Lesson Plan

Basics of Habitat

a great horned owl in a spruce bough
All animals need their own special habitat

NPS Photo

Overall Rating

Add your review
Grade Level:
Second Grade-Fifth Grade
Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants, Wildlife Biology
40 - 60 minutes
National/State Standards:
Alaska State Standards
Science: A12, 14, 15; B1, 2, 3; D1, 2;
English & LA: B3
Mathematics: C1, 2, 3; E2, 3


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

In this lesson, students think about essential survival needs


  • To understand how living and non-living things interact and change in a forest community.

  • To identify the basic survival needs shared by people and all other animals—plants, food, water, shelter, and space.


Have the students identify five basic survival needs shared by people and all other animals: plants, sunlight, water, soil and air. Students will list and organize needs of people, pets and wildlife. Tell the students that all animals (including people, pets, and wildlife) need food, water, shelter and space in which to live. These must be in the quality and quantity required by the particular animal. Because animals need food, water, shelter and space to be available in a way that is suitable to their needs, we say that these things must be available in a suitable “arrangement.”

Use step two of this activity after step one, or alone if students know the basic needs already (see "Procedures," below). This activity provides a little more detail than step 1. Have the students: 

  1. identify their own basic needs for food, water, shelter and space in a suitable arrangement; and 
  2. generalize that wildlife and other animals have similar basic needs. Students draw pictures of people and animal homes, comparing basic needs.


Drawing paper, crayons


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.

Last updated: April 14, 2015