The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

Sharing creative ideas and lessons to help children learn

DIY Schoolyard Habitat Lesson


Often, science labs can be tedious labors of love that require tremendous amounts of time and preparation. This fun activity is a simple schoolyard observation that encourages students to put on their investigative caps and research the habitats on their playground.

  1. Create a Habitat logbook: Students will create their own science logbook to record class notes and observations. Be sure to include blank pages for observations and drawings. (For the logbook that I used check out ScienceWorks for Kids: Habitats.)
  2. Research: Check out books from your school library on habitats. I like to designate a corner of my classroom to this theme and fill the space with books, posters, and pictures.
  3. Playground field trip:
  • Discuss the scientific method of inquiry, investigation, hypothesis, data collection, and analysis. Have students record their hypothesis in their logbook about what they might find outside.
  • Separate students into pairs.
  • Give each group a quadrant (wire hanger pushed into a square). Magnifying glasses and clipboards are helpful if you have them.
  • Instruct students to observe only the area within their quadrant.
  • Students record living and nonliving things they discover in their logbooks. Encourage them to draw detailed pictures. 
  1. Conclusions: Discuss what students found during their observations and identify what type of habitat they observed outside. Students will write their conclusions in their science logbooks.

This is the perfect springtime activity to get students out of the classroom without spending your precious field trip budget. Listed below are additional resources I used in my unit study on habitats, biomes and ecosystems.

Additional Resources:

by Donald Silver

ScienceWorks for Kids: Habitats offers detailed study units on diverse habitats

Complete Thematic Units, Habitats – Forests and Meadows

Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.

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