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Where Do Animals Live?

Author(s): Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, and Paula H. Cutler, BA.
Where Do Animals Live?
  • Grades:
  • K-2
  • Length: Variable


Students draw pictures to represent their favorite nonsense lines from a poem, and also to show animals in their appropriate environments.

This activity is from the Resources and the Environment Teacher's Guide. Although it is most appropriate for use with students in grades K-2, the lesson is easily adaptable for other grade levels.

Teacher Background

Although all animals and plants (and other living things) occupy physical spaces within environments, these spaces often serve different purposes from a human home. Plants are not mobile, so the spaces they occupy are determined by where the plant originally begins to grow. Plants survive in places that provide the necessary amounts of sunlight, water and nutrients, as well as protection from predators and disease.

Animals, of course, do move about. However, while a human needs a place to live—a home—many animals do not. Many animals build nests/places to raise their young and then abandon those places. Other animals, such as bees or prairie dogs, build large colonies that serve the needs of many individuals. Often, animal spaces are used for protection from predators. Humans, on the other hand, need places to gather, eat, sleep, feel safe, store their belongings and carry out social activities.

Objectives and Standards


  • Every living thing occupies a space within its environment.

  • Most animals depend on the resources available within their environments to provide needed spaces.

  • Humans depend on their natural environments, but they also construct places to meet their needs for safe, secure, comfortable spaces.


  • Comparing and contrasting

  • Communicating

  • Identifying patterns

  • Listening

Materials and Setup

Teacher Materials

  • Copy of Tillena Lou’s Big Adventure

Materials per Student

  • Crayons or markers

  • Drawing paper


  1. Obtain a copy or copies of Tillena Lou’s Big Adventure.

  2. Conduct this activity with the entire class.

Procedure and Extensions

Time: Two 45 minute class periods.

  1. Refer to the story, Tillena Lou’s Big Adventure. Ask students, What did Tillena Lou discover about the “people place” as compared to her environment? Tell students that they will listen as you read a silly poem about places where animals live. They will follow the rhyming pattern to fill in the missing word and then make sense of the poem.

  2. Read the poem to the students, leaving out the underlined words (last word of 2nd and 4th lines). Give the students opportunities to fill in the missing words as you read.

  3. Give each student a large piece of drawing paper. Direct students to fold their sheets in half vertically. Encourage students to draw a picture of one of the animals in the poem in the “wrong” place and in the “right” place—on each half of the sheet. Or let students make up another ridiculous place for something to live and draw the two scenarios.

  4. To get students started, you might ask them, Does a fish live in a cereal dish? Why or why not? Could it?


Write more verses together and illustrate the new poems.

Handouts and Downloads

Related Content

  • Resources and the Environment

    Resources and the Environment Teacher Guide

    Young students explore how living things—including humans—use resources found naturally in their environments or modify resources to meet their needs. (11 activities).

  • Tillena Lou's Big Adventure

    Tillena Lou’s Big Adventure Reading

    Tillena Lou becomes lost while while exploring away from her home, then she gets an unexpected ride into the world of people. What surprises await the tiny turtle?


Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Filling the Gaps: K-6 Science/Health Education
Grant Number: 5R25RR013454