Lesson Plan

Animal Characteristics & Habitats

Students will explore and learn about the functions of animal parts and adaptations.
Stephanie E.
K-12 Science Instructional Specialist
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to observe, record, and compare how the physical characteristics and behaviors of animals help them meet their basic needs, such as fins help fish move and balance in the water.

Grades 2 – 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Engage

Free, Paid

Start the lesson by playing the following video about animal characteristics:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqdBLwVvjUY 

Then pass around paper bags containing a variety of plastic animals.  Have students take turns to feel inside the bags without looking.  Have them try to identify the animals by external characteristics.  

Next, have students take the animals out of the bags and discuss the external characteristics of each animal and how they would use those parts.  Also ask them to think about how those characteristics could help the animals survive in different environments.


Student Instructions

Pass around the paper bags.  Taking turns feel inside the bags without looking.  Try to figure out what type of animal is in each bag by using external characteristics.  

2 Explore

Activity: Creating

Have students go to Switch Zoo website http://switchzoo.com/SZOLoader.swf  or download the app   to create a unique animal.  Tell the students that once they have finished their animal they need to give it a name and write a paragraph about each of the external characteristics of that animal as well as how those characteristics will help the animal survive.

Student Instructions

Use the Switch Zoo website or app to make a new type of animal.  When you have finished, give your animal a name and then write a paragraph describing each of your animal's external characteristics and how they will help the animal survive.

3 Explain

Activity: Other — Teacher explanation and class discussion

Use the questions prompts and vocabulary cards from the RESCu website to further explain the concepts related to animal characteristics and survival.

4 Elaborate

Have students work in teams of 2 or 3.   Present students with a variety of stuffed animals from which to choose.  Tell them that they will be designing and creating an adaptation for the chosen animal which will help it to survive.   Have teams document their designs and explanations using EduCreations.

Student Instructions

1.  Your team will choose a stuffed animal.

2. Brainstorm adaptations that you could make to this animal which would help in survive in its habitat.

3. Choose one adaptation and work with your team to create this adaptation on your stuffed animal.

4. Your team should be prepared to share your animal and explain the usefulness of the adaptation you designed. 

5 Evaluate

Have students login to the makewav.es website.  Have them complete the activities necessary to receive the Animals 1 badge.      https://www.makewav.es/badge/2904