Box Up Your Habitatby: Lynn Astarita Gatto and Reeda Stamper Hart

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The Envirobox Project involved a total of six classes (first- through fifth-grades) from around the United States sending each other a shoebox containing six to ten environmental samples. The boxes contained items such as pressed leaves and flowers, rocks, water samples, feathers, soil samples, pieces of bark, snake skins, acorns, pinecones, shells, lobster claws, and maple syrup. Once each class received their enviroboxes, the children began their investigations to identify the samples. Exchanging environmental samples from diverse regions of the United States proved to be the impetus for true inquiry amongst students.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (4)
  • on Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:17 PM

After reading this intriguing article by Gatto and Hart, I was so interested in this and emailed my host teacher to let her know about it. What a neat idea and great way for children to learn about different parts of the state and country! I have already thought of a few different ways to modify it. For instance, in you own state! Great hands-on activity that is sure to tach your students about life science!

Caroline Bellant
Caroline Bellant

  • on Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:46 PM

I can't believe what a fantastic idea "Box Up Your Habitat" is! I have had people help me collect soil from all over the US, but this takes it to a whole new level! The best thing about this idea is that it covers all areas of my 4th grade curriculum. We could use the project for writing, science, social studies and even math. I can't wait to do this with my class this year!


  • on Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:27 PM

My creative juices went into overdrive when I was reading this article. While designed for elementary school students, I can see a lot of potential for my freshman and sophomore biology students. Boxes containing pressed leaves & flowers, rocks, water & soil samples, etc, from unique habitats were shared among six schools. Students evaluated specimens from their own area to determine what would be the best samples to send. Once receiving their habitat boxes, they studied the specimens to determine what the areas were like.

Ruth Hutson  (Westmoreland, KS)
Ruth Hutson (Westmoreland, KS)

  • on Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:32 PM

I think that this activity is a great way for students to get involved in learning about habitats. This also shows students the different environmental samples from homes within the same district. The students will be able to explore the differences and similarities of their own back yards.

April Chaney
April Chaney

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