Pathways to Discovery - Model Habitat
- Grade Level:
- Second Grade-Fifth Grade
- Ecology, Wildlife Biology
- 30 minutes
- National/State Standards:
- Alaska State Standards
Science: A12, 14, 15; B1, 2, 3; D1, 2;
- drawing, habitat
OverviewUse America's largest national park as a pathway to discovery!
In this lesson, students think about wildlife habitat and territory size.
BackgroundThis lesson may be best offered after our Basics of Habitat lesson.
Here, students will draw a microhabitat for a particular animal and determine by research how large an animal’s territory must be. Information on territory size must be included so the student can write on the drawing how large an area it represents.
Students are going to imagine that they are an animal. They can be any animal that might live in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. You may elect to use the animal tags used in the Mystery Critter activity.
- Explain to them that they are going to construct a micro-habitat for their animal. Remind them that a habitat must contain all of the basic living requirements for their animal.
- Ask the students what the basic living requirements are (water, food source, shelter, and enough space). Emphasize that what they are building is a habitat, not just a home, and all the basic living requirements are often not close to the den or nest. The place where the moose sleeps is not the only part of his habitat because he may need to get water and browse quite far from where he sleeps. Summer and winter requirements may also be different.
Have each student select an animal tag. Limit the students to one drawing page and just let their imaginations go wild. They can draw any kind of forest litter like pine needles, pine cones, sticks, leaves, etc. to represent their animal’s shelter, water and food.
Help each student estimate how much space their animal might need to survive for a year. This is the animal’s territory and many species protect their territory from others of their kind. A wolf’s territory may be more than 25 square miles, while a squirrel may only need a quarter acre. There are 640 acres in a square mile.
Give the students 10-15 minutes (or more time if they are really into it) to work on their habitats.
AssessmentOnce everyone has had sufficient time to construct their habitat, gather the group together to share the habitats allowing each person to describe it to the rest of the group. Ask the students to explain their reasoning for each part of their model and the territory needed by their animals. Are there any special requirements that the animal needs for winter or summer?
- After all the habitats have been seen, tell the students that a logging company will be cutting down trees in the area. What impact will this have on their animals?
- So that people can get to the trees to log, new roads will be built through your area. Will this have any impact?
- Because of the new roads there will be more hunters in your area. Will this have any impact?
- For wildlife, habitat loss is the single most important issue today. Most species become threatened or extinct because of damage to their habitat. Is this happening in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve now?
- How can each of us help save wildlife habitat?
Last updated: April 14, 2015