Grade 2 Houghton Mifflin Reading

Make a Habitat Diorama

Science/Art

Children will make dioramas showing animals in their normal habitats.

What You Need

  • Reference materials about animals and their habitats
  • Cardboard boxes (at least the size of shoe boxes), without lids
  • A variety of art and craft supplies, including paints, colored pencils and markers, crayons, colored crepe paper, colored construction paper, colored modeling clay, pipe cleaners, and animal-print or furry fabric swatches
  • A collection of natural objects, such as small rocks, leaves, grasses, mosses, pine needles, and twigs
  • Glue
  • Scissors

What To Do

  1. Tell the children that you would like them to create dioramas of animals in their natural habitats. Explain that a diorama is a miniature scene with lifelike figures and objects set against a painted or colored background. Use an unlidded cardboard box set on one long side to demonstrate how a diorama is like a stage set. Point out that in a diorama, the background—the box bottom—is usually covered with painted or colored scenery; then the diorama's figures and objects are positioned in front of the fixed scenery. You may also want to mention that a habitat is the natural environment in which an animal usually lives.
  2. Ask each child to choose an animal and use reference materials to learn about the animal's normal habitat.
  3. Give each child a box and tell the class to begin making their dioramas. Remind them to first add background scenery to the box bottom, and then to stand the diorama "stage" up before adding their figures and objects. Each child's diorama should include at least one figure of his or her chosen animal. Give children the options of using cut-out drawings of their animal figures, modeling the figures from clay, or gluing fabric swatches to body shapes they have made. Encourage them to be creative, using any materials available to craft their animals (e.g., pine needles for antennae, pipe cleaners for legs, tiny rocks for eyes, and so forth). Then have children add natural or crafted objects to their habitats to make the scenes realistic. Suggest that children glue the objects to the box so they won't fall out when the dioramas are carried.
  4. Have children present their dioramas to the class, explaining the features of their animal habitats.