All About Animals
1 Animal Sounds
Discuss and document familiar (cat, dog, etc.) and unfamiliar (rhino, zebra, etc.) animals sounds.
Discuss and document why animals make their various sounds (i.e. warning, attract a mate, etc.)
You can have students continue by having students identify more complex bird songs through a game like Bird Song Hero.
2 Observing Living Things
After noting why animals make the sounds they do we can delve further into those behaviors. Students can learn about specific animal traits watch BrainPOP animal videos either individually or in breakout groups. I recommend the videos on food chains, behavior, migration, or hibernation or you can have them explore specific animals like insects, horses, penguins, etc.
Students will document the behaviors they notice in animals (in general or in regards to their specific animal) using my clues or observations style worksheets. (Students who struggle with writing can document with audio or images in an app like Notability).
Students will then present their findings to the class.
3 Animal Traits
Students will begin by exploring materials in Discovery's Science tech book on habitats, ecosystems, physical characteristics and/or life cycles. This includes accompanying videos. Students will select a specific animal about which they will prepare a visual presentation using an application like Keynote or iMovie to discuss the traits like habitat, diet, behavior, and physical characteristics of their chosen animal.
Have students answer essential questions like:
- What do different organisms look like?
- Why do different organisms have different physical characteristics?
- What is the function of specific physical characteristics of an organism (scales, feathers, plant roots, etc.)?
- What characteristics are similar and different among different organisms?
Throughout the presentations you can create a web diagram for the characteristics of animals either the Lesson Builder or the Storyboard in PBS Learning Media.
You can extend the lesson with 20 questions with the students, concentrating on the physical characteristics of organisms to guess the animal. It can be made more engaging using an interactive display or table.
4 Animal Classification
Discuss and document students talking about the things they remember being characteristic of animals. Try to correct any misconceptions (i.e. all animals have fur, 4 legs, etc.) Then present the BrainPOP classification video.
You can continue with an interactive lesson about animal classification like the one available on Nearpod. Students can respond to the built in assessments.
Once students are able to answer supporting questions like "How do scientists use similarities among organisms to classify them?" then they can look at more complex classification and DNA suquences using Nova Evolution Lab. Alternatively they could play What Kind of Animal Is This?.
Key Standards Supported
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plants need sunlight and water to grow.
Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants.