Get That Chickadee Feeling


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Important Lesson on Habitat

Mini Lesson:  What Is Habitat?

1.  Materials-Cut out nine large cards (30x15 cm) labeled with the following words: LIFE, HABITAT, FOOD, WATER, SHELTER, SPACE, SUNLIGHT, SOIL AIR.  If you want to get fancy, you could use bigger cards and add pictures. Do not let the students see the cards.

2. Begin by asking your students what presents they liked the very most for their birthday or Christmas.

3 Make a list on the blackboard of all the best birthday gifts that they have received.

4.     Mostly, you will get materialistic answers such as, computer games, bicycle, pet, doll or skates. When you think you have a good selection tell the students that you do not think those gifts were the most important. Tell them you know what their best birthday gift was. Ask again what they would miss the most if they lost it. Reveal to them they received it on their birthday. Emphasize the word birthday. Gradually, with help, someone will say the word LIFE.


5.     When someone says LIFE, have them come up to the front of the room and hold up the life card.  Explain that without life we do not have anything. That is why we have very strong instincts for survival to protect our lives. That is why we have laws that protect our lives and punish people who harm us physically.


6.     Ask for a show of hands if they think LIFE is the most important thing to them and to value. Usually all will agree life is the most important thing to them.


7.     Now, surprise them by emphatically stating that you are not so sure LIFE is the most important.  If we put the student (LIFE) in a bottle and sealed the lid what would happen? They would die. Why? What would LIFE need in order to live?


8.     Now you should get the basic needs for life: FOOD, WATER. SHELTER. SPACE, AIR SOIL, and SUNLIGHT. As you get each answer, have that student come up to the front and hold each of the seven cards. This is a good opportunity discuss each the importance of each card.

Food - need for a balanced diet, healthy food- Discuss pesticides, weight issues.
- Canada has 25% of the world's fresh water. Most countries have a shortage of fresh water. We could only live a few days without water.
- We have cut down 78% of all the forests in the word. Winter would be very cold without the shelter of a house.
- The world population is over 6 billion and will double in. 35 years. Could you imagine all of the class living in a space 1/4 the size of a classroom?
- Southern Ontario has many air pollution alerts especially in the summer. You could only live a few minutes without air.
- We lose 5% of our topsoil each year through erosion. We need soil to grow food and hold trees in place.
- origin of all our energy except nuclear. Relate to global warming and ozone depletion. We need to develop other sources of energy like wind and solar energy.

All living organisms need each one of these seven components. The removal of one would cause death. This rule is the same for any organism whether it is a turtle, frog, chickadee, butterfly or a human.

9. Once you have the seven biological imperatives, ask the students to give you one word
that all seven represent. The answer is
Habitat. If they have trouble, you could put the
seven letters on the back of the cards and challenge the students to unscramble them
by putting them in order of the word habitat.

10 .Choose a person from the class to hold the card HABITAT.  Now ask them the most important question –“What is more important LIFE or HABITAT?”   They might see for the first time, that habitat is just as important as life or more important.  Which came first the chicken or the egg?

11. Once they realize that both are to be valued equally, ask them if we should protect
both in the same way with laws.  What laws do we have to protect life?  Do we have the same degree of laws to protect habitat as we do life? Why? or Why not?  What laws should we have to protect all seven parts of our habitat?

12. Now you have a good definition of habitat; the home or place where all needs are
met.  Those needs are food, water, shelter, space, air, soil and sunlight.

13. Discuss ways in which humans harm each part of the habitat and how we
can fix our mistakes.

14. Now students have a good grasp of this most important concept in science. The lifelong challenge for them will be to understand and apply respect and responsibility for LIFE (all plants, animals, including humans) and HABITAT (food water, shelter, space, air, soil and sunlight).   Respect means to value highly. Responsibility means to implement into their daily life.

The big challenge is to not only have respect and responsibility for self (this only can be selfish), but for others (near and dear), for other species (plants and animals), and to extend this concept globally and most importantly for future generations. No one is here to speak for the future generations so we must do it for them.

Show students how this can be done in a practical sense.

Examples of Respect and Responsibility for 1ife and Habitat

1. Self - recycle, save energy, camping hiking, learn about nature
Others - set an example, plant trees, write letters
Other Species - habitat restoration, shop wisely, bird feeders, careful purchase of animal products, protect endangered species, zoos
Globally - Be aware of importance of Rainforests. Don’t pollute local rivers that gradually run into the ocean and are the source of drinking water. Help ease global warning.
Future – This is the most difficult part because the people that will be affected the most are not born yet. (preserve habitats such as parks, write to politicians and decision makers, communicate the importance and need for environmental education in school curriculum) We need to think down the road for the sake of our grandchildren and great grandchildren. This is the most altruistic (giving to others) thing we could do.

The ultimate aim in Environmental Education should be to move students as far as possible through the five concentric circles from thinking from self to other, other species, to globally, to living their lives with future ecological considerations in mind.

How far can you go?

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Description of Books How To Order Classroom Visitations Student Book Orders Background of Author Free Teacher's Guide For Melissa's Magnificent Message Free Teacher's Guide for BOOMer Rules