Comparing Habitats Lesson Plan: Rainforest, Desert, or Freshwater?

Submitted by: Rachel Zindler

Grade Levels: 3-5, K-3

In this multi-day lesson plan, adaptable for grades K-5, students use BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. resources to learn about three different habitats in which animals live (rainforest, desert, and freshwater). Students chart how different animals survive in their habitat by working on a class poster, and compare and contrast different animals in different habitats.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Learn about three different habitats that animals live in (rainforest, desert, and freshwater).
  2. Chart how different animals survive in their habitat by working on a class poster.
  3. Compare and contrast different animals in different habitats.

Materials:

  • Books suggested from BrainPOP Jr.'s Read About It
  • Chart paper
  • Index cards
  • Sticky notes
  • Markers, crayons, or other drawing materials
  • Computer and internet access for BrainPOP

Vocabulary:

Word Wall vocabulary from the following BrainPOP Jr. movies: Rainforest, Freshwater, and Desert

Preparation:

Create a chart paper or large mural paper prepared with the title “Animals” and 4 columns labeled “Rainforest, Desert, Freshwater, and Our Habitat." Photocopy a class set of the Activity page from the Rainforest movie; a class set of copies of the Write About It page from the Rainforest movie. Set up your interactive whiteboard or print/project large versions of the Talk About It activities from the Rainforest and Desert movies.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Note: This sequence is approximate and should be stretched out over several days. If you have access to a computer lab or several computers simultaneously, you may want to incorporate even more of the BrainPOP Jr. games, quizzes, and activities. You can also rotate students through the computers to give them opportunities to work on the different features of the site. SESSION 1: Introduce the concept of a habitat by asking the class, "Where do we live and why?" Ask them to describe their environment. What is the weather like all year? Do they have different seasons? How does that affect their homes and how they live (do they use air conditioning most of the year? Do they need heat?) Ask them to think about how they dress and eat at different times of the year. Jot down answers to refer back to on chart paper or whiteboard.
  2. SESSION 2: Freshwater Habitats. Explain to your class that a habitat is where animals or plants live. Tell your class that they are going to be learning about different animal habitats and ask them to list what kinds of animals they already know live in their area. Ask them to think about why those animals might live in the area. Jot down students' answers to refer back to.
  3. Log on to BrainPOP Jr. and take the Easy Quiz to assess student's prior knowledge. Then, show the Freshwater Habitats movie. Remember to pause at points where Annie's notebook questions are posed to give students an opportunity to answer.
  4. After showing the movie, ask students to work with a partner to list as many freshwater animals as they can remember from the movie, and any others they know, too. Meanwhile, pairs of students can take turns using the computer to play BrainPOP Jr.'s Freshwater Habitats Game.
  5. To regroup, invite the whole class to try the Easy (or Hard) Quiz again.
  6. SESSION 3: Desert Habitats. Ask your students what they already know about deserts. Invite students to list animals they think might live in the desert and explain why they might live there. Add notes from discussion to the chart.
  7. Review the Easy Quiz for Deserts. Challenge students to keep an eye out for the words and facts reviewed. Show the Desert Habitat movie. Pause to discuss as you did with the other movies.
  8. Next, gather students again to complete the Talk About It from the Desert movie (Venn Diagram: How is a desert alike or different from your town?) This is a great opportunity to use an interactive whiteboard, or to print the graphic organizer and model while students complete independently.
  9. SESSION 4: Rainforest Habitats. Review the two habitats you have learned about so far. Ask students to compare freshwater habitats with desert habitats and the types of animals that live there. Would they like to live in one of these habitats? Why or why not?
  10. Ask students what they know about rainforests. What kinds of animals do they think might live there? Jot down answers.
  11. Preview the Word Wall words and/or take the Easy Quiz before showing the Rainforests Movie, remembering to pause for discussion again.
  12. Hand out copies of the Rainforest Activity page and model the activity. When students are done, they can use the Write About It stationary to answer the prompt.
  13. Later, gather the class to complete Talk About It from the Rainforest movie.
  14. SESSION 5: Sort and classify. Invite students to look back through the materials they have completed during the study of habitats, including all activity sheets, writing, and class charts. Then ask students to write down as many animals as they can remember onto individual sticky-notes.
  15. Have students add their sticky notes to the 4-part chart you have prepared (under the correct habitat!) If there are duplicates, students can stick their sticky notes on top of each other.
  16. Finally, hand out index cards to pairs of students and allow them to choose one animal from the chart (or you can assign them). On their card students should draw a picture of their animal, label it, and explain how it survives in its habitat. When they are done they can replace the sticky notes with their completed cards on the chart and select a new animal (if there are more left to complete). The final product should be a carefully designed chart displaying many kinds of animals sorted into their habitats!

Extension Activity:

Invite another class to come and visit your class chart to learn about Habitats. Visit BrainPOP Jr.'s Grown Ups Guide (on each movie topic page) for many more extension activities.