Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Social Studies/Math/Literacy
- chart paper and marker
- drawing paper and drawing materials
Objective: Children will create a survey to gather information about the types of pets people have. This activity will encourage social interaction and early-math (sorting and graphing), geography, and language skills.
1. Ask children to think about different types and numbers of pets that they or people they know have. Record their responses on chart paper. Create a list based on the responses and review it with children. "What do they notice about the list? Which animals are more popular? Which type of animal is the least popular? Does their community or the size of their homes determine the types of pets they have?" Ask children to predict what would be the most common types of pets in their community. Record their predictions.
2. Explain to children that a survey is a away of gathering information by asking questions and that they will develop a survey to find out about pets in their community. Ask them to think of questions that would give them specific information about pets: "What kinds of pets do people have? How many pets? What types (Siamese cat, collie dog, parakeet, and so on)? Where do their pets live (in the house, the yard, a cage)?" Compile these questions and create the surveys.
3. Send a survey home to each child's family with a note requesting that they give a survey to a family member or friend who has pets. Surveys and a note can also be sent to families of another class in your school or program. Specify a date for all surveys to be returned.
4. Work with children to create a graph to detail the information gathered in the survey. Small groups of children can take turns recording the specific information. Review the completed graphs with children. What did they learn from conducting their survey? Did their initial prediction match the outcome of their survey?
5. Provide children with materials to draw and write about what they learned and exhibit the drawings and graphs in the classroom. With children, develop a fact sheet to share the information they learned about pets with families or another classroom.
Geography: Different Kinds of Pets. Discuss the type of environment you live in: "Is it a city, suburban, or rural community? What type of yearly weather conditions do you have? What is the land like (desert, farm, mountainous)?" Then review a map of the United States and find a place with a different type of environment from your own. Discuss the differences with children and ask them to think about how pets might differ in that area of the country. If you have Internet access, contact a school in that part of the country and use e-mail communications to learn about the types of pets in that community.
This activity originally appeared in the January, 2001 issue of Early Childhood Today.