The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA

Understanding Animal Habitats

Building on their study of local flora and fauna, Kindergarten students recently created animals out of clay along with a corresponding habitat for their animal. “We want students to start making the connection between different adaptations that animals need to survive in a particular habitat and what plants need to live and grow,” says Kindergarten teacher Anne Canada. However, this project had a special twist. Students had the choice to either create a model of an animal that already exists, or they could design a brand new animal from their imagination. “Either option worked as long as the habitat made sense for the animal,” says Anne. “We can’t have a dolphin living in the grasslands or a polar bear in the tropics!”

Some students focused on creating familiar animals such as a giraffe living in the grasslands, a dolphin living in the ocean with shells and sea stars, or a deer living in the woods. Anne’s class embraced the option of creating some more fantastical creatures. One student created a “squird,” a half squid and half-bird creature that is equally comfortable living in the ocean or in a tree. Another student created an animal that is part turtle, part fennec fox, and part hippo who was comfortable living in the desert or the rainforest. As long as the animal had the necessary adaptations to survive in its habitat, students could let their imaginations run wild. One student made a crocodile, but with an extra-long mouth so that he could reach deep into trees to get the worms that he prefers to eat. Anne notes that “they were pretty creative coming up with different adaptations!” 

The project is grounded in the Kindergarten landform study and the exploration of the environment around Southborough. Anne and Lee talk with students about unique aspects of our environment such as the reservoir and how that influences the flora and fauna that we see in the area. “We talk about why animals would live here and what makes them able to survive,” says Lee, “that way when it comes to the project we can let them demonstrate their understanding in a fun and creative way.”