Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Where the Wild Things Live

Ronja Ashworth
Santa Rosa District Schools


In groups of 4-5, students will use literature to research a particular habitat. Each group will then create a collage portraying their habitat.


The student uses context clues to construct meaning (meaning cues) (for example, illustrations, knowledge of the story and topic).

The student uses resources and references (for example, illustrations, knowledge of the story and topic) beginning dictionaries, available technology to build upon word meanings.

The student uses simple reference material to obtain information (for example, table of contents, fiction and nonfiction books, picture dictionaries, audio visual software).

The student knows plants and animals that live in a particular habitat (for example, black bears in the forest, whales in the ocean, camels in the desert, ducks in the wetlands).

The student knows the characteristics of the climate in different habitats (for example, sunlight, moisture, temperature).

The student knows some characteristics of different environments and some plants and animals found there.


-4-5 desert books (Examples: [Footprints in the Sand] by Cynthia Benjamin; [Life in the Deserts] by Lucy Baker; [Who Beats the Heat?] by Pamela Chanko and Daniel Moreton; DESERT by Daniel Moreton)

-4-5 wetlands/swamp books (Examples: [America's Wetlands] by Frank Staub; [Leap Frogging Through Wetlands] by Michael Maydak and Nancy Field; SQUISHY, [Misty, Damp and Muddy] by Molly Cone; [Wading Into Wetlands] by Sandra Stotksy)

-4-5 forest books (Examples: [Bambi's Forest] by Joanne Ryder, David Pacheco, and Jesse Clay; [Bears in the Forest] by Karen Wallace and Barbara Firth; [Bernie's Forest Adventure] by Verna Larson and Nikki Tognetti; [Deep in the Forest] by Brinton Turkle)

-4-5 ocean books (Examples: [Oceans] by Seymour Simon; [The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor] by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen; [Life in the Oceans] by Lucy Baker; [Ocean] by Susan Canizares and Pamela Chanko)

-Paper (for brainstorming)
-Pencils (for brainstorming)
-Large Poster Board (one piece for each group)
-A Variety of Art Materials (Examples: tempera paint, watercolors, markers, crayons, chalk, glue, scissors, construction paper, colored macaroni)
-Computer (to access web sites)
-Small container
-Plastic grocery bags (one per child or one per group)
-One copy of attached file for each group.
-Chart paper


1. Gather materials.
2. Create awards certificates so that each groupšs collage will receive an award. Some ideas are 'Most Creative', 'Best Use of Materials', 'Most Accurate Representation', and 'Best All Around'.

3. Schedule a nature walk if possible.

4. Determine the number of students that will be in each group, and label papers to be drawn to assign groups (see procedure #3).

5. Prepare an area for each group. Create a sign to label each area (ocean, forest, wetlands, desert). Tables are ideal, but if not available, use floor space. Before the activity begins, put the following items in each area: Literature to be used for research, paper and pencils for brainstorming, poster board, and art materials. The art materials may be located in a central area for all groups to access.

6. Write the questions from the attached file on chart paper.


Day One:

1. Review what the students have learned about habitats.

2. Explain to the students that they will be put into four different groups, and each group will be assigned a habitat to study. Tell them that the activity will last for three days. Day One they will use books and magazines to learn about their habitats. Then they will use the paper and pencils to brainstorm things that they may want to do and use to create their collage. Day Two the children will go on a nature walk to collect materials to be used for their collage. Day Three each group will create a collage that represents their assigned habitat. Ask the students if they have any questions about what they will be doing during this activity.

3. Group students into four groups. The best way to do this is to divide the number of students in your class by four. (Ex.: If you have 21 students, you will have five children in each group, with the exception of one group that will have six members.) After you have decided how many children will be in each group, write the word -ocean- on a small piece of paper for each member. (Ex. If you will have five children in this group, write -ocean- on five different pieces of paper. ) Do the same for -forest,- -desert-, and -wetlands-. Put all of the papers in a small container.

4. Have each child in your class choose a piece of paper from the container. When everyone has chosen, send each child to the appropriate area for his/her assigned habitat.

5. Pass out a copy of the attached file to each group and refer to the chart you have created using the same questions. Explain that they will need to show the answers to these questions in their collage because this is what you will use to grade each one.

6. Encourage students to read the literature you have provided. Each child may choose one book to read. After reading, have students create a list of ideas that they want to include in their collage. This may include materials they wish to use and/or pictures they will create or cut out of magazines, etc.

7. Tell children to look around their homes and yards to collect items that may be used in the collage and encourage them to bring the items to school the following day.

Day Two:

1. Take the children for a nature walk around the school if possible. They may take plastic grocery bags to collect materials. You may wish to give each child a bag or assign one person from each group to hold the groupšs bag.

Day Three:

1. Allow students to assemble in assigned areas. Explain to them that they will now use all of the ideas and materials they have collected to create their collage. Remind them that their collages should answer each of the questions on the chart.

2. After the collages are completed and all materials are dry, each collage will be judged. The teacher may judge the collages or may send the collages to another classroom, possibly an older group of children, to be judged. Attach an award to each collage. Display them in the classroom or on a hallway bulletin board.


Use the grading rubric in the attached file. The collage will be documentation of cooperative efforts.


1. It is ideal to have students bring collage items from home and to have a class nature walk so that groups can work together collecting items. However, if your school campus does not accommodate nature walks well, you can simply have children bring in items from home.

2. This activity is to be done after or near the end of your habitat unit. All of the students should have some basic understanding of what habitats are and should be able to briefly describe the oceans, deserts, wetlands, and forests.

3. You may also wish to use the web links for further research. This can be done large group or small group.

Web Links

Web supplement for Where the Wild Things Live

Web supplement for Where the Wild Things Live
National Geographic

Learn about the animals and plants that live in the different habitats of our oceans.
Life in the Ocean

Wetland Education Through Maps and Aerial Photography (WETMAAP)

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