Prairie Dog Habitat Project

Prairie Dog Habitat

Lesson Description

Students explore the habitat of the North American prairie dog in order to understand how changes in habitat conditions can affect the prairie dog population.

Learning Goals

  • Learners will list the five species of prairie dogs.
  • Learners will choose one of the five species of prairie dogs and describe the life style of this species
  • Learners will discover and describe how the biotic and abiotic factors of the habitat contribute to the lifestyle of the prairie dog species they have chosen
  • Learners will graph changes in a prairie dog population and analyze the changes.  
  • Given what they have learned about habitat interactions, learners will infer reasons for changes in the population.
  • Given a set of parameters for the prairie dog habitat, learners will predict what could happen to the prairie dog population.


  • Students will be able to obtain, evaluate, and communicating information about the factors affecting biodiversity and populations.

  • Students will be able use a mathematical model to evaluate the stability and change of disturbances that affect a population

  • Students will be able to analyze and interpret data of numbers  of organisms that are represented in a population and analyze the limiting factors on energy and matter in that habitat.

Materials Needed



Technology Supports Needed

Understand how to use Google Sheets or similar program to create a graph from a given set of data.

Instructional Plan


Students will watch video to introduce them to prairie dogs and their habitat;

The Prairie Dog Life | Destination WILD


  • Work with students to create a class list of the biotic and abiotic factors that they saw in the video
  • Work with the students create a class list of descriptors for the prairie dogs:  what they looked like, what they were doing, eating, where they were living, etc.

Independent Practice:

Download: Prairie_Dogs_Project.pptx

  • Present students with the power point format that they are going to fill in describing prairie dogs and their habitat. Go over the speaker notes because they often contain the instructions for the students on how to complete each slide
  • You can have students work in groups on this project if you desire

Student Presentation:

You can have students share through Google Classroom or via email.

You can have students share their projects with you and you can share with the class or you can have students share with a partner or share with the whole class.  Or you can choose not to have students share with anyone but you.


Lead a classroom discussion with students about what they have learned about the habitat, activities and changes in populations of North American prairie dogs.  Create a class diagram/model/chart to detail what students have learned.


Have students complete the following document in which they infer how the habitat and population will change given a specific set of parameters.  You can have students choose one or more of the situations to describe.

Download: Prairie_Dog_Change.docx

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