Grade 2

Is This a House for a Hermit Crab?

Innovative Designer and Computational Thinker
hermit crab


Students will use design thinking to build a house for a hermit crab or another animal.

Students will:

  • Understand design thinking

  • Understand empathy

  • Be able to have the knowledge of habitats design thinking to create a house for hermit crab or another animal.

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Design Thinking: Design thinking is a process for developing solutions to simple and complex problems.

  2. Empathy: Empathy is to learn and understand; to be in their shoes.

  3. Define: Define means to identify the issue/problem and solution based on needs and insight.

  4. Inspiration: Inspiration is your why; source of interest, idea, question.

  5. Ideate: To ideate/ create means to brainstorm and come up with creative ideas/solutions.

  6. Prototype: Prototype is a representation of one or more of your ideas; draft or iteration.

  7. Test: Test means to try your idea/solution for feedback; find out what worked and what didn't.

  8. Refine: Refine means to fix and then go back to make changes (if necessary).

  9. Design thinking Quizlet

  10. Science Vocab

    • Living things: Living things are things that are alive.

    • Non-living things: Non-living things are things that are not alive

    • Surroundings: surroundings are the things that are around where the animal or plant lives

    • Survival: Survival is the things that the plant or animal have to have to survive (food, water, shelter, and air)

    • Shelter: Shelter is the place that protects the animal when it sleeps or where lives (tree, cave, coral).

    • Habitat: A habitat is a place where an animal lives.

  11. Science Concepts:

    • What do animals need to survive? food, air, water, shelter and the ability to adapt to environmental changes

    • What happens if an animal or plant's habitat changes and then cannot leave? It can adapt or if it does not adapt, it will die

    • Camouflage is when an animal is able to hide from its enemies by blending into its surroundings

    • What causes changes to habitats? Weather (season to season), fire and humans (pollution)

  12. Habitat Quizlet

To prepare for this lesson:

  • Some possible items needed:

    • Cardboard
    • Straws/ Strawbees
    • Popsicle sticks
    • Pipe cleaners
    • Glue/scissors/markers/tape
    • Yarn
    • Construction paper
    • Legos
    • Pom poms
  • Watch video on Design Thinking.

  • The teacher may want to use the Design Thinking template

  • Read, Is this a House For Hermit Crab. Story centers around hermit crab looking for a shell that fits him best. 

  • Things to consider:

    • Time- this will take around 45 minutes -1 hour. If broken into stations, you could do this for a week.

    • Do you want students to work in pairs or groups of three? Groups past three students are not recommended. 

    • Is this whole group or a station? 

    • If it is a station, it is recommended that you explain design thinking and lesson as a whole before sending the students to the stations. 

    • Will you assign an animal, or let students choose or have them design house for a hermit crab. 

    • How do you want students to share out projects?

      • Flipgrid? SeeSaw? Present to class? 

See Accommodations Page and Charts on the site in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:

  1. Play the video or read the story to the  students:
  2. Discuss Design Thinking
    1. What is it?
    2. Talk about the Components of Design thinking.
    3. The teacher says to the students, "Today, we will be making a home for ____________"
  3. Show Design Thinking template to the students if they are going to use it. 

  4. Go over the ideas with the students. A good rule of thumb is to create a design thinking example for students as you go.

    1. Things to consider for animals: habitat, climate

    2. Decide who you are creating a house for? 

    3. Decide what functions you want for the house.

    4. Use the design thinking template if applicable

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Students can reflect on the project using this document
  • Students can also share out on SEESAW, Google Classroom, Flipgrid or Schoology.
  • Design thinking template  

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Innovative Designer
4a. Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
4c. Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.
4d. Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.

Computational Thinker
5a. Students formulate problem definitions suited for technology-assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions.
5d. Students understand how automation works and use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to create and test automated solutions.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

App, Extension, or Add-on:

Is This a House for Hermit Crab video

Design Thinking Quizlet

Student Reflection document


Talk about sequential order of story.

Students learn about oceans/ habitats.

Students learn about water pollution.

This task card was created by Courtney Conley, Utica Public Schools. January 2020.