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3rd Grade Science Core
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Where Do You Feel Most At Home?

Living and nonliving things interact in their environment. Environments help living things survive. If an organism is removed from its environment, it could die.
Environments can be very large, like the ocean, or very small, like the fish bowl. Small environments are easier to study than large ones. You can create a small environment using a glass or plastic container. A terrarium is a land environment where soil, plants, and even animals are kept. An aquarium is a water environment with plants and animals.

Living things in a small environment may include:

  • Animals
  • Plants
  • Insects
  • Bacteria
  • Snails
  • Worms

Nonliving things in a small environment may include:

  • Rocks
  • Sand
  • Dirt
  • Water
  • Air

Try It!

Make your own small-scale environment, and see what you can put in it. Make your own habitat. Be sure to include both living and nonliving things.



  • Shoebox (lined with plastic) or a two liter bottle
  • Good potting soil
  • Plants(violets, strawberries and many kinds of houseplants will grow well in most classrooms)
  • Insects(potato bugs, crickets)
  • Worms
  • Snails

Be sure that insects and animals have plenty of air.

Record in your journal four living things and four nonliving things found in your habitat.


Observe your habitat over several weeks.

  1. Did anything happen?
  2. Is it different than when you built it?

Download the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.

Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 3rd grade science core.

Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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