Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Stop, Look and Listen
Lesson 4
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


Through exploration and observation, students will gain further insight into city wildlife and habitat in our community.


One Fifty-Minute Class Period


The learner will:

  • collect data and analyze it.

  • compare and contrast how animals coexist with humans now and in the past.

  • record findings daily.

  • differentiate between various types of wildlife.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

None for this lesson.


  • City Wildlife Folders

  • Pencils, colored pencils and markers

  • Lined paper

  • Plastic magnifying glasses

  • Paper detective hats

  • Student copies of Attachment One: Disappearing Habitat Chart

  • Student copies of Attachment Two: Wildlife Dangers Chart

  • Student copies of Attachment Three: Natural Habitats and City Habitats Chart

Handout 1
Disappearing Habitat Chart
Handout 2
Wildlife Dangers Chart
Handout 3
Natural Habitats and City Habitats Chart

Instructional Procedure(s):

Hold up an object for the class to see such as a child’s beloved T-shirt or stuffed animal. The item should provide clues about the owner such as how big the person is, what he or she likes to do or eat, and how she or he feels about this object. Ask the students to be detectives and tell you what they can about the object or the person who owns this object. Tell the students that they are going to be wildlife detectives in today’s lesson.

  • Give the students the three handouts. The students will use these pages like a journal. Playing the role of a detective, they will look for animal clues in their yards, neighborhoods, local parks and school. The students write all their observations and follow the clues like a good detective to see if they discover an “animal culprit.”

  • Identify the common areas in the school, neighborhood and community. Brainstorm places to go and talk about why these are all part of the community. Ask the students if the animals are part of the community. Ask whether the animals and their habitats contribute to the “characteristics of place” in the community.

  • Stress the importance of safety when encountering a wild animal. Remind the children not to approach or touch any wild animal even if it is wounded. It does not matter about the size of the creature, keep distance and get help if necessary.

  • Observations can be written or drawn. Children may use cameras and collect things to add to their journals (nests, wild flowers or bugs). If necessary, more paper can be added to the journals as children add specimens.

Teacher Note: It is illegal to collect/keep many types of bird feathers. Tell the children to record the citing of feathers as evidence of wildlife, but not to pick them up and collect them.

  • Tell the students, “Today we are going to take a walk around our school to get you started. Don your hats and get the magnifying glasses ready detectives.” Take the students on an observation walk around the school grounds. Guide them on their first entries so they know what to do when they get home.

  • The students add to these journal pages for a few days with the help of their families. Give your students your expectations for the number of entries they complete. Attachment One: Disappearing Habitat Chart is for the observation of a single site and may not be appropriate for all classes.

  • Student groups continue to work on their presentations started in the previous lesson. Encourage them to include in their presentations some ideas for action to take to protect urban animals and their habitats.


Informal Teacher Observation:

Monitor students’ behavior and safety. Check journal entries to make sure children are following directions.

School/Home Connection:

  • Interactive Parent / Student Homework:

Students bring home their “journal pages” and explore habitats around their neighborhoods with the help of their families.

Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

None for this lesson.

Bibliographical References:

  • McGraw-Hill. SRA - Open Court Reading. Vol. 2, Level 3. Columbus: SRA/McGraw-Hill, 2002. ISBN: 0075696525

  • McGraw-Hill. SRA -Open Court Reading Inquiry Journal. Level 3:28-41. Columbus: SRA/McGraw, 2002. ISBN: 0075695715

Lesson Developed By:

Greta Hendricks Johnson
Detroit Public Schools
Van Zile Elementary School
Detroit, MI 48234


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Disappearing Habitat Chart

Fill out the chart with information about a wildlife habitat that is threatened or gone due to city development. Record information about what has happened to the species that once lived there. Have they moved to a new home? Has the number of a species grown smaller? As you come across answers in your investigation, record information here.


What has Happened to It?

Species That Live There

What has Happened to Them?


Handout 2Print Handout 2

Wildlife Dangers Chart

Fill out this chart to record how your city can be a harmful place as well as a helpful place for wildlife. Record what you already know and add to the chart as you read and learn more.

Animal Name

What is harmful in the city?

What is helpful in the city?

Handout 3Print Handout 3

Natural Habitats and City Habitats Chart

As you read about and investigate city wildlife, record here what you find out about city animals’ natural habitats and what they find familiar in the city.


Natural Habitat

What makes it feel at home in the city?

Philanthropy Framework:

Submit a Comment

All rights reserved. Permission is granted to freely use this information for nonprofit (noncommercial), educational purposes only. Copyright must be acknowledged on all copies.