Grade: Elementary
Subject: other

#3136. Thematic Unit on Cats

other, level: Elementary
Posted Thu May 27 13:26:21 PDT 2004 by D. Burnham (

Climates of the world: Which cat lives there? Connecting to Previously Learned Skills
Students will need to have a basic understanding of the world's geography in order to complete this lesson's activity. Students should understand that we are part of a world,
with many continents. Students should know which continent on which we live. Students should have a basic understanding that every continent does not have the
same types of climate (each continent will have it's own specific type of weather or
Knowledge, Skills, Dispositions to Scaffold
Florida Sunshine State Standards
Subject/Strand: People, Places, and Environments Geography -
Standard: The student understands the world in spatial terms.
1) SS.B. 1.1.2 Uses simple maps, globes, and other three-dimensional models to identify and locate places.
2) SS.B.1.1.4 Knows areas that can be classified as regions. Subject/Strand: How Living Things Interact with Their Environment Standard: The student understands the competitive, interdependent, cyclic nature of living things in the environment.
1) SC.G.1.1.3 Knows that there are many different plants and animals living in many different kinds of environments (e.g., hot, cold, wet, dry, sunny, and dark).
2) SC.G.1.1.4 Knows that animals and plants can be associated with their environment by an examination of their structural characteristics.
• Students will use their motor skills when asked to color and cut out pieces.
• Students will learn about different wild cats there are in the world. Students will learn how these different cats live in different environments and are equipped to do so (heavy fur in cold climates, light fur in warm climates etc).
Introduction of Materials and Warm- Up
Art Supplies :
Scissors, Crayons Glue
Activity Materials
Books on climates (children will do research to find out where climates are found on the globe)
Blown up map of the world
Ditto of cats (children will color the cats and cut them out) Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Tiger
Websites for research:
• Students may research and work collaboratively.
• Students need to share materials and computers.
• Students are expected to do their best work
Opportunities for Small Group/Individual Investigation
1) Have students sit quietly in at their seats, ready to listen to instructions
2) Stimulate conversations by asking questions about climate and on the cats we have been learning about. What is a climate? How many kinds are there? Where are the different climates located? How would I find out more about climates? How do cats adapt to their climate? What are some characteristics of a cat that lives in a cold climate? A hot climate?
3) the children will take turns going to the climate center. The others will work on other assignments corresponding with the thematic unit
4) Limit the number of students in the center at a time
5) First the children will each be given access to download, print and color their own map of the world.
7) Next the children will be given books and computer time to access and research information on climates and on the cats we have been studying.
8) The students will locate the five basic climates are located on the earth. The five climates we will be studying are Tundra, Desert, Grassland, Rainforest, and Forest.
9) there are more specific climates but for this activity we are going to only focus on the five basic ones.
10) the children that they will often find that there is more than one climate per continent. But to only use the most abundant climate found on that continent. For example Africa has .a lot of deserts but also some forests. But we will consider Africa to be a desert climate since the desert is the most abundant climate on the continent
11) Once they have discovered where the climates are located they need to color code the map. They will color the continents five different colors. For example:
Tundra: Blue
Rainforest: Green
Forest: Red
Brown Grassland: Yellow
12) Next they will research to find out what colors the cats are on the ditto given to them. The cats are a cheetah, tiger, snow leopard, and lion. Once they have learned what color that cats are they need to color them appropriately.
13) Then the students will cut the cats out.
14} they will have researched where each cat's home climate is.
15) Once they have discovered where each cat lives they will glue the cat on top of their climate continent.
16) After giving instructions to the whole class assign the students to their
centers. The first four will go to the climate center.
How to Accommodate ESOL
For the ESOL child, pair with peers to work with on research. Offer colorful informational texts with photos, diagrams, charts and graphs and ample time for research in native language if possible. Accept information presented in students' native language and English.
The students will be evaluated on their finished project. The work sample (their map) will be a good tool to evaluate-if the child understands basic mapping ideas, climates, and about the cats we are studying. Observations will also be made to see how well the child can research. Is the child utilizing the materials offered? Can he or she find what she is looking for in a research book or on the internet? Anecdotal notes will help keep track of the strengths and weaknesses the child has with this activity. Encourage students to present information learned in their own unique way.

Grade Level: 2nd-3rd Grade

Topic: Exploring Different Characteristics of Cats, Wild and Domestic.
Students will learn to research, analyze, chart and compare and contrast different types of cats with respect to the following characteristics: number of teeth, length and weight of the cats, specific markings on the cat (stripes, spots?) and does every cat purr or roar?

Connecting to Previously Learned Skills: Students should know:
 how to use a ruler
 use a calculator; add, subtract, multiply and divide
 understands that different thing move at different speeds
 the basic needs of all living things
 knows that there are many different animals living in many different kinds of environments (e.g. hot, cold, wet, dry, sunny and dark).

Knowledge Skills and Dispositions to Scaffold for 2nd and 3rd lesson plans:
Standard 1: The student understands and uses the tools of data analysis for managing information. (MA.E.1.1)
1. displays solutions to problems by generating, collecting, organizing and analyzing data using simple graphs and charts.
Standard 3: The student understands that science, technology, and society are interwoven and interdependent. (SC.H.3.1)
1. knows that scientists and technologists use a variety of tools (e.g., thermometers, magnifiers, rulers and scales) to obtain information in more detail and to make work easier.
Standard 4: The student selects and uses appropriate units and instruments for measurement to achieve the degree of precision and accuracy required in real world situations. (MA.B.4.1)
1. selects and uses an object to serve as a unit of measure, such as a paperclip, eraser or marble.
2. selects and uses appropriate instruments, such as scales, rulers, clocks, and technology to measure within customary or metric systems.

 scientist/zoologist clothes
 clip boards
 medical charts, pencils/pens
 calculators
 rulers

Introduction of Materials and Warm Up: Students will watch Nigel Marven's "Big Cats" video clip. Students will be encouraged to dress as a zoologist or scientist and use research books or computer technology to discover/explore specific characteristics of cats.
Large Poster Demonstration: Explain that each pair of students (4 total) will get a graph like this one. Demonstrate and explain that the students in pairs will choose one cat at a time (tiger, leopard, cheetah, domestic cat and lion) and locate specific characteristics: number of teeth, (students can look up info in books or on computer) length and weight of cat in kilograms (in book/computer) and pounds (show students how to multiply the pounds by 2.2 on calculator to get kilograms), markings on cat, (students look at pictures) and does the cat purr? (look up or watch video on "Big Cats").
For all students who need a visual reference, pictures of all of the cats listed above will also be on the large poster or in the center.

Guidelines and Parameters: There are to be only four students at a time in this center. Students must take turns using the books and the computer. Students must choose a partner and work together on the research, analysis and data collection. Students may take turns recording data but only one chart is to be used per pair of students.

Opportunities for Small group/Individual Investigation/ Procedures:
Dress for Big Cat research: Encourage students to dress like zoologists/scientists doing cat research.
Cat Research: Pass out charts to each group (2 groups of 2) and clipboards. Medical chart (for stuffed models of cats), pens, pencils, paperclips, rulers and calculators are already located in the center. Students will begin to research, collect data, and analyze their findings. To find information on the lion, for example, students will use the Encarta Encyclopedia and related websites on the computer to locate the lion's length, weight, height, description of markings, number of teeth and lifespan. Students can also search: National History Museum Cats! Wild to Mild: Natural History Museum Cats! Wild to Mild Habitat.htm and Yahooligans! Animals Cat.htm
or use research books to find information:
 Big Cats by Seymour Simon. (1994). HarperCollins Children's Books. Ages: 5-8
 Big Cats by Joyce Milton. (1994). Illustrated by Silvia Duran. Putnam Publishing Group. Ages: 6-8
 Big Cats by Bobbie Kalman. (1995) Illustrated by Tammy Everts. Crabview Publishing Co. Ages: 5-10.
 Only Some Big Cats Can Roar by Claire Llewellyn. (1999). Illustrated by Peter Barrett and Jo Moore. Millbrook press. Age: 6-8.

and collect data on chart provided. Students will then convert the cats' weights into kilograms to pounds or pounds to kilograms depending on the information found using the calculator with teacher's help. The students will record all information found on charts.

3rd Lesson plan for Thematic Unit
Warm Up:
Read aloud: How Big is a Foot? by Rolf Miller
Demonstrate using non-standard measurement to measure length, width and height. (Example: using paperclips to measure shoes.)

Activity 1: Pair students to work together finding 3 items in classroom to measure length, width and height using non-standard units.

Activity 2:
Compare and Contrast Domestic Cat to Wild Cat: Students examine domestic cats to wild cats and note the cat's length, weight, height and physical description on chart for comparison. Students may use the materials suggested. Students have to come up with a way to share what they have learned via dramatic play, interpreting data on charts making a poster, singing, telling a story, etc. Use attached chart.
Math: Students use non-standard units to compare length, and height. How many paperclips long would a domestic cat's tail be?

Clean Up Time: Once activities are complete students are asked to replace materials where they got them from and bring chart of cats and medical charts to the carpet for large group activity.

Large Group Activity: Groups of students in centers must share with the class what they have learned about Big Cats and Domestic Cats. Students may use their choice of presentation. Teacher acts as a guide to help students express what they have learned.

Adaptations for ESOL and Special Needs: For the student who speaks another language, use pictures on posters to describe what the student is to look for. (E.g. a picture of a lion, label with an arrow pointing to his teeth, etc.). Provide books to research in the student's native language (charts as well) and pair this student with peers in the class. For the child with special needs (visual impaired), provide bright, large pictures for the child to see. Provide audio as well as visual materials on the computer/VCR.

Evaluation: The evaluation will be assessed in several ways.
 Social assessment and Language Arts: Students using language to facilitate turn taking and sharing materials. Working as a team on the activities and in the large group activity. Students must also listen to group discussion quietly.
 Written Responses: Students will document information gathered on chart and graph.
 Math Assessment: Using tools, standard and non-standard to compare, measures, and calculate.


 Nigel Marven's Big Cats Video Clip
 How Big is a Foot? by Rolf Miller
Lesson plan adapted by D. Burnham, S. Chase, J. Maldonado and D. Rodriguez