Activity Snapshot: 


Create a map of your human habitat by observing your home or living space and the resources you use to “survive and thrive” within that space.
Using your skills of observation and sensory exploration, you will chart the wild and wonderful corners of your home and craft your own creative, custom maps from the collected observations!

Map-making begins with observation and appreciation.  All animals need food, water, shelter and space in their habitats, even us humans!  Where do we find these resources in our habitat/home?  Explore these spaces, recording what you discover.

You could choose to map the human environment of your room or your whole house.  Where do you sleep? How do you get your food and water? Do you share your home with other living things?   

Next, look to the outdoors and the natural environment that surrounds you. This could be your backyard, your favorite park down the street, or simply what’s outside your window. Which living things live here? How do they get their food, water? Where do they find shelter? Do they interact with other living things?   Explore these environments with your senses, your questions, your curiosity – and then get creative and express that habitat in the form of a map.

Goal:

The goal of this activity is to inspire you to creatively reflect upon the natural world and your home’s place within it, growing your connection to that sense of place and your appreciation for the natural world.

Time Recommended:

  • 15-30 minutes for exploration, recording, and reflection
  • 15-30 minutes for map creation. 

Materials:

  • Paper
  • Writing utensils (pens, colored pencils, markers, etc.)
  • Craft supplies (tape, glue, cardboard, etc. if you’re making a model, collage, sculpture or other creation.)

Instructions:

    1. If able, watch the reference video first to become more familiar with the activity.
    2. Choose a location in your habitat that feels like ‘home’, where you can write and draw comfortably.
    3. Using the materials provided, draw a simple map of your room. 
      1. (it could be the room you’re currently in, or your bedroom, or, if you’d like to expand further, your whole house!)
    4. Look around this space and consider the resources you and your family need for survival
      1. Where do you shelter/sleep?  Add it to your map
      2. Where do you eat/find food? Add it to your map
      3. Where do you drink/find water? Add it to your map.
    5. Look around this space and consider what other living creatures might share this habitat with you.
      1. Do you have any pets?  Add them to your map
      2. Do you have any house plants? Add them to your map
      3. Are there any other plants or animals that might make shelter in/around your home? 
    6. Save this map and turn to a fresh sheet of paper.
    7. Choose a location in the natural environment outside your house 
      1. (This could be your backyard, a park, or if these are inaccessible, the view from your window)
    8. Using the materials provided, create a rough draft map of the natural environment.
      1. Make a figure in the center of your new, blank sheet of paper to represent yourself.
      2. Draw four lines in a + around the figure.  Label them (left, right, front, behind) OR (North, South, East, West)
      3. Look around in this space and consider the resources that can be found here (food, water, shelter, space)
      4. Using your senses – make notes on the sights, sounds, smells, etc, you sense around this space. Mark them in the appropriate place on the paper.
    9. Once you feel satisfied that you have collected enough interesting sensory notes, find a comfortable drawing space.
    10. Using your two simple maps, create a creative, expressive map of these spaces, in whichever style or medium you’d like!  It could be a treasure map leading to those precious resources – an artistic collage of that space, even a poem or a sound-map.
    11. Find a way of sharing your creation with the community!  Through photos or scans or recordings, for example.

Extension Opportunity:

If you’d like to take your map collection a step further, carefully observe an animal that you find in the natural environment around your home. What does it look like? What does it eat? Where does it spend its time? Does it make any sound? Does it interact with other living things? After observing the animal, imagine what it would be like to be that animal, live its life, walk around in its… habitat map. Think about the map you made for you, and create one for this animal. How is it the same? How is it unique?

Closing Questions:

  1. What did you discover in your habitat while creating your map?  
  2. Do you think an animal living in your habitat would view it/move through it in the same way you do?  
  3. How are you sharing the resources around you (food, water, shelter) with your family, neighbors, and other living things in your habitat?

Share with your Community:

When you’ve completed your project, upload a photo ! 

  • You could choose to share the map itself, through scan or photograph
  • You could reflect on what you learned in making the map, write poetry or prose about that space
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