How to Make a Terrarium
- a large clear plastic container or jug
- small plants (suited to your growing conditions)
- rocks, branches, moss
- plastic wrap
- screen or stocking
- observing organisms
the terrarium will be built and developed in one class period, but the observations will take place over the course of several weeks.
- Add a layer of pebbles to provide drainage at the bottom of the container.
- Cover the pebbles with about two inches of topsoil.
- Place a few rocks in the terrarium.
- Add branches, moss and small plants.
- Slightly moisten the terrarium with water. (Be careful not to use too much water.)
- Cover the opening with a sheet of plastic.
- If you would like to add worms or insects to the terrarium, cover the top with a screen to let air through.
Deviations for different habitats:
1.For a desert habitat, put 5-cm of sand on top of the gravel.
2. For a forest model, put a 5-cm layer of soil on top of the gravel and add a handful of crumpled leaves.
3. For a pond model, add another 5-cm of gravel and then add water until it is about 15-cm. deep.
4. For a grassland model, add 5-cm of soil on the gravel.
Encourage the students to watch the terrarium for changes in growth of plants and animals with a magnifying glass. In a journal, they can note their observation of the classroom habitat, paying attention to such things as increases or decreases in the growth of plants, numbers of insects, changes in appearance of organisms and evidence of how these organisms meet their basic needs.
Have the students complete the chart below to record their observations on the classroom habitats.
Habitat Breakdown Game
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