science education

Exploring Nature Educational Resource:

Life Science, Earth Science, and Physical Science Resources for K-12

Murals and Dioramas

Murals and Dioramas

One effective way to learn about biomes, habitats or animal groups (mammals, insects, etc.) is to build a mural. Students can research the animals, plants, and/or climate and topography of a particular habitat and then illustrate (or print out and post) the parts in one large mural on a classroom or hallway wall. Building and understanding the parts of a habitat or animal group (and how they fit together in a foodweb) creates a lasting impression for students.

Using the Exploring Nature pre-made murals, students can:

  • print out animals and plants (use them as is or blow them up to half-size or even full-size to scale)
  • color them appropriately and cut them out (these can be laminated and cut out for more durable murals)
  • research their natural history and write each up on provided text plates (or use pre-made text plates)
  • create a background using construction paper or rolled paper dabbed with tempra paint on sponges for color
  • place animals and plants on mural
  • take a picture with your class and email it in to be posted on Exploring Nature!

National Science Standards

LS1.C Organization For Matter And Energy Flow In Organisms
Animals obtain food they need from plants or other animals. Plants need water and light.
3-5 Food provides animals with the materials and energy they need for body repair, growth, warmth, and motion. Plants acquire material for growth chiefly from air, water, and process matter and obtain energy from sunlight, which is used to maintain conditions necessary for survival.

LS2.A Interdependent Relationships In Ecosystems
Plants depend on water and light to grow, and also depend on animals for pollination or to move their seeds around.
3-5 The food of almost any animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants, while decomposers restore some materials back to the soil.
Organisms and populations are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors, any of which can limit their growth. Competitive, predatory, and mutually beneficial interactions vary across ecosystems but the patterns are shared.

LS2.B Cycles Of Matter And Energy Transfer In Ecosystems
K-2 Animals obtain food they need from plants or other animals. Plants need water and light. (LS1.C)
Living things need water, air, and resources from the land, and they live in places that have the things they need. Humans use natural resources for everything they do. (ESS3.A)
3-5 Matter cycles between the air and soil and among organisms as they live and die.
6-8 The atoms that make up the organisms in an ecosystem are cycled repeatedly between the living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem. Food webs model how matter and energy are transferred among producers, consumers, and decomposers as the three groups interact within an ecosystem.

LS2.D Social Interactions And Group Behavior
3-5 Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves, and cope with changes.

LS4.C Adaptation
Particular organisms can only survive in particular environments.
6-8 Species can change over time in response to changes in environmental conditions through adaptation by natural selection acting over generations. Traits that support successful survival and reproduction in the new environment become more common.

LS4.D Biodiversity and Humans
A range of different organisms lives in different places.
3-5 Populations of organisms live in a variety of habitats. Change in those habitats affects the organisms living there.
6-8 Changes in biodiversity can influence humans’ resources and ecosystem services they rely on. has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.

cheetah, tiger, panda, fox, bear, cougar