Sunday, January 15, 2017

Science Habitat Dioramas- Forest Towers

Here's some photos from a project any Science teachers (and Art!) out there might find interesting. We have a very creative Science teacher at our school who often has really unusual projects for the kids. This is a lesson I look forward to every year. Grade 6 Science students construct large scale animal habitats out of boxes. Many of these are over 4 feet tall!

Update: see the 2023 versions HERE.

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. 

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 most 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.


  1. I absolutely love this lesson idea. I recently created an installation about the rain forest in a eight foot long section of the Hallway as my fifth graders end of the year project. It was a great way to teach about science during art class. The entire school had the chance to walk through the rain forest and experience the lush jungle, sights and sounds that accompany it. Any time that we can make those interdisciplinary connections between different subject areas is going to benefit our students and help them transfer their knowledge from one context to new contexts, therefore creating deeper understanding. "The ultimate goal of schooling is to help students transfer what they have learned in school to the everyday settings of home, community, and the workplace" (Beers, 2006, p.14). Lessons like this one, help to prepare our students for the world and help them understand that art is all around us!

    Beers, B. (2006). Learning-driven schools: A practical guide for teachers and principals. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision of Curriculum and Development.

  2. This is absolutely fantastic, thank you for sharing!

  3. Thanks everyone- we have a very creative Science teacher! I always look forward to seeing these each year.

  4. Unbelievably good!! Amazing work & such attention to detail, well done

  5. This is amazing! Do you have lesson plans from the both of you that you are willing to share or anything on teachers pay teachers?

  6. Unknown: thank you, yes, our kids do an amazing job each year with this project!

    JThom: sorry, I don't have a lesson plan. I'll ask the Science teacher if he has a rubric I can post. I keep telling him to make a Teachers Pay Teachers account!