Resources for PreK-8 Activity 7 – Habitat Pen Pals

By becoming “habitat pen pals,” your students will learn about the diversity of habitats around the world and will write letters from the perspective of organisms living in these habitats.

This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 

RECOMMENDED READING

Expand your students’ learning and imaginations. Help students meet their reading goals while building upon concepts learned in this activity with the following children’s book recommendations:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:

  • Endangered Species Success Stories

    The Endangered Species Act (ESA) delivers remarkable successes. This interactive map of the United States presents information about the endangered species in each state and what is being done to help conserve them. 

  • Ask a Biologist

    Digitally bring a professional into your classroom with Arizona State University’s Ask a Biologist.  Students can use the Ask a Biologist’s web resources to learn about and research many different environmental issues. Multiple activities, stories, images, and links are also available for educators to use and build lessons around.         

  • Color the World!

    Coloringnature.org offers more than 500 realistically illustrated coloring pages that can be downloaded and printed for use in preK-8 classrooms. Choose from categories such as amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds, insects, animal homes, biomes and habitats, and trees. Consider pairing the pages with PLT activities as diagrams, models, or assessment tools.

  • Climate Change around the World

    An article in BBC News that discusses impacts of global warming in countries around the world and in major sectors of society: health, water, food, ecosystems, coasts, and industry.

  • Schoolyard Habitat Guide

    This guide provides the basic steps needed to restore and/or create wildlife habitat. It is designed so that students complete several tasks that will lead to establishing a forest, meadow, or wetland on school grounds. The projects can range in size from a small 20’ by 20’ area to an acre or more. These steps were developed from the experiences of several schools that have completed similar projects. The process incorporates critical thinking and decision-making skills while challenging students in reading, writing, science, mathematics, and language arts.  You can download the entire PDF online for free from the US Fish & Wildlife Service Website.

  • World Wetlands Day

    Free educational materials are available to help you celebrate World Wetlands Day (or celebrate Wetlands any day), sponsored by Ramsar Convention.  

  • Mission Geography

    Mission Geography supplies remote sensing lesson plans, made available by NASA.

  • EarthViewer App

    Have you ever wondered what the Earth looked like 400 million years ago? With EarthViewer, a free iPad application, users can explore the Earth’s geologic history. The app tracks the planet’s continental shifts, changes in climate, and explores biodiversity levels over the last 540 million years. Combining visual analysis withe hard data, the app can help students make connections between geological and biological change. 

  • iNaturalist

    iNaturalist is a species identification app that allows users to record their observations of living things by way of taking photos and appending GPS coordinates to their discoveries. Each user has their own profile and can follow others to keep a tab of what others are posting, or share what they have photographed. The app also facilitates connection with thousands of scientists to help users identify the species they have observed.

    Another exciting aspect of iNaturalist is that users can contribute their photos and data and participate in a number of citizen science projects. You can find a list of some of these projects here or click on “find your location” using this map to see the observations in your area. You can also develop your own for your school or local community!

  • Nature’s Sound Map

    Nature’s Sound Map is an interactive tool that allows you to listen to clips of nature all over the world. The sounds range from those of an individual animal to entire ecosystems. 

  • Plant for the Planet Video

    Inspired by Wangari Maathai, 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner founded “Plant for the Planet” and has planted more than 500,000 trees in Germany which he says will help sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Watch Felix’s video, part of the Young Voices on Climate Change series, to learn about his efforts to plant trees for a healthier world.

  • EPA’s Save our Species

    This free coloring book will introduce you to 21 endangered and threatened plants and animals found in the United States. Print the pages and use your crayons to bring to life oceans, swamps, deserts, islands and a variety of plants and animals. If we all work together, we can continue to share the earth with these fascinating and important species and enjoy them in the wild — not only in the pages of books. Free posters also available.

  • Arkive’s Wildlife Images

    At this award-winning website from Wildscreen USA, teachers can access more than 40,000 digital wildlife images and 6,000 wildlife films. Images can be searched either by species or geography or by type of image. In addition, the site’s education pages include resources for teaching animal classification along with educational games.

  • Amazing Animals and Creature Features

    These online resources from National Geographic for Kids present animal information in an interactive way.  Targeted at elementary students, the website features clickable facts and photos of more than 40 animal species from Adelie penguins to zebras.  Users can watch videos of the animals, find maps showing where each animal lives, and print out a collector’s card for any animal described.

  • ARKive’s “Survival” App

    Use your mobile device to race against the clock in a battle for survival! Tap, drag, scroll, swipe and pinch your way through a series of quick-fire mini-games to reveal the identity of some of the world’s most endangered animals. Full of real-life photographs, this fun and educational application tests speed, agility, endurance and intelligence, essential skills needed to become a Top Survivor.

  • Endangered Species Interactive Map

    The US Fish and Wildlife Service has launched a web-based interactive map with information about endangered species success in every state: stories of species making strides towards recovery, audio interviews and podcasts with biologists about on-the-ground endangered species conservation, and more.

  • American Bird Conservancy Video: Go Birding, Save Species!

    Enjoy this one-minute video featuring our favorite feathered friends.  Can you identify all of these spectacular birds? Visit www.conservationbirding.org for the full species list.  The video was created to showcase the American Bird Conservancy’s web site that enables birders to find birding routes and lodges that support habitat protection.  Go birding to celebrate Earth Day!

  • Encounters: Wild Explorer

    The public radio program Encounters: Radio Experiences in the North explores the natural history of Alaska and the Far North. An accompanying website offers K-12 teachers links to the episodes as well as resources, such as slideshows, videos, and sound clips, introducing the animals and habitats of the regions: beavers, bears, caribou, humpback whales, boreal forests, moose, and others.

  • Tree Product Images

    Print-out pages containing many examples of everyday products that come from trees! 

  • Schoolyard Habitat Program

    This US Fish & Wildlife Service initiative helps teachers and students create wildlife habitats at their schools. Their Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide offers teaching and learning opportunities in many discipline areas and provides opportunities for long-term data collection. Additionally, schools and organizations serving K-12 students may apply for grants of up to $8,000.

  • WildLab Bird

    A free app that can be downloaded onto any Apple device (try iBird Lite for Android). Use WildLab Bird to learn the basics of bird identification. This application uses audio, photographs, maps, and the process of elimination to help identify over 200 bird species. Sightings can also be entered into a national bird watching database for comparison. 

  • Fairy Tale

    A free app that can be downloaded onto Apple devices. This story production tool can be used to create a personal story and enhance it by adding your own drawings, audio, and animation. The illustrations can be moved, expanded, reduced, or rotated with touch, and you can record your own voice as narrator.

  • Forests, by Cathryn Sill

    Look to Forests by Cathryn Sill to introduce early learners to forest habitats and the organisms found there. Each page presents one sentence describing a particular forest habitat: boreal forest, tropical rain forest, cloud forest, temperate rain forest, deciduous forest, or tropical dry forest. Each description is accompanied by a realistic illustration. The afterward also contains more information about each habitat, which might be helpful for educators. This book supports Next Generation Science Standard 2-LS4-1 (ISBN: 9781561457342, Grades preK-3).

  • Birding Competitions for Young People

    The Race 4 Birds Foundation is a new nonprofit organization that formed to promote and support youth birding. The Race 4 Birds competition challenges youth participants to identify and quantify the number of birds sighted within 24 hours. The site offers a planning guide, detailed instructions, and resources to help get students involved and excited. 

  • Habitat the Game

    The Wildlife Conservation Society and Rainforest Alliance have created a free, new app designed for students 7-12. Habitat challenges students to care for virtual endangered animals while they earn points by completing real-life missions, like recycling or visiting a park zoo. 

  • Ferret – Free iPad App

    This free, interactive iPad app teaches children how to classify animals in a series of taps and swipes. Ferret marries science and design, allowing children to discover and learn about select species. The app allows students to “build” animals using a periodic table-like classification system, and in doing so, describe their distinct characteristics.

     

  • Expedition: Insects

    Giant deadly hornets, gorgeous fluttering butterflies, and stealthy crawling stink bugs: discover these and more fascinating insects in Expedition: Insects, an e-book written, illustrated, and animated by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. Students will learn about sic different types of insects in natural habitats around the world and how evolution and adaptation is responsible for the insects’ characteristics. Download an interactive version of the e-book for free on iBooks or read the non-interactive PDF version online. 

  • National Geographic: Great Nature Project

    Where will you be May 15-25, 2015? Take part in a global snapshot of biodiversity with National Geographic’s Great Nature Project. With just four simple steps (see it, snap it, share it, and identify it), you can become a citizen scientist by sharing the biodiversity you see and experience from your unique point of view. Over time, this annual event will provide data that can be used to answer scientific questions or provide useful information to decision makers. Try using the mobile iNaturalist app, which is versioned for Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, and Swedish. Get outside and share photos of your encounters with plants, animals, and fungi!

  • Dawn Publications – If You Love Honey

    “If you love honey, then you must love honeybees” so says Dawn Publications’ children’s book, If You Love Honey.  If You Love Honey takes readers on an exploration through the benefits and beauty that prevail through the relationships of living, breathing organisms that co-exist in nature. The colorful illustrations and simple concepts help young minds foster curiosity and develop an appreciation for nature. This book explores the importance of oak trees, mushrooms, soil, earthworms, and more. Be sure to check out the end of the book for fun facts about pollinators, seed spreaders, and beneficial insects.

  • Conservation Connect LIVE! Broadcasts

    Connect your students with conservation professionals using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new broadcast series. Visit the FWS website to pick one of an existing dozen videos to use in your education and conservation programming. Approximately 8 additional videos will be added over the next 8 months. New broadcasts take place at 2pm Eastern Time on the third Wednesday of each month, but educators have access to the archives at any time!