Animal Activity Plans

See Planning Matrix based on National and State Standards --Sample 1 -- Sample 2 --

Activity Sequence

  1. Gerbils
  2. Responsibilities for pets
  3. Classification of animals
  4. Animal habitat
  5. What do animals eat and drink?
  6. Animal Movement
  7. Seasonal Adaptations
  8. Zoo trip

Gerbils

Exploration

  1. Have students brainstorm what they know about a gerbil.
  2. Show students a gerbil
  3. List observations about gerbil and draw pictures of gerbil

Invention

  1. Share pictures and observations
  2. Make inferences about Gerbils needs
  3. List needs on board (water, food, space, temperature, shelter, exercise, light/dark)
  4. Classify needs as necessary or not
  5. Other classification
  6. Make inferences about how to meet Gerbils needs
  7. Make a home in the classroom for the pet gerbil.
  8. Ask how making and using the pictures helped them?

Expansion

  1. Ask students how their needs match the gerbils.
  2. How their pets at home match the gerbils.
  3. Discuss how the students are meeting the needs of the gerbil each day and what they may want to change. Discuss weekly may have as an agenda item for each class meeting.
  4. Three cheers for all if the needs are being met.

Responsibilities for pets

Concept: Pets' needs must be met by the owner. Planning can help us remember.

Exploration

  1. Review needs
  2. Ask students to brainstorm how the gerbil's needs can be met.

Invention

  1. Share student's ideas on how the gerbil's needs can be met.
  2. Ask what would happen if the needs are not met?
  3. Sample of what could be included in the decision making process
    • Make a class chart on jobs and days to care for the class gerbil
    • Have students describe and model how they will care for the gerbil
    • Discuss how they will remember and not forget.

Expansion

  1. Place students in groups, give a picture of a pet, have them discuss the needs of the pet and predict its care and report to class
  2. Draw a picture of favorite pet and list the needs and how they could be met.
  3. Ask students how animals in the wild needs are met.

Classification of animals

Concept: Different animals have similar and different properties. Animals can be grouped in many different ways by the properties they have.

Procedure

Exploration

  1. Ask students how they can group animals.
  2. Give students animal pictures and have them sort them into groups.

Invention

  1. Have the students share how they grouped their animals.
  2. Make a list of the properties that the students used to group their animals.
  3. Have them group the animals another way.
  4. Have them share again and add to the ways to group on the board.
  5. Review the list and tell the students that they grouped animals by their different properties.

Expansion

  1. Make an animal pictures book with the animals' properties identified.
  2. Ask students to explain how properties are used to identify objects. Ask for them to give examples other than animals.
  3. Ask them how the pictures help them.

Animal habitat

Concept: Animals have adapted to survive in different biomes.

Exploration

  1. Ask students to share what they know about what kinds of animals live in what kinds of places and what properties they have that help them survive.
  2. Have scenes of various biomes and the animals that live there. Video clips, picture books…
  3. Have students list animals, where they live, special conditions of the biome, and adaptations of the animals that live there.

Invention

  1. Share the students' lists.
  2. Add the properties that apply to the picture book with the animal's properties.
  3. Ask the students to look at all the animals that live in the same biomes. What do they have in common? Do they have adaptations that help them to survive? How did that happen?

Expansion

  1. Have students look at pictures of extinct animals and predict why they were not able to survive.

What do animals eat and drink?

Concept: Animals need food and water and eat different kinds of food

Exploration

  1. Ask students what they know about what animals eat and drink.
  2. Make a list of their ideas.
  3. Have students observe animal teeth of a meat eater (dog or cat) and a plant eater (calf, goat, lamb). Discuss the differences and ask them to look at their gerbil's teeth and see what they can conclude.
  4. Bring a caterpillar and some leaves on a branch, put in clear cage, cover with cheesecloth, assign jobs to bring new leaves and keep cage clean.

Invention

  1. Share ideas about the caterpillar observation and add all ideas to the students' picture book. If a caterpillar page wasn't in it add one and other animals as students' desire.

Expansion

  1. Have students look for pictures of other animals and find different ways that that they use food and water.
  2. Have the students share their pictures and explain how the organism uses food and water.

Animal Movement

Concept: Animals can be classified by movement.

Exploration

  1. Ask students what do animals move.
  2. Make a list of what moves and what the purpose for the movement is.
  3. Observe real live animals or video clips and closely watch what and how body parts move. Include fish-fins, birds-wings, dogs-legs, kangaroo-legs, worm-body, …

Invention

  1. Record all information on the chart (animal, body part that moves, movement direction is)
  2. Have students pantomime animals and the class guesses what it is.
  3. Ask students how they classified. Ask them how classification helps them.

Expansion

  1. Have student add to the chart as they desire and add more ideas to their book.
  2. Have students pantomime animals and the class guesses what it is.
  3. Ask them what else they could classify and how it would help.

Seasonal Adaptations

Concept: Animals survive seasonal changes by different adaptations (migrating, hibernating, seeking shelter, special body parts…). Seasons are cyclical and can cause extreme weather differences.

Exploration

  1. Ask students to list ways that they know that animals survive seasonal changes.
  2. Get a bird feeder and place outside of window and keep a fall, winter, and spring chart of the bird visitors.
  3. Show students pictures of seasons and have them arrange in appropriate order.
  4. Show students pictures of an animal in its environment during a particular season and see if they can identify properties to suggest how the animal adapts (Birds - Robins Cardinals, butterflies-Monarch, earthworms, deer, fish, frogs, turtles, snakes, people, cows, buffalo).

Invention

  1. Add ideas to a chart and animal book.
  2. Ask students to explain what they have recorded.
  3. What does it tell you about animals? Ask them where each animal may be during a particular month and why.

Expansion

  1. Ask students like how many times will a bird visit Texas in two years? When will you see Robins in the spring? Why? Ask if a monarch butterfly flies to Mexico, when do you think it would leave here?

Zoo trip

Exploration

  1. Ask students what they will see in a zoo that will be the same as what they learned in class about animals.
  2. List the students' ideas on a chart.
  3. Go to a zoo and have students draw pictures, take notes, video record animals…

Invention

  1. Discuss zoo trip and the properties of the different animals. Chart similarities and differences for each animal that is in the wild or the zoo. Add ideas to the class picture book as desired.

Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©