shelter to hibernate in in a cave or deep crevice, while a bird may make a nest out of materials available.

This lesson mentions making a terrarium as a "Show what you know" project. A variety of terrariums can be made for this lesson.

Aquatic: Fill an aquarium with water, fish plants, snails, crab, crayfish, an air pump and water filter may be needed to keep the water clean and oxygenated.

Swamp: Fill an aquarium with 2 inches of sand, peat, and gravel mixed together. Add a large pan of water, mossess, ferns, and sprinkle with water. Then add frogs, newts, salamanders, toads or turtles. Finally add live insects: meal worms, worms snails or slugs.

Desert: Fill an aquarium with 2 inches of sand, add rocks, dish of water, desert plants, and snakes, lizards or horned toads. A "hot rock" (an electrical heating element) may be required to heat the terrarium at night.

Be sure to ask your local pet store employee for special car and feeding instructions for the animals you choose.


This lesson addresses the following California Science Content Standards.

Grade K

Life, Earth, & Physical Sciences

2a: Cells are enclosed within semi-permeable membranes that regulate their interaction with their surroundings.

Investigation & Experimentation

4a: Communicate observations orally and in drawings.

Grade 1

2a: Different plants and animals inhabit different kinds of environments and have external features that help them thrive in different kinds of places.

2b: Plants and animals both need water; animals need food, and plants need light.

2c: Animals eat plants or other animals for food and may also use plants or even other animals for shelter and nesting.

Investigation and Experimentation

4d: Describe the relative position of objects using two references (e.g., above and next to, below and left of).

Grade 3

3a: Plants and animals have structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.

3b: Examples of diverse life forms in different environments, such as oceans, deserts, tundra, forests, grasslands, and wetlands.

3c: Living things cause changes in the environment where they live; some of these changes are detrimental to the organism or other organisms, whereas others are beneficial.

3d: When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, and others die or move to new locations.

3e: Some kinds of organisms that once lived on Earth have completely disappeared; some of these resembled others that are alive today.


In this lesson, students in grades K-3 should be able to accomplish the following.




Student Curriculum

Broekel, R. (1982). Aquariums and Terrariums, Chicago: Childrens Press.

Butzow, C.M. and Butzow, J.W. (1989). Science Through Children's Literature, Colorado: Teacher Ideas Press.

California State Department of Education. (1990). Science framework for California public schools kindgarten through grade twelve. Sacramento: Office of State Printing.

Lowery, L.F. (1985). The Everyday Science Sourcebook, Dale Seymour Publications.

Project Learning Tree. (1993). American Forest Foundation.

Project WILD. (1996). Counsel for Environmental Education.


Baker, L. (1992). Life in the oceans, New York: Scholastic Inc.

McCauley, J.R. (1986). Animals that live in trees. Washington D.C.: National Geographic Society.

Meadows, G. (1991). Animal Friends. Aukland: Shortland Publications.

Meadows, G. (1991). Animal sanctuaries. Aukland: Shortland Publications.

Meadows, G. (1991). Extinction is forever. Aukland: Shortland Publications.

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