Sunday, October 16, 2011

Unit Resource Portfolio: Animals

My entry includes Science SOL 1.5. Students will learn about animal’s basic needs, physical characteristics, and classifications. Below you will find 10 days of lessons (some including foldables and/or assessments), suggested books on the topic, and websites for students.

SOL 1.5
The student will investigate and understand that animals, including humans, have basic needs and certain distinguishing characteristics. Key concepts include
a) basic needs include air, food, water, shelter, and space (habitat);
b) animals, including humans, have many different physical characteristics; and
c) animals can be classified according to a variety of characteristics.

Teacher Notes/Background Information
- Animals, including people, have basic life needs, including air, food, water, shelter, and space (habitat). Students do not need to know the term habitat. The focus should be on the items that are necessary components of a habitat, not on the terminology.
- Body coverings include hair, fur, feathers, scales, and shells.
- Appendages are parts, such as arms, legs, wings, fins, and tails, which extend from the main body and have specific functions. Students do not need to know the term appendage. The focus should be on the concept, not the terminology.
- Methods of movement may include walking, crawling, flying, and swimming.
Simple ways to classify animals are whether they are wild or domestic and whether they live on land or in water.


Instructional Plan
Day 1 - “Habitracks”
Students will
- Track animals to discover their basic needs
- Share their animal’s basic needs with the class
First, read the book Wild Tracks! to students. Next, carry out this Project WILD lesson, Students will follow their specific animal tracks on an exploration around the classroom or school in order to discover that animals basic needs. Each group of students will have a different type of animal to track, but they will share in the end and discover that all animals have the same basic needs.

Day 2 - Habitat Foldable
Students will
- Create a “basic needs” foldable
- Label and draw/describe basic needs
Today, we will reinforce an animal’s basic needs/habitat. Students will create a five tab foldable book. Be sure to leave space at the bottom to label the book “Basic Needs.” Each tab will be labeled with a separate basic need, Air, Food, Water, Shelter, and Space. Under the flab, have students draw/describe what each basic need means. Collect and assess your students’ foldables.

Day 3 - Wild vs. Domestic
Students will
- Understand the difference between wild and domestic animals
- Sort animals according to wild, domestic, or both
Before class, cut out or print a variety of pictures of wild and domestic animals. Also, cut out different colored shapes to create a large venn diagram.
During class, have students paste their venn diagrams together and label them “Wild,” “Domestic,” and “Both.” Pass out approximately 5 pictures each of wild and domestic and 1 or 2 that could be both to groups of students. Have children work in pairs to decide which animals belong where. Now have a discussion with your class on their thoughts. Have them individually paste their animals in place. Assess your students’ venn diagrams.

Day 4 - Land vs. Water
Students will
- Create a land or water animal foldable
Brainstorm land and water animals with students. Next, create this foldable, which is similar to a venn diagram. Have students draw land animals in one section, water animals in the opposite, and both in between. Assess student work.

Day 5 - Movement
Students will
- Learn that animals can move in different ways
- Match different animals to the way they move
Using the lesson plan from this website,, discuss different animals and how they move. Now, have students color, cut, and match the different types of animals to their movement (use the linked animal cards and animal movements pages). Assess students’ charts.

Day 6 - Matching Bodies
Students will
- Understand that animals have distinct characteristics
- Match animal bodies together
Print or cut out simple animal pictures into 3 parts (head, body, rear (tail)). Pass out 3 sets of 3 parts to each student. Tell them to match their pictures together and then discuss why they chose to match the pieces they did. Have students paste their pictures together. The website allows you to do the same task on the internet.

Day 7 - Mismatched Animals Foldable
Students will
- Create their own animal
- Describe their animal’s distinct characteristics
Allow students a day to use their imagination. Now that students have an idea of animal’s habitats and characteristics, encourage them to come up with a silly, mixed-up animal and its habitat. Color, paint, or cut and paste. Help students describe their animal and have them present to the class.

Day 8 - Appendages
Students will
- Understand that animals have different appendages, and each has a specific function
- Create an animal with moving appendages
Show students pictures of different animals and discuss that animal’s appendages (legs, wings, tails, etc.). Now show students how to create a paper plate lady bug with moving wings.

Day 9 - Body Coverings
Students will
- Observe and identify animal body coverings
- Sort animals by body covering
Show students this animal covering slideshow, It is long and repetitive, use as many slides as you feel necessary for reinforcement. Show an animal, give children time to answer what type of animal they see and allow them a chance to guess what type of covering it has. The next slide will provide the answer. Next, have students use the attached “animal body covering sort” and sort the animals into categories. Assess your students’ charts.

Day 10 - Webquest
- Label basic needs
- Group animals by body coverings and habitat
This webquest,, provides an excellent way to end this lesson. If you have access to a computer lab then allow students to do the webquest on their own (monitored, of course!), otherwise carry out the webquest as a class. It is a good reinforcer to help students recall all of the information they have learned over the last 9 days and to put it into perspective.

Annotated Bibliography
A Rainbow of Animals. By Melissa Stewart. Illus. by the author. 2010. 128p. Enslow Publishers, (9780766037069). Gr. K-3.
A huge selection of animals categorized and described according to color. Includes not so well-known animals around the world.

Animal Habitats!
By Judy Press. Illus. by Betsey Day. 2005. 128p. Williamson Books, (9780824967567). Gr. K-3.

Animal Homes. By Betsey Chessen and Pamela Chanko. Illus. by the authors. 1998. 64p. Scholastic, (9780590761666). Gr. 1-5.
A book which shares animal habitats using simple text and photographs.

Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!
By Bob Barner. Illus. by the author. 1999. 24p. Scholastic, Inc, (9780811822381). Gr. K-1.
Vibrant colors and geometric shapes are used to represent well-known and commonly seen bugs and their environment. There are few words so children can read on their own. The last pages include "actual size" bugs and their common names as well as a chart stating the eight bugs' characteristics (can it fly? where does it live? how many legs? does it sting?).

From Head to Toe. By Eric Carle. Illus. by the author. 2007. 32p. HarperCollins Publishers, (9780061119729). Gr. K-2.
Different animals included showing some of the abilities they have in common with humans. Includes the author's easily recognizable artwork.

Hide and Seek: Nature's Best Vanishing Acts. By Andrea Helman. Illus. by Gavriel Jecan. 2008. 40p. Walker and Company, (9780802796905). Gr. K-5.
Animals are categorized by habitat, from grasslands to seas, forest and mountains. This is a more complex book that students and teachers can understand together. Students will enjoy looking at the amazing photography of animals around the world.

Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef.
By Marianne Berkes. Illus. by Jeanette Canyon. 2004. 36p. Dawn Pubns, (9781584690627). Gr. K-1.
Written to the tune of "Over in the Meadow," this book explores life underwater. Complex textures and patterns make up the colorful pictures in this book. At the end, all of the animal babies hide from their mothers and students can search the picture to find all of the animals.

The Magic School Bus Hops Home: A Book About Animal Habitats. By Pat Relf. Illus. by Nancy Stevenson. 1995. 32p. Scholastic Paperbacks, (9780590484138). Gr. K-5.
Ms. Frizzle teaches her class about animal habitats from a frog's point of view.

Tough Beginnings: How Animal Babies Survive. By Marilyn Singer. Illus. by Anna Vojtech. 2001. 32p. Henry Holt and Company, (9780805061642). Gr. K-4.
This book describes how difficult it can be for animal babies to survive.

Wild Tracks! A Guide to Nature's Footprints.
By Jim Arnosky. Illus. by the author. 2008. 32p. Sterling, (9781402739859). Gr. K-5.
This book explores the differences in animal tracks, what they look like, and what their patterns may mean. He includes life-size examples of the animal tracks, some on fold-out pages.

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