Out Teach
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Lower Primary, Upper Primary
  • Cause and Effect
  • ELA
  • Evidence
  • Main Idea and Details
  • Nonfiction
  • Out Teach
  • Reading
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Habitat Text 3rd Grade -- Out Teach

    Habitat Text 3rd Grade -- Out Teach


    Students will read the provided complex text about habitat in the outdoor classroom and explore the area to make connections to the content in the text.

    Background For Teachers

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    Even the most urban schools tend to have some areas that can be a habitat for animals and insects. The provided text is intended to get students interested in reading by providing them with an immediate text-to-world connection. Students are often easily captivated by the living things that can be encountered outside. This excitement can often be a distraction, so it is important to help students understand that by reading the short text, they will have a better understanding of the critters that they will be observing. It may be necessary to have students read the text inside and then transition to the outdoor classroom, especially if they have not spent much time outside. It will also likely be necessary to give students explicit instructions about being respectful to the living things. This will often need to be repeated when using the outdoor classroom and will be especially important in a lesson like this where the other living things are the focal point of the lesson. This text can be used as complex text with repeated lessons based around it or as an informal assessment of students reading comprehension by observing whether or not they can make the real-world connections. 

    Key Vocabulary

    • Habitat

    • Shelter

    • Burrow

    • Wildlife

    Guiding Question

    What aspects of habitat can we find in our outdoor classroom?


    Ask students what the world would be like without other animals and insects? Would we be able to survive?

    Inform the students that they will be reading a short text about how animals and insects can live right outside the school and then they will make observations about the habitat.


    Habitat Video

    This exploration can be relevant for most schools with or without gardens. 

    Allow students time to read the text and then have them explore the outdoor classroom to look for evidence of habitat as discussed in the text.

    Have students take notes about things that they observe on the back of the text or in a journal.

    Guiding Questions:

    • Do you notice any of the things animals and insects need to survive out here?

    • What other living things have you seen?

    • What do you think the word "burrow" means in paragraph 4?

    • What do you think could improve this habitat for animals and insects?

    Differentiation: Some students may need supports to engage with text including reading with the teacher or a reading buddy. Some students may need specific prompts to make real-world connections in order to stay on task. For example: provide a graphic organizer that outlines several possible elements that can be found in the outdoor classroom.  Students who need an extra challenge can use more complex versions of this text at the higher grade-levels or answer deeper questions that can be deduced from the text during the exploration.


    Use a loud call signal to gather students to a seating area.

    Ask students to share their observations and have them refer to the text whenever possible to explain their observations.

    Ask students to answer specific questions from the text while referring to their observations. For example: What did the text say were examples of things that birds eat and did you observe any of those things while you were exploring?

    Ask students about specific vocabulary like habitat and burrow. See if they can provide an authentic definition drawn from a mix of the text and their own experiences. 


    Have students work independently to write 2-3 sentences about how they could improve animal and insect habitat in and around the outdoor classroom. 


    Have students write one sentence that describes the most important habitat feature in their outdoor classroom. Extension: why is it the most important?

    Extensions and Connections

    This lesson can be increased in difficulty by using the 4th or 5th grade versions of the lesson with more complex versions of the text. 

    Students can continue to research animal and insect habitat to make recommendations about feature for the outdoor classroom.

    Students can design and build projects to improve the habitat in the outdoor classroom.


    Habitat at My School 

    Just outside your school building you can find lots of different animals and insects. They can live on the ground, underground, in plants and trees, and fly in the air. All animals and insects need specific things to live. They need food, water, and shelter to protect them.

    There are many options for food just outside your school walls. Some animals and insects eat plants while others will eat other animals and insects. For example, squirrels and birds will eat the different seeds that they can find growing in the area. Many birds will also eat bugs like worms and beetles. Sometimes animals and insects will eat food left by humans too. 

    All living things on Earth need water, and there are many places to find water outside. After the rain, water can collect in puddles or in streams. Sometimes animals and insects will get water that has collected in buckets or other things left by people. 

    Shelter can come in many forms for animals and insects. For example, worms burrow into the soil to find shelter while birds build nests in trees. Some wildlife shelter comes from humans like birdhouses or spaces around buildings that provide shade and cover from the weather. 

    If you want to have wildlife near your school, think about the things that are needed for their habitat: food, water and shelter. In order for wildlife to survive we need to protect the natural habitat when we build. We can also help wildlife by planting trees when the natural areas have been taken away.