THE SALAMANDER ROOM
The purpose of this lesson is to help students understand that
each animal's habitat provides what that animal needs for survival. The
lesson will begin with a discussion of what an animal needs to survive-food,
shelter, water, and space.
The students will then view a video on how a young boy envisions his own
bedroom so that it will become a suitable habitat for an animal he has found-a
They will see how an indoor habitat was created at Jungle World-complete
with food, shelter, space, and water.
Following the video, the students will do an art activity transforming their
owN classroom into a suitable habitat for an animal.
The students will research an endangered animal and make graphs to indicate
the food, water, shelter, and space needs of these endangered animals.
READING RAINBOW #909: The Salamander Room
Students will be able to:
- Define the word habitat and list the components that make up an animal's
- Define the words extinction and endangered.
- Identify a cause and effect relationship between the components that
make up an animal's habitat and the survival of the species.
- Identify the food, shelter, water, and space needs for a given animal
- create an indoor habitat suitable for that animal within the classroom.
- Bulletin board, paper rolls (various colors)
- Tempera paints, water containers, craypas, oil pastels (1 set for
each group of students)
- Paintbrushes (1 per student)
- Web worksheet (1 per student)
- Research materials: encyclopedias, animal books, magazines, etc.
- Crayons, markers, etc. (1 set per student)
- 3 x 3 note cards
- Laminating film or clear adhesive paper
- Sticky-tack adhesive
Have the class brainstorm a list of extinct animals, such as
dinosaurs, dodo birds, great auks, Labrador ducks, the moa, passenger pigeons,
Stellar's sea cows, quagga, etc. Discuss how these animals became extinct
due to changes in their habitat.
Shift the brainstorming and discussion to animals that are endangered, such
as bald eagles, jaguars, gray wolves, whooping cranes, humpback whales,
peregrine falcons, etc. Talk about how we can keep them from becoming extinct
by protecting their habitats.
Finally, shift the focus to include the needs of all animals and how to
prevent them from becoming endangered or extinct. List the 4 needed components
for animal survival in a habitat on the board.
Tell the students that they will be watching a video about a
boy who finds an animal that he wants to take home. To give the students
a specific responsibility while viewing, tell them that they need to watch
to find out what kind of animal he finds. They also need to watch to see
if the boy provides a good habitat for the animal that includes food, water,
shelter, and space.
START the video where the story begins.
PAUSE the video after the narrator says, "He took the salamander
home." Ask the students to name the type of animal the little boy found.
(A salamander.) RESUME the video.
PAUSE the video after the boy says, "I will bring him crickets
to sing him to sleep and bull frogs to tell him good-night stories."
Ask the students to name the habitat component that the boy has just provided
for the salamander. (Shelter) Ask the students to describe the shelter.
(It is a drawer filled with leaves.) To re-focus their viewing, have the
students name the remaining habitat components. Tell them to watch the video
to see if the boy provides these components for the salamander. RESUME
PAUSE after the boy says, "I will bring boulders that he can
creep over." Ask, "Which habitat need has the boy provided now
for the salamander?" (Space) "Is it the right kind of space for
a salamander?" (There is still no water, and an amphibian like a salamander
would need both land and water.) "What does the salamander still need
to survive in the boy's room?" (Water and some food.) Say "Let's
watch to see if the boy thinks of these things too!" RESUME
PAUSE after the boy says, "I will bring insects to live in my
room and every day I will catch some to feed the salamander." Ask the
students to name what the boy provided for the salamander and what the salamander
still needs. (Food is provided, water is still needed.) RESUME the video.
PAUSE after the boy says, "And I will make little pools of water
on top of the boulders so they can drink." Ask the students if all
of the components of a habitat can be found in the boy's room. (Yes.) Ask
the students if the salamander would become endangered, or even extinct
if it lived in the bedroom with the boy? (No.) Have them tell you why not.
(There is food, water, shelter and now-the right kind of space.) RESUME
PAUSE after the boy says, "And the bullfrog will eat them too."
Ask the students, "What other animals come to live in the boy's room?"
(List the student responses on the board.) Re-focus their viewing by asking
the students, "How will the boy provide food, space, shelter, and water
for all of these new animals?" RESUME the video.
PAUSE after the boy says, "They will come back to my room when
it is time for dinner because they know that the biggest, juiciest insects
are there." Ask the students, "Were the needs of the other animals
met? How?" RESUME the video.
PAUSE at the end of the story. To give the students a specific responsibility
while viewing the next video segment, tell them that they will be watching
a segment about how a habitat was actually created indoors. Tell them to
watch for the answers to these 3 questions:
1. What kind of space will it provide?
2. Are the 4 basic components of a habitat included?
3. Which animal species will live there?
RESUME the video.
PAUSE after, "Lots of trees fall like that in the rain forest."
Ask, "What kind of space was created at Jungle World?" (A rain
forest.) Ask, "Which of the other habitat components have you seen
so far in the video?" (Shelter, water.)
RESUME the video.
PAUSE after, ". . .and the monkeys just love them," to
ask, "Which animals will live in this indoor habitat?" (Monkeys.)
RESUME the video. STOP the video after, "If you want
to create a man-made jungle, you need to know plenty about the real thing."
Focus on the last line of the video segment. Re-word it to say,
"If you want to create a man-made habitat, you need to know plenty
about the real thing."
Have the students close their eyes and think about a teacher-designated
animal that you would like to keep in the classroom. This can be an animal
that you have been studying, a classroom mascot, an animal from a particular
habitat that you wish to study, etc. Have them visualize what kind of space
the animal would need-a rain forest, an ocean, a desert, etc. Then, have
them think about the type of shelter that animal would need. How would their
animal get food and water? Have the students put the animal's name in the
center of the web worksheet. Have them list the four components of a habitat
_ one in each web.
Using the web worksheet, have the students research the habitat needs of
the designated animal. They should fill each arm of the web with information
about how each habitat component is met for that animal.
Using bulletin board paper, paint, oil pastels, craypas, etc. have the students
create lots of items representing the components of each habitat need as
listed on their web worksheet. To do this, it may be necessary to set up
stations around the classroom and have the students work in teams. When
the items have been created, transform your entire classroom into a suitable
habitat for the designated animal. Invite the students to bring or make
a stuffed animal to live in this newly created habitat.
The students may create a coral reef or a lion's den for shelter. They may
create an ocean or a desert for space. You might have insects or plants
for food, and a waterfall or a pond for water. The possibilities are unlimited.
You may wish to repeat the activity as new units are studied and transform
your classroom all over again.
Now, have each student choose an endangered animal to study. Using additional
copies of the web worksheet and the reference materials used earlier, have
the students research the needs of their chosen animal. Using this information,
create many different horizontal bar graphs.
To do this, have each student draw or glue a picture of their animal onto
a 3 x 3 notecard. Laminate these notecards or cover them with clear adhesive
paper. On the board, list the basic categories for space needs: DESERT OCEAN
RAIN FOREST FOREST PRAIRIE ETC. Then, using a sticky tack type of adhesive,
have each student place their note card beside the correct category to indicate
their animal's space needs. Using the newly created graph, count the number
of endangered animals from each type of space. Draw conclusions about which
type of space is most threatened based on the number of endangered animals
on the graph. Have the students answer or make up math questions based on
the information on the graph. Repeat the process by using food, shelter
and water needs as categories.
Arrange a field trip to a place that features animals in their
natural habitats, such as a wild animal park, zoo, game preserve, etc.
Invite a veterinarian, forestry service employee, etc. to present information
to the class about animals and their habitat needs. Have them tie in the
cause-effect relationship between habitat needs and the survival of the
Take a walk around your school to find mini-habitats. List the
animals that live there. Tell how these animals get their food, water, shelter,
and space. Compare and contrast the mini-habitats during different seasons
of the school year. Draw pictures or take photographs.
Have the students create an art project where they imagine an animal that
they would like to bring home to live in their bedroom. Have them start
by drawing their bed, complete with their actual bedspread. Then have them
transform their bedroom into a suitable habitat for their chosen animal.
Be sure they include the four components of a habitat, while drawing as
many of their own bedroom items as they can remember.
Have an ant farm in your classroom. Observe how the ants meet their needs
for food, water, shelter, and space. Keep a daily record of your observations.
Lesson plan created by Kathryn L. Fisher, Prairie View Elementary
School, Post Falls, Idaho
Click here to view the
worksheet associated with this lesson.
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