Lesson 8

We Can Make a Difference - Action, Please!


Lesson Overview:

Based on knowledge learned in previous activities, students will brainstorm actions that they might take to improve school grounds' habitat. Then they will select an action, and plan what will be involved and who can help. After voting, the class will plan to take action!

Content Standards Addressed:

Common Core State Standards


Review what plants and animals need in their habitats - water, food and shelter. Ask "How could humans help them find water, food and shelter?" In their Logbooks, have students draw and write (or dictate for nonreaders) one idea for improving the school ground habitat's water, food and shelter. They can focus on any animal or a variety of animals. Examples: planting trees, shrubs or flowers for food and shelter; creating brush/snag piles for shelter; making a birdbath; building birdhouses.
After each student has had a chance to come up with their own ideas, lead the class brainstorming by asking students to share their ideas. Categorize them under the headings "Water," "Food," "Shelter." If an idea meets two needs (for example, planting a bush with berries gives food and shelter), put it on both lists and mark it with a star. When duplicates start to appear, note them on the list.
Before closing the list, ask for any new ideas they might have.
Prompt with leading questions if ideas slow down, for example, "What other kinds of houses could we build for wildlife besides birdhouses?" (bat or butterfly houses) or "How could we attract more butterflies to our school grounds?"
After the ideas are all listed, your goal is to narrow the list to a manageable size for voting and planning. First, look for ways to cluster ideas (you may need to do this for the students). For example, cluster all birdhouse ideas and call it "build birdhouses" or bushes with berries and bushes for shelter as "plant bushes for food and shelter." Then, discuss with students which of the remaining ideas seem most possible.
Put It to a Vote and Create a Plan:
Let students work in pairs or small gruops on one of the actions from the brainstorming list. In their Logbooks, have them draw and write down the action and the steps to make it happen from beginning to end. Remind them that most ideas take regular follow-up, like filling birdbaths and feeders, watering trees or bushes planted, etc. They should also think about how much time, money and people this action will take. 

Have the small groups present their action and the steps and resources needed to make it happen to the whole group. If a project seems to require more resources than the class has, but is promising otherwise, you might ask them how they could get help on the project if they decide to do it (enlist other classes to help, raise money from the community, etc.)

After all the actions have been presented, take a vote on which action the class thinks (1) is doable, and (2) would help wildlife in their school grounds the most. If none of the projects receives a clear majority (very likely), you have several options. If the top projects are not too difficult to do, just do them all! If the top projects are more involved, and you can only do one, conduct another vote between just the top two ideas.

After the vote, work with the class to make a plan to carry out the winning idea. Expand on the preliminary plan suggested by the small group who worked on that project. Detail the steps and resources needed. Assign jobs, if necessary, and get started!



To learn more about environmental advocacy and how government works, before voting, you might have small groups campaign for the idea they are studying by creating posters, making up commercials and giving speeches. Then conduct the vote, reminding them that it is important to vote for the best idea for the wildlife, not just to vote for their own group's idea.

If the project is large or complex, you might recruit parents or an older class to help. Design posters or fliers to recruit their involvement.


Reproducible: We Can Make A Difference Song Lyrics

The lyrics to this song can be copied if desired. The children will enjoy singing, moving and/or marching to the music. 












School: Three ideas for making our school grounds a better habitat (picture and words):                                     

  • Water.
  • Food.
  • Shelter.

Human Impact: Plan for making a habitat idea happen:

  • Draw a picture of the idea in action.
  • Steps from beginning to end.
  • People and things needed.

Take Home:  Three ideas for making our neighborhood a better habitat:

  • Water.
  • Food.
  • Shelter.