Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Science
- Books that introduce the concept of baby animals, including My First Baby Animals (DK Publishing, 2004; $9.99) and Baby Animals Learn by Pamela Chanko (Scholastic, 1998, $3.25)
- Chart paper, display board, and markers
- Glue stick
- Additional materials to enhance the topic: plastic animals, assorted stuffed animals, pictures of baby and adult animals
- Problem solving
- Social awareness
Try to plan a trip to a local pet store or zoo to introduce the concept of baby animals.
Ask children to share what they know about baby animals. Does anyone have a puppy or kitten? How are baby animals like human babies? What is necessary for the babies to grow and be happy?
Collect suggested books and materials to support the theme of baby animals, and place the books in appropriate learning centers. Use a variety of materials to introduce and reinforce the baby-animal topic. Encourage children to notice the features of baby animals and how they resemble or differ from those of full-grown animals. How do the animals change as they grow? Help children expand their vocabulary by using words like fawn, calf, piglet, cub, puppy, kitten, or duckling when identifying specific baby animals.
Plan a trip to one of the suggested venues or invite an animal expert to your classroom. Work with children to develop a set of questions they would like to ask the expert. Use a camera and tape recorder to document the trip or expert's presentation.
Create a wall display to document children's learning experiences in the following ways:
- Develop a language-experience chart to record what they have learned about baby animals.
- Transcribe the questions they asked the expert, along with the answers, on a sheet of chart paper.
- Record children's descriptions of photographs and include the photos and descriptions on the wall display.
Remember: When developing questions for experts, the young children's questions may be very basic, naive, or involve elements of fantasy. It is important to support their inquiries in a non judgmental way.
Send home a note explaining that children are learning about baby animals. Suggest ways the family can support learning, such as visiting a pet store, the zoo, or the neighborhood park.
CURRICULUM CONNECTION: MATH
Animal matching: Collect pictures of baby animals and their adult counterparts to make a "lotto card" set. Clue the pictures onto sheets of oak tag paper and cover with clear contact paper. Invite children to find the matching picture sets.
Animal Babies: A Counting Book by Daniel Moreton (Scholastic, 1998; $3.25)
Baby Chimpanzee by Patricia Pingry, Chris Sharp (Ideal Publications, 2004; $6.95)
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell (Candlewick Press, 2002; $5.99)