Animal Characteristics: Learning Through Scientific Inquiry

Pre-K - 2nd

Learners study animal characteristics. In this inquiry based lesson, students learn about animal characteristics through the use of nonfiction books and the guidance of their teacher.

Resource Details

Instructional Design
Inquiry-Based Learning
21 days
Rebecca Provencher

Vibrant Animals: Using an Actor's Body for Character Attributes

Students identify and portray specific character attributes through uprigth movement, creating a portrayal of an animal. They use vibrant, upright movement to convey the characteristics and temperament of specific animals. Finally, students combine attributes of shape and movement with an emotional quality or behavior in a full upright physical representation.

Beginning Statistical Inquiries into the Scientific Method: Jelly-Side-Down

Students describe what happens when a piece of jellied toast is dropped off a table. From these observations, students pose a question concerning which side of the jellied toast land on the floor.

Identifying Differences Between Fiction and Nonfiction Books

Students explore the differences between fiction and non-fiction book. In this genre study lesson, students read examples of fiction and non-fiction and identify the characteristics of each genre. Students list the characteristics on a T-chart labeled "Fiction Books" and "Non-Fiction Books."

Animal Necessities

An animal habitat is like the neighborhood where animals live. It's a place they can get everything they need to survive; air, food, shelter, and water. Explore animal habitats with your first graders. In small groups, they create a habitat diorama for an animal they are familiar with, such as a pet. After completing the project they share their habitats with the whole group. Note: The lesson is lacking, in that the children are not learning about animals living outside of the home. 

Shadow Animals

It's not just a instructional activity about animal adaptations; it's also a instructional activity about shadows! Young investigators discuss how animals can use shadowy shades and camouflage to hide from predators or stalk their prey. They watch as their teacher makes shadow puppet animals with her hands; this leads to a discussion on how light and shadows work. The instructional activity culminates in a writing activity, where learners compose a paragraph describing the nature of light, shadow, and camouflage.

Colors in Our Natural World

Field work is a wonderful tool scientists use to study subjects as they are in their natural environment. With a handful of paint chips, learners explore the outdoors to find plants or animals that match the colors they have been assigned. They return to the class and discuss how animals and plants have, through adaptation, developed survival traits such as coloration and camouflage. Then, pupils write a few paragraphs describing how animals use camouflage out in the wild. 

Investigating Animals Through Non-Fiction Text

Conduct a shared reading activity with a non-fiction animal book. Young researchers identify the various text features in informational texts, complete a graphic organizer to compare and contrast text feature purposes, and finally choose their own animal to research as a follow-up activity.

What's Your Genus? Scientific Classification and the VT

Young scholars understand the definition of binomial nomenclature. In this binomial nomenclature lesson, students classify ordinary animals by seeking their scientific names. Young scholars participate in a knowledge hunt using binomial nomenclature.

The Scientific Process

Students use the scientific process to explore events that have occurred in the past such as plate tectonics or how the dinosaurs became extinct. They make observations, develop a hypothesis, and use evidence to test their hypothesis to see how well it holds up in light of the evidence they have.

Helpful Animals and Compassionate Humans in Folklore

Students define elements of stories from around the world that include helpful animals. They explore animal character motivations and use graphic organizers to compare and contrast animal stories from different cultures.

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