How to make a shoebox biome for school

Updated February 21, 2017

If your class is studying biomes to discover the natural environment of specific animals, your teacher may ask you to create a shoebox replica of one of them. Use these ideas to design a project that showcases the habits of your assigned animal and the resources it uses in the freshwater, marine, desert, forest, grassland or tundra biome.

Research your assigned animal. Discover more about its prey, predators that hunt it, how it raises its young, why it lives in this specific climate and where it spends its days or hibernates. Also look up information about the biome such as the topographical characteristics and weather patterns. Find a photo of your animal in the habitat to serve as the inspiration for your biome.

Cover a large shoebox with pieces of cardstock or decorative paper to coordinate with the "feel" of the biome. If you're creating a freshwater environment, for example, choose paper in blues and greens. Trim the paper large enough so it will wrap around the edges and secure the pieces with double-stick tape. You can also paint the box, but if it has a dark logo on the side, the amount you'll need to cover it may warp the cardboard.

Find small versions of your assigned animal to place inside your biome. While it will be easy for you to buy plastic toys of some animals like polar bears, seals, snakes and fish, others will be harder to find. Consider reducing and printing photos of the animal from the Internet, affixing the image to cardstock for thickness and then cutting around the shape.

Design the landscape of the biome to surround your animal, using real and dimensional objects wherever possible. Find rocks, grass or leaves from your garden, for example. Paint cardstock with liquid glue then coat it will real dirt or sand. You can also visit model train stores or craft shops to find items like miniature trees. Arrange and affix the items with hot glue, adhesive dots or tape.

Consider ways to give your biome a realistic appearance. If the landscape features a lot of rocky formations, for instance, cut rough shapes from cardboard and spray them with stone paint or apply paint with a sponge for a textured look (see Resources below).

Things You'll Need

  • Shoebox
  • Cardstock or decorative paper
  • Scissors and adhesives
  • Paint and brush (if desired)
  • Toy animals or photos
  • Accents
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