Nocturnal vs. Diurnal Animals
State Science Standards of Learning, Grade 1, 1.5 & 1.7
• Students will identify adaptations that help animals navigate daytime and nighttime environments.
• Students will sort different animals that are either diurnal or nocturnal
• Books on nocturnal and diurnal animals (fiction and nonfiction),
• photographs and pictures of animals during the daytime and nighttime,
• construction paper of various colors,
Tell the students they are going to learn about how an animal’s habitat can show us whether particular animals like to come out at night or during the day.
Ask students to think about how they might dress if they wanted to hide in the woods or in the city at night or during the day (What color clothing would they wear? Would they paint their faces a color—what color?)
Distribute a variety of photographs of animals to small groups. Ask:
o What do you already know about these animals?
o What are their habitats?
o What do they eat?
o When do you usually see them—during the day or at night?
After asking a few students at each group to share their ideas with the large group, ask students to sort the photographs onto labeled T-charts by daytime versus nighttime animals.
Tell students that the science word for nighttime animals is nocturnal and the science word for daytime animals is diurnal.
Read the book Where Are the Night Animals? (or any similar book) to students.
As you read the book out loud, stop periodically to discuss each of the animals in the book and what adaptations they have that show us they are nighttime, or nocturnal, animals. Explain the word adaptation and ask the students to share some examples of adaptations they know. Ask a few pairs to share for with the large group.
Provide the following sentence stems, and ask students to predict if an animal is nocturnal:
o I know it is nocturnal because its color is ________.
o This animal eats _______, so I think it is nocturnal.
o I think nocturnal animals live in _____________ places, so this animal must be nocturnal.
• Next, discuss what animals are considered daytime or diurnal. Provide the same sentence stems as above to ask students to predict if an animal is diurnal