K-3, Unit Two, Activity 3: "Habitat Hunt"

Students will understand the difficulty animals have finding all the components of their habitats through a role-playing game (best done outside).

Grades: 1 - 3
Time: 1/2 hour
Subjects: Life science, physical education


  • 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheets of laminated paper or poster board the same colors as the groups' cards above
  • Whistle (may be helpful)

For each group of students:

  • 2 or 3 small cards of 1 color (e. g. all orange for group1) for each of the habitat categories -- food, water, shelter and space (8 - 12 total cards, all orange


  1. Prepare the cards and write "food", "water", "shelter", "space" on them
  2. Before the class, hide the cards in an outdoor area with definable boundaries.
  3. Divide the students into groups and help them select a name (grizzlies, wolves, marmots, elk, etc.)
  4. Tell them they will have 10 minutes to find all the parts of their habitat. They are to run and gather their color cards only, and place them on the 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet of laminated or poster board "home" paper of the same color. They must gather the pieces for all the parts of their habitat, 1 at a time.
  5. Blow the whistle at the end of the time. Survivors are those who find all their cards within the time limit. Why didn't some groups survive? Was 1 food card enough for all your members? Does it matter where the cards were hidden? What if they were hidden a mile away? Does it matter to an animal how far it must travel to find all four parts of its habitat?

Variations and Extensions:

  1. Have the surviving groups turn into humans who help the other groups find their habitat. Can we do this for wild animals -- can we help them by making and saving habitat?
  2. Throw in disadvantages (bad leg/can't run, blind, etc.).

Assessment: Students draw an animal from nearby (this region) and draw the four basic needs for survival.

Last updated: November 3, 2017

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