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Animals & Their Habitats Lesson Plan

Author: Jana Shumway

Year: 2015

Artform: Dance

Subjects: Science

Grade: 2nd

Duration: 45 minutes

Overview: Second grade students will split into two groups. One group will create a habitat (desert, tide pool, jungle, savanna, forest and pond) with their bodies and props, while the other group will create the animals to move in, around and through the habitat.

Standards and Objectives

The student will identify and demonstrate movement elements (time, space, energy and motion) in performing dance.

The student will improvise, create, perform, and respond to movement solutions in the art form of dance.
a. Compare and contrast the characteristics of living things in different habitats.

b. Develop, communicate, and justify an explanation as to why a habitat is or is not suitable for a specific organism.
Second grade students will understand what a habitat is and that different animals live in different habitats around the world. They will also understand that animals have different traits that help them survive that habitat.



Read the book I See a Kookaburra!: Discovering Animal Habitats Around the World by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Talk about habitats. Ask the children if they’d like to explore some habitats around the world.

Split the children into “Group 1” and “Group 2”. When they get to the habitats you’ll refer to these groups. Then using the rhythm of “I’m going on a bear hunt,” say “I’m going on safari!” Have the children repeat after you. Then say, “I’m not afraid”. Have the children repeat. “Come on, let’s go!” Walking slowly and sneakily to the beat of the drum come to the different habitats.


Once you get to a habitat have Group 1 create the habitat with their bodies and props. Group 2 will dance about the specific animals as you teach the different characteristics and traits of each. (There are so many different animals that I didn’t write out all the details. But read the interesting facts and information about each animal at the back of the book. The book is filled with great information!)

Then, decide on movement that will represent the different traits and characteristics. Try to get the kids to go beyond just pantomiming. For example:

  • Instead of just slithering around like a rattlesnake, have the students coil up in a circular, twisted shape;
  • Then shake their entire body to represent the rattle on their tail;
  • Then create one shape that slowly changes from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet as if the skin were shedding;
  • Then move about in slow motion with eyes closed in order to sense the heat of another animal.
  • When a child senses he/she is getting closer to another child, they have to change directions, etc.

DESERTCactus shapes w / needles (short PVC pipes)Move like the animals in the book
TIDE POOLWave blue material up and downMove like the animals in the book
JUNGLEHold up leaves & flowers and create a twisted shapeMove like the animals in the book
SAVANNAUse swimming noodles to sway as grassMove like the animals in the book
FORESTCrowded tree shapes (stretch elastics)Move like the animals in the book
PONDCreate low connected shapes in a circleMove like the animals in the book

Be sure to switch roles so each group gets a chance to create both the habitats and the animals.


You could put these ideas into a dance for an informance or just show another class in order to teach them about habitats. Another idea would be to create one dance for each habitat with smaller groups of children.


Discuss their favorite habitats.

  • If they were an animal where would they like to live?
  • Which animals did they like best?
  • Would they like to learn more about that animal?

Talk about survival skills, characteristics and traits needed to survive each particular habitat. Discuss why a particular habitat would not be good for certain animals.

See for examples of different animals that live in particular habitats.
Adjust the dance as needed for individual student needs.
Habitat: the natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism.
While the kids are dancing watch to see if they are understanding the concepts. If not, sidecoach them to help them understand.

You can have a discussion or quiz at the end of the lesson; or have the students share what they learned with a partner and then report to another group of students or to you as to what they learned.

They can also demonstrate their understanding through choreographic assignments (but be sure the objectives are clear for the assignment and then make sure they meet those objectives).


  • Drum (for “We’re going on safari”)


One song per habitat. I use the following:



  • Savanna: Swimming noodles
  • Tide Pool: Blue sheer or satin tricot
  • Jungle: Leaves and flowers
  • Desert:Short PVC pipes for cactus needles