Life Systems – Focusing on Animals
(plants only as related to animal needs)

Grade 4 – Habitats and Communities

  1. Explore and compare ways in which communities of plants and animals satisfy their basic needs in specific habitats.
  2. Factors that affect various habitats – natural changes/changes brought by people.


Tech. – 1) Investigate changes in habitat.

Overall Expectations:

  1. Understanding of the concepts of habitat and community (link to social studies!!!)
  2. ID factors that could affects habitats and communities of animals
  3. Dependency of animals on their habitat and interrelationships of animals living in a specific habitat
  4. Ways in which humans can change habitats
  5. Effects of human changes on the animals within the habitats

Key Words of Science Curriculum:
* Sustainable Development *


1.  Monarch rearing in classroom, planting milkweed at zoo and releasing butterflies at zoo.
– (Timing of caterpillar/plants crucial, would have to work with zoo for set days to visit.)  – preserving local endangered species, fighting climate change, restoring natural flora and fauna, working with local schools and students in education, working with community to strengthen zoo and community relationships.

1.  Create a habitat that can then function, on its own, as an ecosystem.
– Arts and Language expectations…
2.  Save a habitat – Advertisement/art project (storyboard for commercial, multiple poster/billboard campaign, flyer to private residences, political campaign/speeches, teaching platform with lesson plans and activities).

  1. Arts and Language expectations…

3.  Habitat collage – start with an animal or group of animals from the Bowmanville Zoo, collect data about that animals habitat and food requirements (zoo signs and research at school), create a 2D or 3D habitat with animals, plants and objects required to sustain a population of that animal, (Data collection Habitat sheet and News at the Zoo – Habitats)
–     Arts and Language expectations…


Science/Social Studies
1.  Schoolyard habitat ( has a program).  Requires research into native species, planting time, volunteers and community involvement.
– Social Studies expectations…

1. As part of data collection and observation sheet activities, students can correlate data through graphing and charting (extends activities throughout other areas of curriculum so that students can spend more time studying animal communities and habitats while still meeting curriculum expectations.


Observation Sheets Gr.4
(Copying and altering permitted and encouraged to suit your needs.)

Student Name and Date:


Type of Animals (enclosure must have at least two animals):

Brief description of enclosure (habitat) including natural and man made objects:

Observations of Animal Communities:

Time: __________




Time: __________




Time: __________




Time: __________






Integrated Arts/Science/Language Project

If you ran the zoo…

  • Read “If I ran the zoo” Dr. Seuss (at school)
  • Fill-out If You Ran The Zoo Observation Sheet (at zoo)
  • Fill-out Grade 4 Observation Sheet, Data Collection Sheet and Classifying Zoo Animals Sheet (at zoo)
  • Ask for zoo map, for the class, when visiting (at zoo)
  • Discuss, with class, what animals need in their enclosures to be healthy and happy.
  • Discuss why zoos are important for students, for animals, for general population…  Discuss why they liked being at the zoo.  How would they teach students, about the animals, at their zoo, (i.e. shows, encounters, signs…).  Discover what animals have been saved from possible extinction because of captive populations.  (i.e. Arabian oryx, Prezwalski horse…)
  • Research (at school) different zoo maps and zoo websites. What is needed to run a zoo (i.e. not just animals, need keepers/vet/admin/entrance staff, electricity, water, food, fencing, buildings, heat, behavioural enrichment, plants, paper work, licenses, government approval, accreditation like CAZA, lots and lots of money esp. when closed for the winter…)
  • On Bristle Board: Draw/design with textures, and label, either:
  • zoo map with areas and paths, include buildings and facilities as well, (have a plan for which animals go in which areas).


  • 4 enclosures with different groups of animals, (draw everything they need in there enclosures including water, food and toys)
  • Present to class with explanation of your creation.
  • EXTENSION – Create a classroom zoo: In groups, design and implement enclosures for various invertebrates, rodents, fish (or whichever are permitted in the classroom)
    • set up duties list and acquire live animals
    • keep observation and health records


Zoo Materials…

  • Clipboards, pens/pencils, observation sheets, extra paper

School Materials

  • “If I ran the zoo” Dr. Seuss
  • Various art materials and computer time.
  • Good book for research – “the kids’ guide to zoo animals” By: Michelle Gilders, Red Deer Press ©2004  (In Book Review section along with a number of age appropriate books, not a complete list.)

Curriculum – Specific Expectations:
Science – Life Systems:

  • identify, through observation, various factors that affect animals in a specific habitat;
  • classify organisms according to their role in a food chain (e.g., producer, consumer);
  • formulate questions about and identify the needs of animals in a particular habitat, and explore possible answers to these questions and ways of meeting these needs (e.g. designing ideal enclosures);
  • use appropriate vocabulary, including correct science and technology terminology, in describing their investigations, explorations, and observations;
  • compile data gathered through investigation in order to record and present results;
  • describe ways in which humans are dependent on animals;
  • describe ways in which humans can affect the natural world (e.g. protect and breed endangered species, educate public through zoos, etc.);

Language – Writing:

  • communicate ideas and information for a variety of purposes and to specific audiences;
  • begin to write for more complex purposes;

Language – Oral:

  • communicate various types of messages, explain some ideas and procedures, and follow the teacher’s instructions;
  • ask questions on a variety of topics and respond appropriately to the questions of others;
  • communicate a main idea about a topic;
  • express and respond to ideas and opinions concisely and clearly;
  • demonstrate the ability to concentrate by identifying main points and staying on topic;
  • use the conventions of oral language, and of the various media, that are appropriate to the grade level;

Language – Reading:

  • read a variety of non-fiction materials;
  • read independently, using a variety of reading strategies (e.g. in researching animal and zoo information);

The Arts – Visual Arts:

  • produce two- and three-dimensional works of art that communicate ideas for specific purposes and to specific audiences;
  • solve artistic problems in their art work, using the elements of design specified for this grade;






1st Observation Sheet – Gr.4

What animal communities can be found at the zoo?
Observe three different enclosures and describe the combination of animals.  If there are more than one type of animal, why do you think that the different species can live together?  If there is only one species in an enclosure, (i.e. the tiger or the lemurs), why are there no other types of animals with it/them?  Classify the animals according to their role in the food chain.  (Write on the back if need be.)
















(Copying and altering permitted and encouraged to suit your needs.)



GLOBAL HOME (What country is it from?):

HABITAT IN THE WILD (Temperate Forest, Fresh water lake, Rain Forest, Grassland, etc.):




GLOBAL HOME (What country is it from?):

HABITAT IN THE WILD (Temperate Forest, Fresh water lake, Rain Forest, Grassland, etc.):