- Learn how to obtain information from the Internet
- Write information about one chosen zoo animal
- Draw a picture of their zoo animal
- Pair up and read their My Zoo Animal books
- Compare and contrast different characteristics of zoo animals
- Writing paper
- Pencils and crayons
- Tongue depressors or Popsicle sticks labeled with zoo animals and each student's name
- Booklets labeled "My Zoo Animal by _______."
Next page: "My zoo animal has ____legs." Next page: "My zoo animal likes to eat _______." Next page: "My zoo animal is from _________." Next page: "My zoo animal's babies are called ______. An interesting fact about my zoo animal is ________."
Step 1: Read the book Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo by Karma Wilson. Tell the students that they are going to get to choose a zoo animal to do a research project on. (I have the students' names and the names of the zoo animals on tongue depressors. I looked online for ideas of which zoo animals to choose. Each year, we go on a field study to the Los Angeles Zoo. I decided to choose animals that I know the students will be able to see when we go on the field study. For your own class, see what animals are at your local zoo.)
I randomly choose a name from the sticks and that student gets to choose a stick with one animal's name on it. That zoo animal is the zoo animal that the student will research.
Step 2: Tell the students that the computer is not just for just computer games, but is an important tool for finding information. Go to the computer lab at your school. Consider pairing your students with Big Friends (buddy up with a 6th-grade or 5th-grade class at your school) and have the students research their zoo animals using a search engine like Google.
Step 3: The students (with help from their big friends or parent helpers and you) are to complete the following sentences [or fill in the blanks]:
My zoo animal has ____ legs. My zoo animal likes to eat _______. My zoo animal is from ______. My zoo animal babies are called _______. An interesting fact about my zoo animal is __________.
Step 4: Print a photograph of each student's zoo animal.
Step 1: Read At the Zoo. Discuss the different animals that live at the zoo.
Step 2: Hand out the printed pictures of the zoo animal to each student. Have the students draw a picture of their zoo animals, based on the photograph you've given them and what they learned yesterday.
Step 3: Have the students glue the research report to the bottom of their pictures.
Step 4: Display the pictures and the research information on a bulletin board.
Step 1: Pass out the My Zoo Animal booklets. (I do this in small groups while the other students are at centers.) The students are to fill in the blanks and draw a picture to go along with each sentence. For example, for "My zoo animal has four legs," the students are to draw the four legs. Continue and have the students do three pages on this day and then finish the booklet on Day 4.
Step 1: Sing "Going to the Zoo" by Raffi.
Step 2: Finish the last two pages of the My Zoo Animal books.
Step 3: When the book is finished, pair up the students and have them read their books to each other.
Step 1: Role-play each zoo animal: How would it move, walk, eat, and sound? Compare and contrast the zoo animals. Use the printed or student drawn pictures to sort the animals by color, size, shape, and number of legs. Choose two animals and each day discuss how the animals are the same and different.
*Note: Throughout this lesson, students begin to develop a relationship with the animal that they are learning about. One of my best teaching moments comes when we actually visit the zoo and they get to see their animal in person.
Supporting All Learners
Advanced learners may experience more depth and complexity by learning more information about their animal. They may also write a paragraph, including a topic sentence and details about their zoo animal. English language learners would experience more comprehensible input if they were shown real pictures of the zoo animals. Put the sentences on a pocket chart for sentence building: My zoo animal is brown (include a picture) and it has four legs.
- Go on a field study to a local zoo.
- Create a movie using the pictures the students drew of their zoo animals and put it to music. See an example of a movie I made with my class. (The music was removed for copyright reasons.)
As a home project, have the students create a three-dimensional interpretation of their zoo animal. Have the students bring in their projects for share time.
Have the students write about their zoo animal in their journals.
- Did the students follow directions?
- Did the students stay on task?
- Did the students have difficulty writing and drawing the pictures?
- Did the students enjoy the zoo animal research project?
4: The student can tell 4 out of 5 facts about their zoo animal.
3: The student can tell 3 out of 5 facts about their zoo animal.
2: The student can tell 2 out of 5 facts about their zoo animal.
1: The student can tell 1 out of 5 facts abut their zoo animal.