Developing a School Wildlife Habitat Site

This document in Microsoft Word format can also be downloaded here.

The National Wildlife Federation sponsors the Schoolyard Habitats program, a national effort to help organize and support K-12 students in cleaning up, rehabilitating and managing their school's natural habitats. Some materials are provided by the National Wildlife Federation, such as posters and handbooks, but this project provides an excellent opportunity to extend the students' interactions with the community, as well as with technological resources. To tie it in with the Insect unit, the project includes establishment of a butterfly garden (as described in the Power Point presentation).

Addressing the Michigan Core Curriculum Standards

The primary objectives of this project are addressed by several of the elementary-level Michigan Core Science Curriculum Standards & Benchmarks, including the following:

Constructing: (1) Students will generate reasonable questions about the world based on observation.

Reflecting: (4) Students will develop an awareness of and sensitivity to the natural world.

Using: (2) Students will explain common patterns of interdependence and interrelationships of living things.

Using: (4) Students will design systems that encourage growing of particular plants or animals.

Problem Statements

Some of the problems the students will face when working on this project include:

Computer & Other Technology Functions

The following are some of the general ways in which fourth grade students might use technology in the creation of their school wildlife habitat:

Learning Task

Technological Tool

Investigating their school site - making observations, asking questions, taking measurements

Measurement devices -- water quality detection, pH meters

Recording devices -- video, photography

Researching information on existing wildlife and plant life

Library catalog and Web searching

Creating a concept map on what they know about their school site

Concept-mapping software

Creating a visual representation of the finished school site

3-D/2-D graphic software

Investigating other projects' web sites


Keeping track of evidence of living things and other information gathered on the school site


Calculating estimated costs of project


Consulting with local businesses and community organizations to provide financial support

Creating graphs and charts outlining the scope and importance of the project

Telephone, email, word processing


Writing press releases to send to the local media

Word processing

Communicating with other wildlife habitat schools to see how they're doing it, as well as to share ideas and support each other

Telecollaborative Project

Writing final reports and reflections

Word processing

Creating and developing their own Web site with pictures and information about our school wildlife habitat

Web design/HTML

Data Manipulation

While some of the technological tools described above are non-computer tools, the table below outlines the specific ways in which computers can be used in desigining and creating the school wildlife habitat.

Computer Function


Data Manipulation

Online library catalog/databases

Netscape Navigator

Search for books and articles on existing wildlife; format & print


Netscape Navigator

Search for quality information on existing wildlife; format & print; research existing Habitat web sites

Concept mapping


Create and label nodes; make links; arrange icons; enter notes; print



Design the site, with "before" and "after" layouts of plant life and structures

Word processing


Write letters to local businesses & organizations; write press releases; write ongoing and final reports



Enter financial data for project; calculate costs; create graphs



Keep a record of existing wildlife and wildlife to be added to site



Stay connected with other habitat site planners via an email list



Scan photos into computer

Web Design

Front Page

Create web page including photos and information about the site

Presentation of Results

Because the school wildlife habitat will be an ongoing project, no specific presentation to the teacher is necessary. However, students may wish to organize a Grand Opening Ceremony for the public, particularly if the community has been instrumental in helping fund the effort.

Multidimensional Learning Activities

Before students can jump into site development, there are certain steps which must be followed.

Prior to Using Computer:

While Using Computer:

After Using Computer:

Supporting Activities:

Assessment Strategies

Students will be graded on: a) their participation in the development of the site (30%); b) the information gathered on their selected plants and animals (30%); c) their final report (30%) and d) their classmates' feedback on their group work skills (10%). A formal rubric will be applied to the report, including sections on technical skill, quality and clarity of writing and thoroughness of the report.

Implementing the Plan

Prepare Handouts

Handouts needed for the assignment include:


Tech Prep


Written by Maggi Rohde -

Last updated 10/31/01