Students participate in fun learning activities -- including a mammal memory game and "eat like a mammal" -- to learn about mammals' characteristics and habits.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Unit Plan:
Children learn about the habits and traits of mammals.
- Understand that mammals grow and change.
- Identify characteristics of mammals.
- Discover how mammals move, eat, and have different bodies.
- Multiple copies of animal tracks, such as a bear or mountain lion.
- Mammal Collage/Chart from Lesson One
- K-W-L Chart from Lesson One
- Index cards
- Six pictures of different adult mammals and six pictures of their corresponding babies (total of 12 pictures)
- Dry cereal, no flakes
- Paper plates
- A variety of fake fur scraps or thin strips of brown, black, and white construction paper
Set Up and Prepare
- Tape mammal tracks on the wall. Search for them online or use the book, Animal Tracks.
- Group your students for rotation through four independent centers. Set up the centers as follows:
- Mammal Memory Game: Students will play an adult/baby mammal memory game. Take the 12 pictures of baby and adult mammals from magazines and glue them onto index cards.
- Eat Like a Mammal: Except for primates, mammals eat without their hands. Students do the same in this center. Set out a small paper plate for each child with dry cereal (not flakes). Provide new plates each time children rotate. If desired, you may want to ask parents if they could send in a class set of the Zoo Pals paper plates by Dixie or purchase them yourself.
- Draw and Glue Fur on the Mammal: Children draw a mammal and then glue fake fur or cut fake fur (hair) to show its covering. They use the Mammal Collage to get ideas. Have available the Mammal Collage/Chart from Lesson One, paper, crayons, glue, scissors, and fake fur or construction paper.
- Mammal Read-a-Thon: Children read various books depicting mammals. Provide books about mammals, both non-fiction and fiction.
Step 1: Before students arrive, tape 15 tracks across the wall.
Step 2: Gather them together to review the mammal song from Lesson One. As you sing the song, display the mammal collage/chart. Encourage them to call out the names of the mammals displayed and name the ones they forget. Tell students that all animals have body coverings to help them survive. Ask: What do mammals have covering their bodies? (fur or hair) Explain that animals use different parts of their bodies to get food. Ask: What parts of their body do mammals use to eat? (teeth, claws) Ask: Do mammals come from eggs or their mother's bodies (mother's bodies).
Step 3: Show students the six pictures of adult mammals and their corresponding baby mammals. If you have not played memory in your class before, demonstrate for the children. Lay the mammal cards face down and give each player a turn to flip over two cards and try to match the mother and baby. If they match, the player keeps the cards. If they don't, the player returns the cards. The player with the most cards wins.
Step 4: Show students that today they will be going to different centers to explore magnificent mammals. Explain the tasks at each of the four centers.
Step 1: Students rotate through the centers in their groups for about 10-15 minutes each.
Step 2: Gather them together to share what they learned. Add to the K-W-L Chart. Use a different color marker when writing student responses to indicate a later entry.
Supporting All Learners
When creating groups, combine high achievers with low or medium achievers.
Talk about the various habitats in which mammals live and the diversity of those places (e.g., whales in the ocean, tigers in the jungle, deer in the forest).
Ask the children to bring in a book from home about mammals or a stuffed mammal animal.
- Complete a picture of a mammal with covering.
- Did the children work well in their groups?
- Were the children engaged and on task the entire time?
- How might I do this lesson differently next time?
Observe how children interact in their groups. Note what children add to the KWL Chart.