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Animal Homes Underground

Discover animal habitats under sidewalks, tree roots, at the beach, or near ponds. Fascinating creatures can be found almost anywhere children look!

  • Kindergarten
    Pre-Kindergarten
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Who’s crawling under our feet? Search nearby—the playground, city sidewalks, nature reserves, or backyards—for critters. Children use Crayola® Color Sticks Colored Pencils to sketch the insects and other animals they spot, such as ants, worms, or perhaps a chipmunk. Children each collect fallen leaves, tiny stones, twigs, and other natural materials in paper lunch bags.
    2. Read aloud “UnderGROUND” by Denise Fleming to help identify the creatures and learn more about their habits and habitats. Search the Internet for more information when children are curious.
    3. Ask children to create a collage depicting the underground homes of creatures that intrigue them. Color Sticks show up brilliantly on dark paper, too. To add dimension, texture, and a realistic look, use Crayola No-Run School Glue to attach natural materials.
    4. Ask children to sort and group their underground habitats by common characteristics, such as burrows or dens. Small groups explain the similarities and differences in their work to the class.
  • Standards

    LA: With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear.

    LA: Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.

    LA: Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.

    LA: Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MATH: Classify objects and count the number of objects in categories.

    SCI: Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals (including humans) and the places they live.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

    VA: Students will reflect on, share insights about, and refine works of art and design.

  • Adaptations

    Suggest that children make a larger-than-life underground habitat in the classroom or on the playground with recycled boxes and found materials. Why not have the class “live” in their creation for a day’s adventure under ground?

    Ask children to listen for creative uses of language, and invented words, in the book, such as “Squirm-ways and worm-ways.” Encourage children to make up original narratives for their creations.

    Try the pulp-paper style of collage used by the author in the book.

    Dig in the dirt or sand! What else might children find? What do these items tell them about their environment?

    What careers require people to dig in the soil (archeologists, heavy equipment operators, farmers)? Explore the possibilities!

    Start an ant farm in a container with unbreakable, see-through sides. Watch and record the underground action.

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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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