Unit Summary:

Perri’s Pet Palace wants to offer its customers an enlarged hamster habitat that meets all of the basic needs of a hamster. In this unit, students learn about animal’s basic needs and how a habitat provides for these needs. Students also learn spatial reasoning through exploration of 2D and 3D shapes (tangrams and solids) before applying them to design a prototype of a hamster habitat cage and exercise trail.


Engineering & Technology Connections:

Create a habitat design plan, follow the engineering design process

Literacy Connections:

Use information to create a topic map, make connections, monitor comprehension through questioning, retell a story through sequencing and prepositions, find “juicy” words, identify important details to summarize text

Mathematics Connections:

Identify characteristics of basic shapes, compose and decompose objects

Science Connections:

Learn about animals, habitats, and basic needs, compare designed and natural systems, conduct fair tests

Computational Thinking Connections:

Follow and develop algorithms for thinking about sequencing of events and accomplishing tasks.



Download PDF of curricula – PictureSTEM Designing Hamster Habitats_April 2018

Download PDF of Three Pigs, One Wolf, and Seven Magic Shapes (Reproduced by permission of Scholastic Inc. Copyright © 1997 by Scholastic Inc.) – Three Pigs, One Wolf, and Seven Magic Shapes




4 thoughts on “First Grade – Designing Hamster Habitats

  • January 11, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    I’m interested in doing this with my class, but I am having a hard time locating all of the things that I need. I haven’t looked through all of the plans yet, but an example is on Lesson 1A. It says that I need a large copy of the Animal Topic Map and of Perri’s Pet Store Letter. Where do I get these? There may be other things in the lesson plans that I do not have, but like I said, I have not read through all of the plans yet. Also, on your links titled “Hamsters BLM 1 of 2” and “Tangrams 3B BLM 2 of 2,” they appear to be the same documents. Please help me with this. I am excited to go through it with my first graders as soon as possible. I am also presenting your website/units of study to my staff in a meeting in February based on information that was given to me at a High Ability conference in December.

    • June 10, 2016 at 11:28 am

      Hi Katie-
      We have updated this resource. Please let us know if you have everything you need. We have made several changes as well.

  • March 15, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I just did the hexbug introduction lesson with my students and it was amazing! I am excited to begin the other lessons this week. I am having a similar issue to the comment above that there are several blacklines referred to in the lessons, but the blacklines referred to are not included anywhere. When will those be posted? thank you!

    • March 24, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      All the blacklines should now be up and available. Sorry for the delay. Please let us know if there is anything missing, or if you have questions about the lesson.


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