In-School Exploration

Provider: Lemur Conservation Foundation

Contact: Katie Virun, Education Manager

Starting cost per student: $0

Additional Info: FREE

Max. Capacity: 40

Transportation Needed?  No

Who Arranges Transportation?

Is Financial Assistance Offered?


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See Everyone Needs a Habitat to view the complete lesson and student worksheets.

Use the Ako Educator’s Guide to learn more about lemurs and gain background information before carrying out this lesson.

All 21 Ako Lemur Lesson Plans are also available to download for free HERE.




Length of Activity: 1 hour

Featured Book(s): No-Song the Indri and Bitka the Mouse Lemur

Lesson Description: Students identify the four requirements that humans, lemurs and other living things need to survive. These four requirements make up a habitat. Students create two puzzles using a five piece puzzle template. One piece represents the student or lemur and the other four represent their habitat requirements. First they draw themselves in their habitat and then a lemur in its habitat. Students learn that all living things have the same basic habitat requirements.

Learning Goals: Students will know that lemurs and all life cannot survive without a habitat. They will be able to identify the four basic habitat requirements (food, water, shelter, and space) needed for survival.

Students will be able to:

  • Identify the four elements that all living things need (food, water, shelter, and space)
  • Compare and contrast human habitat needs to those of a lemur
  • Conclude that lemurs and other living things cannot survive without a habitat
  • Recognize that humans share the same basic needs as all other living things
  • Create pictures showing human and lemur habitat requirements


  • Crayons/markers
  • Copies of Lemur and Human Habitat Puzzle Worksheets (one per student)
  • Pictures of animal habitats (for instance forest, desert, grassland, tundra) that include habitat requirements such as water, shelter, and food


1. Start the activity by asking students, “What do all humans need to survive?” Focus on the four basic survival requirements that all living things need: food, water, shelter, and space for themselves and to raise their young. Guide the class to generate a list of these requirements. During the discussion, be sure to describe the difference between wants (like a bike) with survival needs/requirements like food or water.

2. Ask the students, “Where do humans get the food, water, shelter and places to raise young they need to survive?” As students describe sources for these survival needs list them on the board. Tell students that this is their habitat and it provides all of the elements they need to survive, and that a habitat is even bigger than the physical building they identify as a home. For example, people need to go to their garden or a grocery store to get food. The water that comes out of their kitchen faucet comes from a reservoir or an underground well.

To think about places to raise young, students should consider themselves the “young” and think about how their parents met (and continue to meet) their needs. Generate a list of student answers on the board. You may even want to draw a picture of your own neighborhood (your “habitat”) to show where you locate your food, water, shelter and space.

3. Distribute the markers or crayons and one of the puzzle activity sheets. Instruct students to first draw a picture of themselves in the center puzzle piece. Then, draw one habitat requirement in each of the remaining four puzzle pieces (for instance, they might draw a picture of their local grocery store in one puzzle piece to represent food, a picture of their yard to represent space, and a picture of their room to represent shelter). Make sure each student includes an example of food, water, shelter, and a space to raise young.

4. Review students’ pictures and hang them around the classroom.

5. Next explain that like humans, all animals need a habitat to survive. Although each animal species habitat requirements may look different (for instance a frog might eat insects instead of hamburgers and live in a pond instead of a house) they too require food, water, shelter, and space.

6. Next read Bitika the Mouse Lemur or No-Song the Indri to the class.  Before starting the book, discuss what a lemur’s habitat requirements might look like. What would they eat?

7. During the story students should look and listen for habitat requirements. Afterwards discuss these with the class. Guide the class to generate a list of the four habitat requirements from each of the books. You can also review a Lemur Habitat Poster and discuss the habitat requirements pictured.

8. Now have students complete their second puzzle, this time drawing a lemur in the middle puzzle piece surrounded by each of their habitat requirements. Make sure each student’s puzzle includes food, water, shelter, and space for them and their young. For instance, the nest described in Bitika the Mouse Lemur could be shelter or space to raise young.


What would happen to a lemur if one or more of the things needed to survive were removed?  How can we help lemur habitats survive?


Compare the student habitats to the lemur habitat. Discuss how the habitats are the same and how they are different.


During your zoo trip, have students observe animals in their zoo habitats. Do these habitats offer all the elements needed for survival? How is the zoo habitat similar to the animals’ wild habitat? How is it different? Pay close attention to requirements such as shelter, food, and water.  Where do zoo animals get their food and water?  Older students can compare and contrast zoo habitats across taxa (how carnivores are managed vs. herbivores vs. primates, etc.).


For older students, you may want to include observing and drawing the habitat requirements of their pets, or the requirements of wildlife species that live at their schoolyard or local park like butterflies, squirrels, or songbirds.


Show pictures of other animal habitats. Ask students to identify the habitat requirements in each picture.


Kindergarten Visual Arts:

Kindergarten Science:

1st Grade Visual Arts:

1st Grade Science:

National Science Standards:
Kindergarten and 1st Grade
-Characteristics of organisms
-Organisms and environments
-Characteristics and changes in populations
-Changes in environments
-Form and function

Next Generation National Science Standards:
-Kindergarten: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems (K-LS1-1, K-ESS3-1)
-1st Grade: Structure, Function and Information Processing (1-LS1-2) 

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