Animal Classification K-4

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1 Animal Classification K-4 Introduction: The theme of this self-guided experience is classification of animals. Students will learn to use body coverings as an aid to classification. As the group tours the Zoo, they will encounter many examples of each class: mammal, bird, reptile, and amphibian. Seeing these animals will make the lesson come to life. Objectives: o Students will be able to identify and sort animals based on similar or different external features. o Students will be able to identify and understand the differences of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. New York Learning Standards in Science: o Standard 4 (Key Idea 1) Elementary Describe the characteristics of and variations between living and nonliving things Describe the life processes common to all living things Intermediate compare and contrast the parts of plants, animals, and one-celled organisms

2 Teacher Background Information: There are many different types of animals in the world. Many animals look alike; others look quite different. Animals are classified based on their similarities. Every kind of animal belongs to its own group, or species. Similar species are organized into families and other large groups. The animal kingdom is organized according to skeletal structure. Animals with backbones are in a group called vertebrates. The name comes from vertebrae, small bones that form the spinal column. The vertebrate group can be broken down into five smaller groups, or classes: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Animals with backbones can be identified and grouped by observing their body coverings and other physical characteristics. Remember, every group has exceptions, but they need not be introduced at this level. o Mammals: have fur, or hair, give birth to live young, and nurse their young with milk. o Birds: have feathers and lay hard-shelled eggs. o Reptiles: have dry, scaly skin, lay soft, leathery eggs, and breathe with lungs. o Amphibians: have wet, smooth skin and lay jelly-like eggs in water, some breathe with gills, some with lungs. o Fish: have scales, lay eggs in water, and breathe with gills. Warm-blooded and cold-blooded are terms that refer to how an animal maintains its body temperature. These terms can also be used to group animals. A cold-blooded animal does not have cold blood, it means they depend on the sun to heat up their bodies and allow activity. If the environment is cold, they are slow moving and sluggish. This is why snakes and turtles bask in the sun. If it gets too hot, snakes must find a shady spot to cool off. Therefore cold-blooded animals get their heat from outside their bodies, from their environment. Ecto means outside - therm means heat - that s why these types of animals are called ectotherms. A warm-blooded animal s body works to maintain the right temperature for activity at all times. When it s hot outside, a warm-blooded animal sweats or pants to cool off; when it s cold, it shivers to keep its muscles warm. These types of animals are called endotherms. Endo means inside. They get their heat from inside of their bodies.

3 Introducing the Topic Pre Visit Activity: Ask the students what their favorite animal is. Once students have decided their favorite animal, have them begin thinking about what that animal has covering its body. Next take out several pictures of the five groups of animals. Discuss what each animal has covering its body and talk about what makes each category different. o Mammals have fur, or hair o Birds have feathers and lay hard-shelled eggs o Reptiles have dry, scaly skin o Amphibians have wet, smooth skin o Fish have wet scales Next, if the students are K-2, have them work on the sheet Pre Visit What Animal Doesn t Belong Activity Sheet. When the sheet is completed, talk to the students about what groups the animals are in and what animal does not belong in that group and why. If they are 3 rd -4 th, have all the students stand up and have two students come to the front. Tell the two their assignment is to classify the students in the class--organize them by likenesses-- according to hair color. Help the class cooperate with the classifiers. When the students have assembled in groups of brown hair, black hair, blond hair, red hair, etc., point out that the classifiers have grouped them according to the color of their hair. Ask the students to look around at the other students in their group. Are some of them taller or shorter than others in the group? Are some of them boys and some girls? Do some of them like peanut butter and others do not? Tell the students that they can be organized into other groups according to many other characteristics they share--by height, by boy/girl, by whether they like peanut butter or not, or by where they live or how old they are. At the Zoo Activity: While at the Zoo have students visit each exhibit and identify the type of animal in each exhibit. While at each exhibit ask the students to name the animal, then ask what the animal has covering its body? Is it fur, feathers, scales or slimy skin? Once the students identify the body covering see if they can identify the type of animal. Is it a bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian or fish? As the students go around have them work on the At the Zoo Activity Sheet. (Chaperones: please guide students through activity as needed)

4 Pre Visit K-2: What Animal Doesn t Belong Activity Sheet Name: Date: Directions: Color the three animals that belong to the same group

5 Name Date At the Zoo Activity Sheet Observe the animals as you tour the Zoo. Figure out which group the animal belongs to by looking at its body covering. See if you can find two animals from each group: mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian. (Chaperones: please guide students through activity as needed) 1. Animal 2. Animal 3. Animal

6 4. Animal 5. Animal 6. Animal

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