Exploring How Animals Survive in our Garden

Part of the "Forts and Garden Homes" Collection


Students will observe the garden or schoolyard and dig in the soil to look for evidence of animals that live there; investigate the specific survival needs of those particular animals; and determine whether they are all met in the garden.

Estimated Time

45 Minutes - 1 Hour

Setting Required



  • S1L1b. Students will ask questions to compare and contrast the basic needs of plants (air, water, light, and nutrients) and animals (air, water, food, and shelter).
  • S1L1c. Students will design a solution to ensure that a plant or animal has all of it’s needs met.


  • Whiteboard or easel, markers
  • Journals or 8.5×11 copy paper (1 per student)
  • Coloring supplies (enough for each student)
  • Hand lenses or other magnifying tools
  • Trowels


  1. As a whole group, ask students what animals they think may live in or near the school garden – considering those that live above ground and below ground.
  2. Send students on an exploration of the outdoor space to find evidence of animal life (reminding students of expectations, boundaries, and the call back). Students could be equipped with trowels to look underground as well. They should record what they find in their journals (tracks, chewed leaves, eggs, scat, webs, actual animal sightings).
  3. As a whole group, students can share the evidence they found of animal life. These findings can be recorded on a board for all students to view.
  4. Then consider with the group, for each of the animals we found evidence of, does our garden provide them with air, water, food, and shelter? Brainstorm with students what they can do to ensure that our animals have plenty of air, water, food, and shelter. For example, for the birds in the garden, bird baths, bird feeders, and bird houses could be added to the space. Consider also that shelter in large part means safety and that our behavior in the garden can ensure that the animals have a safe shelter.