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Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

If I Ran the Zoo

Subject Area

Arts Education




This learning activity should be used after a lesson or unit on animals native to Alabama and their habitats. The teacher will read the book If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss or use the digital resource as a read-aloud of the book. The students will then work with a partner to pretend like they are in charge of the zoo and need to build a new animal habitat for an animal native to Alabama. The students will create a drawing of a habitat for an animal native to Alabama.

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

    Science (2015) Grade(s): KG


    Construct a model of a natural habitat (e.g., terrarium, ant farm, diorama) conducive to meeting the needs of plants and animals native to Alabama.

    Unpacked Content



    • Construct
    • Model
    • Natural
    • Habitat
    • Conducive
    • Needs
    • Plants
    • Animals
    • Native
    • Alabama


    Students know:
    • Needs of plants and animals native to Alabama.
    • How to construct a model of a natural habitat and can identify and describe the components of the model
    • Places where the different plants and animals live.
    • The relationship between where plants and animals live and the resources those places provide


    Students are able to:
    • Construct a model of interactions that occur in a natural habitat.
    • Use a model to represent and describe the relationships between the components.


    Students understand that:
    • Systems in the natural environments of Alabama have parts that work together and can be represented.

    Scientific and Engineering Practices

    Developing and Using Models

    Crosscutting Concepts

    Systems and System Models
    Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): KG - Visual Arts


    Explore collaboratively in creative art-making.

    Unpacked Content



    • Art
    • Artwork
    • Collaboratively
    • Collage
    • Cool colors
    • Warm colors
    • Elements of Art
      • Color
      • Line
      • Shape
    • Imaginative play
    • Play
    • Portfolio
    • Primary colors
    • Principles of design
      • Pattern
    • Printmaking

    Essential Questions

    EU: Artists and designers shape artistic investigations, following or breaking with traditions in pursuit of creative artmaking goals.
    EQ: How does knowing the contexts, histories, and traditions of art forms help create works of art and design? Why do artists follow or break from established traditions? How do artists determine what resources and criteria are needed to formulate artistic investigations?

    Skills Examples

    • Create two-dimensional artworks using finger painting, watercolors, paper collage, and rubbings.
    • Create three-dimensional artworks using techniques such as rolling, folding, cutting, molding, pinching, and pulling clay.
    • Work with a partner to create works of art.
    • Working in small groups, use recycled materials to create artworks.
    • Explore the books Why is Blue Dog Blue? by G. Rodrigue and My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss to understand color meanings and moods.
    • Read the book Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman to explore different styles of line.
    • Safely use and share scissors, pencils, crayons, markers, glue, paints, paintbrushes, and clay.
    • Use symbols to help tell a personal or make-believe story.
    • Manipulate art media to create textures and patterns.
    • Identify and use organic and geometric shapes to create works of art.
    • Show respect for self and others while making and viewing art.
    • Use the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) to create a free-style painting while singing the names of the colors.
    • Use patterns in designing colored stripes on the shirt of a person you know.
    • Collect found objects such as paper tubes, forks, and pieces of cardboard. Press them in shallow tempera paint, and stamp them on paper to show printmaking.
    • Create a T-chart that separates cool (blue, green, and purple) and warm (red, yellow, and orange) colors in different columns. Use the symbols of water waves for the cool column header and the sun for the warm column header.
    • Work with a partner to find colors, lines, and shapes in art and tell each other what you see.

    Anchor Standards

    Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    I can work with a partner to draw the natural habitat of an animal native to Alabama.


    Activity Details

    This learning activity is best used after a unit or lesson on animals and their natural habitats. 

    The teacher will read the book If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss or use the digital copy of the book. Ask the students: "What do you think it would be like to run a zoo?" "What are some of the responsibilities of the zookeeper?"

    The students will pretend to run the zoo by building a habitat for a new animal with a partner. Review with the students the basic needs all animals have in their habitats: food, water, shelter, and space. Assign an animal native to Alabama to each partner group (golden eagle, beaver, bobcat, skunk, etc.). Instruct the students to come up with a plan for their drawing of the habitat. With a partner, the students will create a drawing of a new enclosure at the zoo for their assigned animal. Remind the students that as the zookeeper, they are in charge of making sure the zoo enclosure is just like the animal's natural habitat. The drawing of the animal's habitat must include food, water, shelter, and space. 

    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    The drawing of the natural habitat of the animal must include food, water, shelter, and space.

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    The teacher must have a copy of the book If I Ran a Zoo by Dr. Seuss or a way to display the digital copy of the book. The students should have prior knowledge of animals native to Alabama and the needs of a habitat. The students will need art supplies to complete their drawing. The teacher will need to pre-select partnerships.

    Digital Tools / Resources