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Early Childhood

Animal Habitat Project

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Sheila Falgout Sheila Falgout 900 Points

I am a 1st grade teacher and we are beginning our animal study. I would like to include an at home project in which the students (and parents) would create shoe-box habitats for reptiles. Has anybody done this project and would be willing to share rubrics or ideas? Thanks!

Corryn Santana Corryn Santana 2595 Points

I am also curious as to why you chose reptiles. Have you only been learning about reptiles up to this point? Having your students create shoebox habitats seems like a wonderful idea! I hope it turns out well for you!

Blanca Jackson Blanca Jackson 3490 Points

unfortunately, I do not have any ideas, but I think that your project will be fantastic.

Linda Ngo Linda Ngo 2775 Points

It sounds interesting and I would like to know how the students would do the activities.

Ariel Starks Ariel Starks 385 Points

Hi! I have observed a teacher who had done this with her students as well. Any particular reason why you want it on reptiles? For this class it was a kind of "final" project after they learned all the habitats. They got to pick their favorite habitat and had to have at least one animal and one plant that was associated with that habitat. They also had to write a few (2-4)sentences to go along with their display.

Erica Ramirez Erica lynn Ramirez 9665 Points

This sounds like a great idea, I can't wait to try it!

Cinthia Rodriguez Cinthia Rodriguez 4505 Points

That sounds great and creative for students to be allowed to create their own habitats.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Sheila This is a very common project. You can get lots of help with a quick google search

 Devleta Memic 3510 Points

Hi Sheila! I also recommend you try google. It has many resources as well as examples you can show your students to get them on the right track. Does it have to be reptiles? I think it would be wonderful to explore different habitats and have students create different ones for display. I have found a rubric from a teacher who did this project. You can change it up or add some components that you think are important. Rubric link

Sheila Falgout Sheila Falgout 900 Points

Thanks for all the good suggestions. Yes, it has to be reptiles because our 1st grade team divided up the animal kingdom for the project and my class will be focused on reptiles. I found lots of good pictures on google but was looking for more specific directions to provide to our parents. As most of our families speak Spanish at home, I will have to have the info translated, so I was looking for specific directions.

Joanne Harkness joanne harkness 435 Points

Hi Shelia - I have never thought about have the students make a habitat at home. That sounds interesting. Would you provide the reptile to send home with the student? The student and parents can bring the shoebox to school, and you can give them the reptile. What animals would you use for your project? Sorry I don't have any answers for you. It sounds like an interesting project for families to get involved in, too.


Hi Sheila, I also believe that the following websites might provide you grateful ideas: Regards, Yusley

Karina Alcala Karina Alcala 1550 Points

This is really creative web resources and it gave me a lot of ideas to do with the shoebox project.

Noelle Rocawich Noelle Rocawich 1190 Points

I have never personally completed this project but I know it is a common one and works well!You can look up great ideas online (:

Christina Gomez Christina Gomez 1900 Points

There are many different ways in which this activity can be done. There is also a website,, where you could get many ideas on activities to do with kids involving animal habitats. Some ideas that teachers have are to make each student, or multiple students, do a different habitat. That way students can learn about all the different habitats and not everyone will do the same one.

Jennifer Rahn Jennifer Rahn 67955 Points

As much as I love the idea of this project, I would need to ask a few questions. First off, are we talking about habitats for live animals? I think we need to be very cognizant of our treatment of live specimens both in the classroom, and once the project is over. If the animals are to go home with the students, do you have parental permission? Is there a step in your project design where you verify that the design does not allow the critter to escape. Who provides the animals? We did a genetics experiment with mice with first and eighth graders (a cooperative project) and as hard as we tried, there were a few that got away. We also had to deal with death (even cannibalism) and that might be difficult at the first grade level. Also, we need to instill a respect of other species - even reptiles - in our students.

Sheila Falgout Sheila Falgout 900 Points

This project was NOT intended to use with live animals! It was only to be used to give students an idea of the types of habitats in which these animals could live. All classes studied all types of animals, but each homeroom designed habitats for specific ones, and my class was assigned reptiles. We used plastic animals, not live ones.

Nori Polivka Nori Polivka 275 Points

I've seen this done in my school. I know you are looking for just reptiles I believe, but they had students each do a different habitat. They came out very nicely, they had plastic figures in them and creatively figured out different ways to incorpertate features like snow (styrofoam). They then had them write a brief description about their habitat. They were very nice and really took their time with them.

Carly Segovia Carly Segovia 1215 Points

I have done this project and it went great! We made sure to review animals and different habitats prior and each students was able to select and animal to study. It was a GT class, so they were able to pick 2 animals and create a new species. They then made their habitat at home for their new species and presented to the class. They had to explain which animals they combined, what habitat they chose and why.

Amber Culpepper Amber Culpepper 4355 Points

These are great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

Naomi Beverly Naomi Beverly 19130 Points

Here's a rubric. I hope it helps. All the best- Naomi Beverly


Sheila Falgout Sheila Falgout 900 Points

Your rubric was perfect! Thank you so much for sharing it. I will use your format to create a similar one for the next time I do this project, because it has the right amount of detail for students and their parents to help with this project. Thanks again!

Karina Alcala Karina Alcala 1550 Points

I really like this rubric for the animal habitat. I am most definitely going to use through my career.

Christina Hong Christina Hong 1110 Points

I think this is a great activity to do with the students. It lets them be creative while learning about animals and their habitats. It’s great that you want the parents to get involved too. I would definitely encourage the kids to think about the landscape of their habitat, weather, and the diet of their animals. Once completing their show-box dioramas, they could write a short story about their animal or create a “Fun Facts” sheet that way they are still extending their writing skills. The rubric that Naomi Beverly provided on this thread was great as well. I intend on using it if I ever do this activity. Good luck, and I hope it goes/or went well!

Sheila Falgout Sheila Falgout 900 Points

Christina, I love your extensions to this activity! Since we teach weather in 1st grade that is an excellent tie-in. And if it was done near the end of the school year they would be able to do the writing element as well. This could really be a great end-of-year summative project.

 Kelly Diaz 1150 Points

Since you are having parents and children work together on this project, you are certain that all of them will have the opportunity to do so? I love the idea of the habitat for a project but that usually involves money and time that some parents may not have which won't benefit the student. What about an in class project? And all students have the same chance of creating something of their own.

Roxana Gonzalez Roxana Gonzalez 1615 Points

This is a great idea.

Martalicia Becerra Martalicia Becerra 1795 Points

Sounds very interesting and fund to allow the parents to participate.

Sade Samuel sade samuel 1200 Points

I dont have any personal experience with this but it sounds creative so you have to be careful with the rubric. Make sure the students and parents have seen and know what the expectations are ahead of time and be as clear as possible.

Idara Atai Idara Atai 1285 Points

I recently taught a lesson about living and non-living things, this would be a great follow-up of transition idea.

Maria Santacruz Maria Santacruz 375 Points

It really sound a good Idea why you don't try it out. I believed kids will have fund with the activity.

Cindy Alvarenga Cindy Alvarenga 330 Points

Hi Sheila! This sounds like a great and fun project! I love that it is party of a larger animal kingdom project. There were a lot of great suggestions and resources provided on this post and I would love to include these to a future lesson plan I would like to perform. I believe that providing students with diverse ways to demonstrate learning is very important! Thank you for this post! 

Estrell Mamonese Estrell Mamonese 240 Points

really cool project

Matt Delanon Matt 30 Points

I wanted to say the same but then I noticed this thread is almost 10 years old! I am wondering why you respond to such an old forum thread!

Estrell Mamonese Estrell Mamonese 240 Points

The Animal Habitat Project is an important initiative that aims to improve the lives of wild animals and preserve their habitats. Our planet is in danger and we need to pay more attention to the conservation of its biodiversity. I am also working on a project that aims to combat animal abuse. Recently read about animal testing, used this. It's just creepy to be honest. As humans, we must show care and compassion for the animals that live near us. Our common goal is to create a world where animals and people can coexist in harmony, and I hope that our projects will help achieve this goal. If not, then our planet is finished.

Matt Delanon Matt 30 Points

I'd love to hear more about your 2023 'cat distribution system' project! And yes, frankly, it's quite unsettling. As human beings, it is our duty to demonstrate empathy and kindness towards the animals that share our environment. Our ultimate objective is to establish a world where animals and humans can peacefully coexist, and I sincerely believe that our initiatives will contribute to this cause. If we fail, the fate of our planet is sealed.

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