Grade: Elementary

#2044. Zoo animal facts

Reading/Writing, level: Elementary
Posted Thu Nov 30 06:58:35 PST 2000 by Danielle McCaslin (
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, United States
Materials Required: construction paper, markers, crayons, colored pencils, sheets of paper, access to library, string
Activity Time: 2 hours
Concepts Taught: Animal habitats, country origins, diets, and distinguishing characteristics, researching, writing

Zoo Animal Facts


This lesson would be part of a unit on zoo animals. By this lesson the children would have
knowledge of many types of zoo animals, knowing their names and some of their characteristics.
They would already have the ability to write short papers and draw illustrations.

This lesson will reinforce the child's writing skills and will also enhance their reading
comprehension. They will improve their research skills and will learn more detail about the various zoo animals that they will be seeing during their culminating experience.


1. After the students have researched their given animal they will create one fact sheet naming the animal's habitat, distinguishing characteristics, eating type, country of origin, and any interesting facts that they find.

2. After the child has created their fact sheet they will draw and color completely one illustration of their given animal that will accompany their written sheet.

3. After the child has written their fact sheet and drawn their illustration the students will prepare a two to three minute presentation for the class on their animal.

Lesson Activities


The teacher will ask the students to name some zoo animals that they have learned about
throughout the unit. The teacher will then ask the students to name some animals that they have
not learned about, but that they would like to learn about. (The teacher would have a power point presentation ready that would go along with this introduction and that would also include a sample fact sheet. This sample would just give the students an idea of what needed to be done.) After the students have named some animals the teacher would show a list of some other animals through the power point. If there were any that the students named that the teacher did not have on her list then she could list them on the chalkboard.

Lesson Body

The students will be broken off into pairs with one group of three people. This will be done
randomly so that the children will be put into fair groups. After the students know their groups the teacher will explain that they are going to create a fact sheet about one zoo animal. The teacher will tell the students that when all of the sheets are completed that they will be put together in a book that will be kept in the classroom as a reference material. The teacher will explain that the duties of this project will be divided evenly. The group of three will be responsible for creating the cover page for the book since they have one extra person.

The teacher will go around the room and assign one animal to each group from the list that the
students and the teacher have created. They will be assigned so that there is no arguing over who
gets which animal. The animals that will be assigned are: lion, tiger, bear, gorilla, elephant, zebra, giraffe, shark, flamingo, hippopotamus, dolphin, and python. (These can vary from classroom to classroom depending on the animals that the students come up with.)

After the animals have been assigned, the teacher will show a sample of what is expected through the power point presentation. This will not be exactly what is expected because the students may not have access to a computer to type their fact sheets. However, this will give them an idea of the content that needs to be included in their report.

After the demonstration has been shown the teacher will pass out the materials necessary for the
completion of the project, and she will explain again what is necessary for the completion of this project. These areas necessary will be the name of the animal, its habitat, its distinguishing characteristics, the eating types, its country of origin, and any interesting facts about their animal.
The teacher will also explain that they need to have an illustration of their animal that will
accompany their fact sheet.

After the assignment has been explained the teacher will take the students to the library and give
them one hour to research their animal. They will have to find all of the components of the fact
sheet using any resources that are available to them in the library. After they have found all of the necessary information and their sheets are completed the students will return to the classroom. (If it is possible the students would try to type their sheets so that they will look more professional.) Now they will begin to prepare for a presentation on their animal. Each group will have to get up in front of the class and describe their animal to the rest of the class as if everyone else knew nothing about their animal. Each group will have about two to three minutes for their presentation.


After the presentations are complete the teacher will have the students turn in their fact sheets so
that they can be put together in a book. The teacher will then go around the room and ask each
student to name one thing that they learned about any animal besides the one that they researched
to show that they have paid attention to all of the work done that day. The teacher would wrap
everything up by telling the students that all animals are different from one another. Some of them may have similar characteristics, but they are not exactly alike. They are just like humans in that way.


This lesson would be used as part of a unit on zoo animals. It would be at the end of the unit after the students have studied the various types of animals and know characteristics of them. This would be an added lesson that would give the students a chance to cover any animal that they wanted to learn about, but that was not covered in the previous lessons. The purpose of this book that will be created is not only a reference guide for them in the classroom, but it could also be taken with them on a trip to the zoo. The trip to the zoo would be the culminating experience of the zoo animal unit. The students could each have a copy of the book and they could use it as an added supplement while walking around observing the animals at the zoo.

Useful Websites

These sites have other lessons that could be used along with this lesson to help teach zoo animals to the students. They also have information that could be taken to give ideas to modify or aid this lesson.