Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? Lesson Plan
Students read and discuss Eric Carle's classic on animal mothers and their babies before participating in two related activities.
Subject Area: Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Eric Carle's gorgeous collage illustrations and playful text encourage children to learn about animal mothers and their babies. The story, written in repetitive text using a question-and-answer format, invites children and adults to read together. The end of the book contains a page that provides readers with additional information about the names of baby animals, their parents, and the correct animal group name.
Children will learn scientific information, expand their vocabulary, and enhance their social concepts about animals.
Explain to the children that you will be reading a story about baby animals. Engage the children in a discussion about baby animals. What do they already know about baby animals? Ask the children to describe how baby animals and human babies are similar. How are animal mothers and human mothers and fathers similar?
Animal Vocabulary Cards
- Photocopy Machine
- Oak-tag paper
- Clear Contact Paper
- Sentence strips
- Velcro tape
In advance: Photocopy the pages of the book depicting each of the animals. Glue each photocopied page onto a sheet of oak-tag paper and cover with clear contact paper. Refer to the last page of the book to create a word list to be used for the different animal cards. Write the specific animal names for the babies and the mother animals on separate sheets of sentence strip paper. Cover each strip with clear contact paper. Place a piece of Velcro tape on the back of each word and a piece on the bottom of each animal card leaving enough space so that the word strips do not overlap.
- During group time, read and discuss the book. Then show the children the animal cards with the words attached. Explain to the children that the words are the specific animal name for the mother and animal baby.
- Read each card and the corresponding words with the children. Ask the children to compare the animal vocabulary cards. How many of the cards have similar words? Which words have they heard before? How have they heard these words used? Which words were new words?
- Invite small groups of children to take turns playing with the cards. Remove all of the word strips from each animal card. Place the words in a pile. Children can take turns choosing a word and attaching it to the appropriate animal card.
- Place the animal cards and words with the book for children to use and refer to during work time.
Animal Family Collages (in the style of Eric Carle)
- Several Eric Carle books
- Chart paper
- Finger paint and finger-paint paper
- Craft sticks or cotton swabs
- Collage materials: construction paper, tissue paper, wrapping paper or fabric scraps, animal-print paper
- Child safety scissors
- Sentence strip
- Camera and film
Remember: This project will take several days to complete.
During group time, show the children several Eric Carle books. Explain to the children that Eric Carle both writes and illustrates his books. Encourage the children to look at the illustrations in the different books. Pass the books around so that the children can look closely at the pages. Engage the children in a discussion about Eric Carle's illustrations. Tell the children that they will create animal collages in the style of Eric Carle. Explain to the children that they will first use finger paint to create the background of their collage. Photograph the children as they engage in each step of the project.
Step 1: Invite small groups of children to the art area. Give each child a sheet of finger-paint paper. Provide the children with a variety of finger-paint colors to encourage creativity and individuality. Encourage the children to mix the colors and create designs with their fingers. Children can use small craft sticks or cotton swabs to draw into the paint or create designs with other colors. Place the finished finger painting aside to dry.
Step 2: The following day, prepare the art area with the suggested collage materials, scissors, and glue. Give the children their finger paintings to use as the background of their animal collages. Tell the children that they will use the materials to make an animal. Children can tear paper, cut out shapes, or draw pictures of animals and glue them onto the finger painting. Some children may want to look at pictures of animals to stimulate their ideas. (You may want to use the animal vocabulary cards that were created in the first activity.) Photograph the children as they create their collages.
Step 3: Attach a sentence strip to the bottom of each child's picture. Invite the children to write or dictate stories about their pictures. Encourage the children to share their finished work during group time.
Documenting the process: Share the photographs with the children and ask them to arrange them in sequential order. Glue the photographs onto large paper. Write the children's descriptions of each photograph below. Create an additional language-experience chart to summarize the children's art experience. Create a display to document the process of the art project. Display the first and last language-experience charts, the photographs, and the children's drawings.
Other Books About Baby Animals
Seashore Babies by Kathy Darling
Rich photographs and factual text provide children with information about the babies that inhabit the seas and oceans.
Arctic Babies by Kathy Darling
A beautifully photographed and engaging book about babies of the Arctic region.
Animal Babies by Daniel Moreton
A wonderful photographic nonfiction emergent reader that incorporates counting concepts with information about baby animals.