The Scoop on Habitat

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Some aquatic organisms live in open water, while some live in soil at the bottom of a body of water. In this outdoor activity, learners will build a scoop to observe creatures living in soil, and create a new habitat for aquatic life. After pouring the sample on a tarp or wax paper, learners are encouraged to make observations of creatures hiding in the sediment before return the sample to the water within 10 minutes. Step-by-step instructions are included with photos along with safety recommendations. Activity guide includes a "What's going on?" explanation and relevant connections to natural & artificial habitats and sampling.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Large plastic bottle, with a handle and a lid that closes
  • Dark permanent/waterproof marker
  • Utility knife
  • 0.5 kg (1 pound) of rocks
  • Rope or string
  • Tarp or wax paper
  • Waterproof boots or shoes (optional)
  • Magnifying glass (optional)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
      • Biosphere
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity


Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DIY Science Apps


  • , The Regents of the University of California, 2015

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, DRL1114663