Hi there! I teach in Newton Co. (Covington, Ga). I combined the habitat unit with one on writing a research report. I put a list of GA animals on the board. Each student chose one and researched it. I made sure they included a description of the animal's habitat and any body parts/coverings that helped it adapt to living in Georgia. They also, as a home project, constructed a model or shadow box of their animal in its habitat.
I don't live in Georgia, but I think this project could be adapted.
First, I collect all kinds of habitat books from the library. For about a week before I begin the unit, students read as many as they can so they are familiar with a variety of habitats.
Then, students work in pairs, choose a habitat, gather the books about that habitat, and make a list of plants and animals that live in that habitat. At the same time, I am teaching about food chains and food webs.
When the student's lists are completed, individuals design their own food chain. I take a piece of 12" x 18" paper and cut it into two 6" x 18 inch parts. These two parts are laid and taped end to end to form a long 6" x 36" sheet. On this, the students draw, outline in a thin black marker, and color the plants and animals in their food chain. At the very end, they leave enough room for their food chain poem. Here is an example:
These are the young owlets
that were fed by the mother owl,
that caught the slithering snake,
that swallowed the bumpy toad,
that gobbled the milkweed beetle,
that fed on the milkweed pod,
that grows in the meadow where Jessica lives.
The title is the habitat and the body of the poem is the plants and animals shown in the food chain poster. This is also a good way to use the thesaurus to find verbs that are specific and make a clear picture. The last line repeats the habitat and the child's name.
I teach the habitats along with GA regions. My team created a field notebook that we print for each student. We start at the top in the mountains and travel down through each region learning as we go. The kids draw and write about the different plants and animals. I have it saved at school and can get it to you later this month. We adapted this idea from Beth Newingham's website.
Another idea we did was create a wall mural using butcher paper of the different regions. We incorporated different areas such as Amicalola Falls, the fall line, Stone Mountain, Okefenokee Swamp...As the kids learned about the different plants and animals and landforms, they drew them and added to the mural.
I found a bunch of websites for the students to use for research. It was hard to find ones with pictures of the plants and animals and language the kids could read. I finally found one for each habitat of Georgia: marsh, swamp, urban, forest, Long Leaf Pine forest, chattahoochee river. You can see them on my website at teacherweb.com just look for ms. Dunn's class at norton park elem. in georgia. (too many to list here). Also, there was one that has all the native species of animals in Georgia. It showed pictures of the animal and a map showing the region it's found in. The kids loved that site. There is also a project that we used from a website called Gayle's animal habitats (type that in the search box). That has great videos and fun quizzes. Finally we created murals of each habitat. The students drew the habitat including plants, animals, and water sources. They had to label the plants and animals. They turned out great. And other students in the school loved to stop and look at them.
I'm a 3rd grade teacher in Coweta Co. Another 3rd grade teacher and I have written a curriculum unit that contains five 8-page mini-books on the coastal plain, piedmont, mountain, ocean, and swamp regions with illustrations and fun pages. Each book teaches the plants, animals and features of the region. Along with the mini-books, we have resource information and gradeable student activity pages. It's a 65-page book that we're selling for $15. We are marketing it to Georgia 3rd grade teachers because we couldnt' find any curriculum on GA habitats, so we researched and wrote our own. We are working on getting a website up (check by end of July) where you can view sample pages and order a PDF copy online, or you can contact us by email (email@example.com or kimberly.taylor@cowetaschools. org). Hope this helps!