Habitat to Habitat

Siemen's Stem Day/Discovery Education
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



In this lesson, students will build a plant and an animal habitat to learn that plants and animals have common needs. There is also a discussion of ecosystems.

The link below leads to a main page where you can find the pdf for the activity, Habitat to Habitat.


Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

K-LS1-1 Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.

Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include that animals need to take in food but plants do not; the different kinds of food needed by different types of animals; the requirement of plants to have light; and, that all living things need water.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will build habitats and observe habitats. Afterwards, students discuss what plants and animals need to survive. Students will need more opportunities to observe patterns of what plants and animals need to survive. This could be done by doing more investigations, reading books, or viewing videos.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students build habitats that they will need to observe over a certain amount of time to describe the patterns and compare the survival needs of plants and animals. Observational data could be kept by writing and/or drawing and labeling in a science journal.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
There is discussion when the habitats are built about what is needed for the seed to grow into a plant, but observations need to be done and data kept over a certain amount of time. With extensions to light for plants and food for animals, students will be able to grasp this Disciplinary Core Idea.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Once the habitats are built, they should be observed by students and data kept. Observing and collecting data will lead to student discussion and ultimately show evidence of what plants and animals need to survive. One discussion after observation could be that the worms in the lesson avoid light (although they need warmth), while the plants depend on light (and warmth) to survive. The comparing and contrasting of needs would be an extension that could support the Crosscutting Concept.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Students will be using a three-dimensional approach to learning in this lesson. They are observing, keeping data, and using that data as evidence to make sense of the phenomenon of what plants and animals need to survive. The application to the real-world connection would be strengthened by including an exploration of seeds and plants in their natural habitats.

  • Instructional Supports: Students are engaged by building the habitats in small groups. These groups should include students of all levels. They are encouraged to express their ideas and complete an information page about the habitats that are created. The suggested extension activities would enhance student learning. There is also highlighted vocabulary and support, which can enable students to learn the academic language of science.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The teacher is pre-assessing students during the warm up activity. The teacher monitors the students as they are building their habitats and could be keeping anecdotal notes. Throughout the lesson there are several opportunities for students to share their ideas. The sheet students complete should be done when they build the habitats and then could be used again after observations to show patterns. This lesson is intended to use as a springboard for deeper exploration of the topic.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: No technology is used in this lesson.