Classroom Activities and Printable Activity Sheets
Build a Bluebird House
Is your schoolyard good habitat for our state bird, the eastern bluebird? They are found in meadows and open areas if appropriate nesting sites are nearby. See the building plans (PDF) (127 KB), and follow the step-by-step instructions on DEC-TV to build a bluebird house. Place the completed house in habitat that bluebirds favor, and watch them raise their young year after year.
Take your students outdoors to compare and contrast at least two different habitats. Have students record their observations while at each site, then discuss their findings in the classroom. Consider what kinds of plants are present, what kinds of food sources animals may find and where animals will find water and shelter. What kinds of animals do students expect to see? What kinds of animals do they actually see or find evidence of (e.g., scat, feeding sites, nesting/sheltering sites). If no animals are seen, do students have any ideas why? (e.g., too noisy, not enough space) What, if anything, would they do to improve the habitat for wildlife? If one of your locations is a part of the schoolyard, consider working as a class to improve the site for wildlife by planting a wildlife garden or removing invasive plants.
Habitat Dioramas and Fair
Have each student select a habitat found in New York State and construct a diorama in a shoebox depicting that habitat. The diorama should include some of the plants and animals one would find in the habitat, plus sources of food, water and shelter for the animals. Host a "Habitat Fair" during which students show their dioramas to other classes in the school, explaining what a habitat is and why they chose their particular habitat.
Habitat is Where It's At! teacher supplement (PDF) 68 KB