The Earth consists of 10 different biomes, or types of habitats. A replica can be constructed of each biome to help children understand the characteristics of each and the animals that live in them. A replica habitat acts as a visual aid and can be kept in the class to help children remember what they learnt about each. The real benefit of using a habitat is that the children can learn and retain more if they help with the construction of the model. Here are ideas for representing some of the biomes.
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Underwater habitats consist of coral reefs, oceans and fresh water lakes and rivers. All you need to construct an underwater habitat is a fish aquarium, rocks for the bottom, some plastic plant life and water. It's up to you to decide whether to use real fish for this habitat or add some fake fish for effect. An underwater habitat with fake fish is easier to maintain and is less expensive, since you won't have to buy the fish or the food.
A forest or jungle habitat requires lots of foliage to illustrate how dense this type of habitat can get. For this project, you will need either an old shoebox or cardboard box and some natural materials from the playground. Collect dried leaves, small tree branches and rocks. Arrange these materials in your box to mimic a dense forest. Print out or draw some typical jungle animals on paper or use plastic model animals to illustrate the creatures that call the habitat home.
High altitudes, cold weather and snow typically characterise alpine habitats. For this habitat, you will need a contained area, such as a box or aquarium. Construct some mountains out of paper; for snow, you can use cotton balls. There are many alpine climates around the globe with similar, yet different, types of wildlife, so if you want to be accurate, choose a particular geographical location and add the animals that would be found there. You can print and cut out pictures of these animals or be creative and make your own using paper.
Desert habitats often contain minimal plant and animal life. Sand is another characteristic of a desert habitat and can be quite messy when constructing a model of a desert, so it's best to use an enclosed container, such as an aquarium or clear plastic container. For this project, add some beach sand, a cactus or two, a few rocks and a heat lamp. Most animals that live in this habitat are reptiles, which can be represented using plastic model lizards.
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