Ready-to-Use Teaching Ideas: Social Studies
- Chart paper
- Books about people who work with animals, including Veterinarians by Dee Ready; We Need Zoo Keepers by Lisa Trumbauer ; and Circus Animal Acts by Denise M. Jordan
- Art materials, including drawing paper, construction paper, markers, crayons, and pencils
- Social studies
- Creative thinking
Contact people in your community who work with animals. Invite them to be a guest in your classroom, or ask them to host a class trip.
Write the following careers on a sheet of chart paper: zookeeper, veterinarian, farmer, pet store owner, and dog groomer. Read the different job titles to children and invite them to share what they know about each one. Record their comments.
Collect books about each topic. If possible, bring guests to the classroom or plan trips to learn about different careers caring for and working with animals. Ask children to work together to develop interview questions.
Choose two or three of the listed careers and schedule a few days to devote to each. Work with children to develop informational charts recording facts about each job. Provide them with art materials to create drawings about each career and display the drawings along with the charts.
Once children become familiar with the various jobs, invite them to help change the dramatic-play or block area into a veterinarian's office, pet store, zoo, or even a circus. Gather such items as stuffed animals, costumes or uniforms, and pretend medical equipment. Encourage children to make signs and other props to enhance their pretend play.
Remember: You can include jobs that might be prevalent in your area, such as horse trainers, mounted police, or marine-life specialists.
Family Pet Survey: Develop a survey to send home to find out about the different types of pets that children have. Talk with the group and develop a list, including popular pets such as cats, dogs, fish, hamsters, and birds. Send the survey home, along with a note requesting that families help their children complete the survey. Then create a graph to find out which pets are the most popular.
CURRICULUM CONNECTION: LITERACY
Animals That Work: Invite a guest who trains or uses animals for work to visit your classroom. This can include someone who has experience with guide dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, or dogs and horses used by police departments. Develop a set of interview questions with children prior to the visit. Take photographs of the guest and children. Afterward, help the class create a book summarizing what they learned.
Mary Had a Little Lamb by Sarah Josepha Hale
Scientists by Pamela Chanko and Samantha Berger
Touch and Feel: Pets (DK Publishing)