Note: this activity is associated with the lesson on exploring ecosystems.

Purpose:  To understand metaphors and how to construct them.

Materials:  Recycled paper, pencil, colored pencils, crayons, marker, watercolor paper, watercolors, and water cups.

Common Core Standards:

English Language Arts Standards

Reading: Language:

Craft and Structure:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.4 (fifth) Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):

Understandings about the Nature of Science:

Science is a human endeavor:

Science affects everyday life; Creativity and imagination are important to science. 

Procedure:  (Discuss metaphors) 

  • Have you ever heard someone say that something was like something else but that something is completely different than the thing they are comparing it to?  Huh?  Let me give you an example, “Her smile reminds me of a warm, bright sun.”  A smile and the sun are completely different things, yet they are connected because a smile can be warm and bright just like the sun.  Let’s try another one, “A tree’s limbs remind me of a person stretching their arms out for a hug.”         
  • Have students practice metaphors with you and with each other. 
  • The definition of a metaphor is a figure of speech in which a term that ordinarily designates an object or idea is used to designate a dissimilar object or idea in order to suggest comparison or analogy.  Similes have the same definition, but use the words like or as when comparing. 
  • Encourage students to choose an ecosystem of interest to them when constructing their metaphors.  Note:  If students choose to paint, cut a piece of watercolor paint and paste on metaphor writing activity below (pdf)  
  • Students can share their work with their classmates and parents.  These can also be showcased in the classroom (see below). 
  • Students can fill in the type of ecosystem in the title of their metaphor (see pdf)
  • Note:  Wetland metaphors were created by educators from a workshop at The Nature Center in Watsonville, California.

My ______________ metaphor





Written by _______________________________

Completed Student Examples

3rd Grade :

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Zoo

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Sponge

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Soap

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Motel

4th Grade :

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Zoo for Diverse Wildlife

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Zoo

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Sponge

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Soap 

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Nursery

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Garden

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Cradle

5th Grade :

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Zoo

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Sponge

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Resort

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Pillow And Bed

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Cradle

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Coffee Filter

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Cereal

Ecosystem Metaphor Wetlands Cereal Rice Garden

Ecosystem Metaphor Ocean Travelling Highway

Ecosystem Metaphor Oceans Soul

Ecosystem Metaphor Oceans Restaurant

Ecosystem Metaphor Oceans Mystery Novel

Ecosystem Metaphor Oceans Highway

Ecosystem Metaphor Oceans Freeway

Ecosystem Metaphor Oceans Crystal Blue Way

Ecosystem Metaphor Oceans Clear Sky

Ecosystem Metaphor Oceans Blue Canvas