Harrington Elementary 1st and 2nd-Graders Learn about Habitats

By Hazel Stark


“Habitat, habitat, have to have a habitat
Habitat, habitat, have to have a habitat
Habitat, habitat, have to have a habitat
Have to have a habitat to carry on!”

-the chorus from the Habitat Song

After sharing their existing knowledge about habitats and singing along to the Habitat song (you can listen to a version of it with lyrics here), the 1st and 2nd-graders at Harrington Elementary were ready to explore real habitats around their school in two Maine Outdoor School programs in May 2017. This article is the second of a four-part series on these recent programs at Harrington Elementary, so visit our News page for more!

Sketching animal habitats

Sketching animal habitats

Hiking along the newly renovated trail system on the Harrington Elementary campus, these 7-9-year-old students were tasked with finding signs of different animal homes. By their first stop, some had already started to sketch some tree cavities and nests they had seen along the trail--while they were hiking! With permission to head off the trail and explore thoroughly for more habitats, the students enthusiastically lifted logs, noticed holes in snags and in the ground, and even found some worms and other invertebrates living in their ideal habitats. They asked questions about what types of animals might live in what areas and made hypotheses about what animal had made particular holes.

Next, they took out their clipboards and made labelled drawings about an “amazing animal habitat” they found. Sharing their drawings afterwards, students gushed about the bird nests they found, the chipmunk holes they noticed, and the woodpecker holes they saw. It was a challenge to motivate them to go back inside at the conclusion of this first program!

We all need habitats!
— one student's reflection after the program

Fortunately, the following week they were back outside with Maine Outdoor School--this time, however, they applied their learning about ideal habitats and created their own. Split into three teams (amphibian, bird, and mammal), each group used whatever they could find in the woods to create the ideal habitat for their animal type. After presenting their finished habitats, they noticed some common themes among all habitat types: all living things need habitats that provide shelter from the elements and easy access to food and water. They recognized that humans have those same habitat requirements. While bringing the students back inside after this program was met with some groans, several of them shared that they were excited to try building habitats in their backyards when they got home.

Click the photos above to scroll from left to right: team amphibian made a salamander habitat, team mammal created a fox habitat, and team bird built a robin habitat.

Do you know someone who would be interested in MOS programming? Learn more about our Educational Programs and contact us!

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