Lesson Plan

Creature Meeting

a marmot
What small creatures might you meet during a trip into the forest?
NPS Photo / Nathan Kostegian
Grade Level:
Second Grade-Fifth Grade
Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants, Ecology
20 minutes
National/State Standards:
Alaska State Standards
Science: A12, 14, 15; B1, 2, 3; D1, 2
habitat, observation, adaptations, interdependence, niche, writing


Use America's largest national park as a pathway to discovery!

In this lesson, students observe creatures closely to learn how they use their surroundings.


Using discovery and observation, students will better understand the role of little creatures as they relate to their habitat and other living things.


Tell the students that in order to be good sleuths, they must develop excellent skills of observation.


Journals or notebooks, pencils (write in the rain notepads may be needed in some areas)


Tell the students that soon they’ll be spreading out to search for some little creatures and this will be their first challenge.  

  • Tell them that they are to find one little creature and closely follow its movements for five to ten minutes.  

  • During this time they are to take careful notes about their observations, including:

    1. What it looks like.
    2. How it moves.
    3. Where it goes; how it gets there (running across logs, crawling along a fallen twig, stumbling over rocks, etc.)
    4. What it meets and its reaction to the meeting. 

  • Rules: Do not harm the little creature! If the little critters crawls under a rock or a leaf to hide, take note of it—then carefully and gently lift the object away and continue observations. Remind them to replace the object when they are finished observing. 

  • Stress that the students should take good notes.  

  • Encourage students to be good observers, set reasonable boundaries, and send them out. Most likely some students will need help finding their little creatures. Help them, but encourage them to look by suggesting good places (i.e. under rocks and logs, on tree trunks, in piles of leaves, etc.)


Gather the students back together.

  • Ask them to tell you about their little creatures. • Instruct them to imagine that they were their little creature. What would it feel like?  

  • Have students write about their little creature’s journey from its point of view using their notes and memory as guidelines. Where was it going? Why? What did it see? What was it “thinking”?

  • Take time to share.

Additional Resources

This lesson is part of our "Pathways to Discovery" unit. The individual lessons can be done individually or as a larger unit of learning. They encourage the development of a student’s awareness and appreciation of the natural world and people’s relationship and role as a part of that natural world.

The lessons are a series of shorter activities that have been blended together under a specific theme with the intent that the activities will be coordinated with units in the existing school curriculum and texts. The materials are organized by grade level, but can actually be adapted for use at any grade level. Check out the full Pathways to Discovery unit of lessons, as well as links to other stand-alone lessons like this one.