What is a habitat? If you stumbled across our Build the Change Tuesdays with the LEGO Group, had a peek at our habitat-themed LEGO competition or tuned into our Live Lesson, you might have a bit of an idea.
Most of us know that a habitat is somewhere that an animal or human lives. But what actually makes it a habitat? Imagine a polar bear braving the ice caps in Antarctica, or a fish swimming around in a coral reef. When we think about answering “what is a habitat”, we can think of it as the animal’s home. It is the environment it lives in, but also the ecology that surrounds it. It is the animal’s food supply, its water source and its shelter.
Protecting these habitats is important. Habitats and the impact humans have on them frequently make the news. It might be the direct impact that meat farming has on a population of animals, or the indirect way that greenhouse gases can harm local wildlife, but most things we do in the modern world make a difference to our planet and the creatures who live there. As part of Build the Change Tuesday with the LEGO Group, students are presented with a news article focusing on a sustainability issue. Using the news as an anchor, they are then tasked to create an innovative solution using creative materials or LEGO bricks. As part of the LEGO competition, these Build the Change challenges will be themed around habitats, getting students to create everything from sustainable places for people to live to new safe havens for animals to live and thrive.
What is a habitat to you?
Think about what you like about where you live. What is a habitat to you? You might love living by the seaside, or being within walking distance to your favourite restaurants. You might love being near your family, or the hustle and bustle of the city. Now take your favourite animal, and consider what attracts them to live where they do. Do they enjoy warmer climates? Do they need trees to sleep in? Do they need shelter, or somewhere to camouflage from predators?
If the place where you lived changed drastically, meaning you couldn’t survive there anymore, or all the things you liked about it went away, it would really disrupt your life. Animals are no different.
Once you’ve figured out what is a habitat that your favourite animal might live in, you can begin to think about how to protect it. Although Build the Change focuses on how human activity can have an adverse impact on sustainability issues, it also focuses on how we can have a positive impact to really make a change.
How to build a habitat
As part of our Live Lesson, which you can watch here, we paid a virtual visit to Chester Zoo to learn about building habitats and meet the Asiatic lions. You can experience the virtual visit here.
To keep animals healthy and safe, Chester Zoo works really hard to create all the features that go into making a good habitat.
So what is a habitat for the Asiatic lion? Asiatic lions are from India and come from the Gir Forest in India. This means they are adapted to lush greenery in winter, and drier environments in summer.
They are used to warmer climates, so they have been given a heated rock they can sit on at Chester Zoo, and an inside area and a cave to shelter. This is really important, as lions can sleep for around 20 hours.
They have specific plants that have been chosen to match their natural habitat, and space to go out and find food.
You can find more resources from Chester Zoo to investigate what is a habitat and all the features that make a habitat suitable for animals.
Get started building your own
So, what is a habitat? And how will yours look? Our LEGO competition puts students to the test, getting them to Build the Change by creating their very own habitat.
If you choose to build a rooftop habitat for your classroom, inspired by the ‘buzzing bus stops’, what birds and insects would you want to attract? How would you attract them? How would you help nature to flourish? Would there be specific flowers for bees?
If you decide to create an island paradise for vulnerable birds, what bird types would you want to attract, and how would you do it? You might add golden sand for ostriches to stroll, or activities to engage parrots, or even rivers for eagles to hunt in.
Maybe you’ll focus on human habitats instead. Could you create an underwater habitat that humans can survive in? Will it be a submarine, or will it be a house? How will it be comfortable? How will you survive and eat?
Or will you create an eco-friendly home in the forest for humans to live in? What will your
home be made of, and what will it look like? How will it be heated? How will you make sure it has no carbon footprint? Will it be comfortable to live in?
We have 4 habitat-themed Build the Change challenges you can do, that can be used as an entry to our competition.
- Design an eco-friendly home in the forest
- Create an underwater habitat
- Design an island paradise for vulnerable animals
- Create a rooftop space for nature to flourish
Upload a photo of your finished habitat-themed creations to the LEGO gallery with a short description for the chance to win £2000 for your school, a LEGO treehouse and get your big ideas heard! You have until 15 December to get your entries in.