Wildlife soundscapes

Grade 2 • 60 minutes

Created by Caitlin Davey on 29/3/17


In this lesson students will explore the sounds of wildlife in protected environments and begin to consider how we can restore and protect animal habitats.

Prep Work

The Lesson

This lesson was made in partnership with

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We’ve built a series of tutorial videos to help you learn how to teach Canada Learning Code lessons! Each lesson is broken down into its own video tutorial and accompanies the step by step instructions on the lessons page.

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Explore the material and links in the References section on the right side of this page for additional material about this topic.


Watch this video about wolves (~4 minutes).

Ask: What does this video tell us about [wildlife / ecosystems]? (A: That they’re all connected!)

Provide some background information on the boreal woodland caribou:

The boreal woodland caribou is threatened with extinction in every province and territory. (Ask: What does ‘extinction’ mean?)These shy animals need large forests without roads and buildings to survive. At least half of the boreal caribou have been lost as their homes have been destroyed. For example - All of the woodland caribou in oil and gas development areas of Alberta are shrinking in half every 8 years.We’re making a “wildlife soundscape” for the woodland caribou using Scratch. A soundscape is when we take all of the sounds we might hear in a place, and put them together.

Ask: What is wildlife? What sorts of sounds might we hear in a wildlife soundscape? (Take note of the answers on a whiteboard or anchor chart paper)

Create a wildlife soundscape with your class!
  • Tell learners that we are making a soundscape. Each of them will take turns adding a sound that they would hear in a forest (when you point at them, or when they pass a ‘talking stick’ item).
    Remind them that forests are quiet and peaceful, so let’s try to make our soundscape sound the same!
  • If learners can’t think of a sound effect, they can use a sound from the list that you created (from the previous question)
  • Go through the entire class until everyone has had a chance to add their sound.
    Congratulate learners on creating their first soundscape. Now let’s make one using the computer!

Code Along

  • Open up a new Scratch project at scratch.mit.edu and click on “create” (top, left corner).
  • Point out the main elements: Stage, Sprites, and Scripts (especially the “sounds” category). Demonstrate how to drag and connect blocks.
  • Give learners a few minutes to click on blocks and explore.
  • Go through 1-2 challenges with the group, where learners are tasked with trying to make something happen in Scratch. For example, “Try to make Scratch move” or “Try to make Scratch say something when the space key is pressed” (See the Code-Along Challenges doc for more examples and solutions)


Show the example project so learners know what they are working towards. Ask them what they see/hear - what is happening in this project?

Open the starter project (http://bit.ly/soundscape-starter) and review the Sprites and backgrounds.  Have learners open the starter project on their screens and click "REMIX." 

Use the Solution Sheet to guide learners through the following steps:
  • Animal sounds
  • Change the backdrop
  • Showing/hiding animals
Give learners time to work on their projects, and add as many sounds and changes as they like.


Learning Outcomes

I can use code to tell the computer what to do
I can use events to control when things happen in my project
I can create a soundscape in Scratch

Success Criteria

I remixed the starter project and renamed it with my first name
All of the animals in my project make a sound
My backdrop changes from day to night (or the other way around)
I made at least 1 animal show, then hide (or the other way around)

Assessment Ideas

Have students write a reflection on the effects of human activity on animal life.
  • What did they learn from creating a rich soundscape in Scratch?
  • What would their forest sound like if there were fewer or even no animals?

Show learners how to add a “say [hello] for _ secs” script to provide some context for their soundscape. They can edit the ‘hello’ text to describe what they learned about the caribou and their habitat.


  • Complete a KW(D)L chart with the class (Know, Want to know, (Do), Learned). Ask them what they think they know about habitats (or caribou) at the beginning of the lesson, and what they want to know. After the lesson, regroup and complete the ‘learned’ column as well. Brainstorm and research what we can DO as a class. How can we work towards helping save the boreal woodland caribou and their habitat (or endangered species in general)?  
  • Use this as an opportunity to learn about onomatopoeia (when words look the way they sound - like ‘buzz’). When brainstorming sounds in a wildlife soundscape, have learners think of these words and write them at the front.
  • Define “nocturnal” and spend time discussing which animals come out at night, and which are out during the day. Have learners demonstrate their understanding by having animals in the project ‘show’ and ‘hide’ according to the backdrop.

Suggested Lessons

Intended Province:


  • Subjects:
  • English Language Arts
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Key Curriculum Concepts

Understanding life systems; Needs and characteristics of living things; Habitats and communities; Sustainability and stewardship;

Example: Grade 2


1.2 identify positive and negative impacts that different kinds of human activity have on animals and where they live, form an opinion about one of them, and suggest ways in which the impact can be minimized or enhanced 
2.5 investigate the ways in which a variety of animals adapt to their environment and/or to changes in their environment, using various methods
3.3 identify ways in which animals are helpful to, and ways in which they meet the needs of, living things, including humans, to explain why humans should protect animals and the places where they live 

Media Literacy
3.4 produce media texts for specific purposes and audiences, using a few simple media forms and appropriate conventions and techniques