Ready-To-Use Teaching Activity: Science
- Books that introduce the concept of animal names, including Animal ABC by Garth Williams and Into the A, B, Sea: An Ocean Alphabet by Deborah Lee Rose, along with nonfiction books about animals
- Globe or world map
- Drawing paper, markers, crayons, or colored pencils
- Chart paper
- Old magazines
- Fine motor
- Creative thinking
On small, individual pieces of paper, write the letters of the alphabet from A to Z. Fold each piece of paper and place in a container or hat.
Write the heading "Animals From A to Z" on the top of a sheet of chart paper. Along the left side of the paper, write each letter of the alphabet in upper case. Ask the class to think of as many animals as they can for each letter. Explain that they will read books to find animals for the letters that do not have corresponding animals as well as animals they may not have thought of for other letters.
Explain to children that each will pick a letter from the hat, and make a picture and an information card about an animal whose name begins with that letter. Depending on the size of your class, some children may need to choose multiple letters.
Provide children with pictures of their animals, as well as art materials to create drawings. Work in small groups to help children learn facts about their animals. Use nonfiction books, magazines, and Internet sites to engage children in research. Use a map or globe to locate the areas of the world where their particular animals live. Assist children in developing simple fact sheets that list information about the animal, including whether it's a mammal, reptile, amphibian, bird, fish, where it's found, what it eats, if it is nocturnal, if it hibernates, and other facts that may be important or interesting.
Ask children to write and decorate the upper case letter that their animal begins with on a separate sheet of paper. Find areas around the classroom to display their letters, animal drawings, and information sheets. Invite children to present their work to the class.
Remember: If you do not have time to do research with individual children, you can have small groups learn about one another's animals together.
TAKE HOME ACTIVITY
Fantasy Animal: Send home a sheet of drawing paper and encourage children to work with their family to create a fantasy animal.
CURRICULUM CONNECTION: PROBLEM SOLVING
Animal Riddles: Invite children to think of an animal. Ask them to create a riddle by describing the animal without saying what it is. Suggest an animal first, though, so they understand how the game is played, for example: What animal likes to climb, swing through trees, and eat bananas?
Animal ABCs by San Diego Zoo (Candy Cane Press, 2004; $7.95)
Nests, Nests, Nests by Susan Canizares (Scholastic, 1998; $2.50)
What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (Houghton Mifflin Co., 2003; $15.00)