Although this is an art blog, I posted a lesson back in 2017 (see it HERE) that was taught by an amazing Science teacher (and friend!) at my school. I posted about it because it is such a creative project full of detail and artistic elements. Little did I know it would become one of my top viewed posts (over 85,000 views).
This is a lesson I look forward to every year. Grade 6 Science students construct large scale forest tower habitats out of boxes. Many of these are over 4 feet tall!
They are essentially stacked boxes (some are made from empty photocopy paper boxes which students can collect from the school or their parents' workplaces). Others are made from stacked shoe boxes or other smaller types of sturdy boxes or foam core.
I believe there are about three choices for types of forest: Deciduous forest, Boreal (Coniferous) forest and Tropical Rainforest. Students need to include four layers: canopy, understory, shrubbery and forest floor. They also need to include abiotic factors (sun, clouds).
Then the insides are covered with construction paper and/or painted in some way. Each layer represents a different layer of the chosen habitat. I teach some of these kids Art so it's interesting to see how they approached this project and what materials and techniques they used.
Materials used within each box range from handmade items to store-bought items: Cardboard tubes for trees, animals made from plasticine or bought at the dollar store or printed out from the internet, lots of dried or fake plants and leaves, or plants made from construction paper, pipe cleaners, dried moss, etc. All the elements are neatly labelled. They're so fun and interesting to look at! I think the kids did an outstanding job and learned about habitats along the way. Being able to express their learning in such a creative way is really special.
*Important to note- students complete these at home so I know there is a lot of parent help/support with these. They are then displayed at school for a couple of weeks for the school community to enjoy.