Exploring Habitats

Students explore various habitats (forest, desert, water, rainforest, and wetland), investigating how plants and animals survive within them, and compare and contrast the information that they gather.



Unit 2

2nd Grade

Unit Summary

In this unit, students explore different habitats (forest, desert, water, and rainforest) and investigate how different plants and animals survive in each habitat. Rather than just learning facts about the habitats, students examine the connection between parts of each habitat and how those connections are crucial for survival. Over the course of the unit, students are challenged to use the information they learn about different habitats to compare how different plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs. Students will also be challenged to compare the differences in the kinds of living things that are found in different areas and why those differences exist. This unit builds on the 1st Grade Amazing Animals unit, in which students learned about different types of animals and their characteristics, and prepares students for the 3rd Grade Understanding the Animal Kingdom unit. 

This unit uses the Bobbie Kalman Introducing Habitats series as mentor texts. Due to the repetitive structure of the texts, the texts allow readers to explore how text features help the reader learn more about a particular idea or topic. Students also learn how to use text features and text structure to think about how details are connected and to determine the main topic of a section of text. Additionally, students use discussion and oral discourse to show their understanding of texts. 

Students continue to build writing fluency by writing daily in response to the Target Task question. Students learn how to write complete sentences, ensuring that they are able to clearly communicate their ideas. Students also use what they have learned about text features to include text features in their own informational writing, writing multiple pages in their own informational books about the different habitats they have studied. 

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

Supporting Materials


These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Before you teach this unit, unpack the texts, themes, and core standards through our guided intellectual preparation process. Each Unit Launch includes a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning to ensure you're prepared to support every student.

Essential Questions

  • How do plants and animals depend on their habitats for survival?
  • Where do animals and plants find water in different habitats? Why is water important?

Reading Focus Areas

  • To understand details in an informational text, readers think about how details are connected.

  • Text features help the reader learn more about a particular idea or topic and determine the main topic of a section of text.

Writing Focus Areas

Informational Writing

  • Brainstorm and outline before writing.

  • Use facts, definitions, and text features to support a point.

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions.



burrow carnivore coral reef desert depend energy forest floor forest freshwater habitat herbivore lake living thing nest non-living thing ocean omnivore pond rainforest river salt water shore swamp tide pool waterproof

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 2, view our 2nd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Content Knowledge and Connections

  • A habitat is a place in nature. Plants and animals live in habitats.
  • All living things need food, water, and air to survive.
  • Animals and their behaviors are suited to different habitats.
  • Plants make their own food using a process called photosynthesis.
  • Some animals are herbivores (eat plants), and some are carnivores (eat meat), and some are omnivores (eat plants and animals).
  • All living things need energy. Energy helps living things grow and move. Energy comes from the sun.

Previous Fishtank ELA Connections

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Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Lesson Map


Common Core Standards

Core Standards

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Unit 1

Cinderella Around the World


Unit 3

Belonging and Friendship: Pinky and Rex

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