Habitats: prior knowledge

Find out about the habitats learners already know about or have experienced. Use activities to introduce the value of community science and the contribution of data to scientific knowledge. 

This is recommended as session one of the Lower Key Stage Two Habitats Unit, identifying prior knowledge and establishing the value of community science.    

< 30 minutes


Green skills 

  • Identification and ecology

Step by step

Quick starter activity

What habitats do you know about? 

Challenge learners to make a list of habitats they are familiar with or have personally observed. 

This might include habitats such as jungle, desert, ocean, and woodland. Encourage learners to share personal experiences of different habitats, such as habitats where they have lived or visited on holiday. 

Remind learners a habitat is a specific place that provides all the necessary resources for a living thing to survive. These essential resources include food, water and shelter. Different habitats provide different combinations of these resources. This is why different habitats are home to different living things. A polar bear, for example, would struggle to live in your local environment because it isn't the right habitat! 

Main activity suggestions

Essential activity (indoor)

Nature Park activity: What is community science? These slides introduce learners to the state of nature in the UK, the value of community science and the Nature Park mapping process. It is important learners understand the value of community science. Use this activity and combine it with outdoor suggestion 1 or 2. 

Suggestion 1 (outdoor)

Nature Park activity: Habitat Heroes Habitat Heroes encourages learners to head outdoors and discover the homes for wildlife around them. Using a location-based app, learners will be able to pinpoint where they have found a space for wildlife, take a photograph of it and share their thoughts about the space - contributing their discoveries to an interactive map of homes for nature all over the country! 

Suggestion 2 (outdoor) 

Nature Park activity: Hidden Nature Challenge Hidden Nature is all about growing confidence in learning outside, and developing observation and recording skills. Take your class outside and discover hidden nature on your site, in this twenty-minutes-or-less activity, asking learners to focus on hidden habitats. Explore the hidden nature park dashboard to demonstrate how data contributes to a bigger picture of the types of hidden nature that might be found across the country. 

Top tips 

'Habitat' is a complicated concept. It is important to revisit it frequently. The following questions can be used throughout learning activities to consolidate understanding: 

  • why does this animal live in this habitat and not another one? 
  • what does this habitat provide this living thing?