Create a Critter Hostel

Question: What makes a school site a rich teaching resource?

Answer:   A diverse collection of plants and small critters!


I’m a fan of low cost/no cost site enhancements that encourage plant and animal diversity on a school site. On a recent visit to the children’s area of the Cleveland, Ohio Botanical Garden I saw this clever bug hotel that only requires some recycled pallets and natural material for the various “floors”. Notice how the structure was placed in an area that received some shade during the day, and is rather close to plants in the area.


When a schoolyard provides diverse plant life, either through intentional planting or the creation of unmowed areas, wonderful teaching possibilities are created. Process skills such as observing, describing, classifying, analyzing, hypothesizing, etc. can be taught through activities that focus on the plant and animal diversity on the grounds.


The “bug hotel” immediately makes you curious. You can’t walk by without at least taking a quick look to see if something is crawling around! The bug hotel can become anything from a story starter to a phenology study. That’s the beauty of generalized site enhancements like this one– they provide the raw material for all types of learning experiences.


Give it a try!IMG_4435

(Cleveland Botanical Garden)

(Cleveland Botanical Garden)


Copyright © 2014 by Herb Broda