Grade: all
Subject: Science

#3435. Animal Unit (10 Day)

Science, level: all
Posted Fri Mar 18 18:59:13 PST 2005 by Jo Martin (
Crippen Elementary,
Materials Required: various
Activity Time: 10 days 30 min + lessons
Concepts Taught: Animal classes, habitats, defenses

2nd Grade Animal Unit
By Jo Martin
Spring 2005
TEKS (2.6) Science concepts. The student knows that systems have parts and are composed of organisms and objects.
(D) observe and record the functions of animal parts.

TEKS (2.8) Science concepts. The student distinguishes between living organisms and nonliving objects.
A) identify characteristics of living organisms; and
TEKS (2.9) Science concepts. The student knows that living organisms have basic needs.
(A) identify the external characteristics of different kinds of plants and animals that allow their needs to be met; and
(B) compare and give examples of the ways living organisms depend on each other and on their environments.

This is a lot of information jam packed in a 10 day unit. But it meets the TEKS and is fun. When we teach the unit on plants, we will talk more about plant and animal interaction and food chains.

Disclaimer: I have been teaching many years, so the ideas are recycled. If anyone sees their original idea in my unit, I would like to give you credit. Please e-mail me with comments at

Day 1 Vertebrates and Invertebrates

Focus: Stuffed animals of every class. Show the dog, bird, fish, alligator, frog and say, these DO. Show the spider, butterfly and lobster and say these DO NOT. About 98% of the worlds animals DO NOT

Venn Diagram a dog and a bird. Make sure that for both, you add, have a backbone.
Show the model of the backbone. Can be made with yarn and spools, or a cut up straw.

Read Harcort Science text A25-A29 to introduce what we will be studying. Write vocab on word wall.

Give groups of students pictures from each animal class to sort. Make sure to include some invertebrates such as jellyfish, worms, insects, crustaceans, arachnids, and mollusks. Alternative: Give each student a worksheet with all different classes of several types of animals to cut and glue onto a T-chart V Vertabrates and Invertabrates. Students should discuss their choices with each other.

Match animal pictures with word descriptions (Cut and glue) for a pre-assessment.

Independent Practice: Workbook p. WB9 and SuperBook Grade 2 W.S. 186

Homework: Read Tylers Trip to the Farm and bring in an empty 2 Liter soda bottle.

Day 2 Animal Life Cycles

Focus: Read Ruth Hellers Chicken Arent the Only Ones and Animals Born Alive and Well. Show the live meal worms tell them that they will not remain in this larva state, but will change as animals do. We will continue to observe the meal worms and record any changes that take place in the next couple of weeks. Transparency Skill Tip A2-2 using lenses for observation.

Read Harcourt Science Text pp. A31-A35

Put the Pictures in Order W.S. Partner cut out and student will glue life cycle in order.

Independent Practice: Workbook p. WB11

Day 3 Mammals

Focus: Pass around a fur, and ask students what is on their arm that is like the fur.

Use a puppet or stuffed animal of examples of mammals. I am a mammal because I have hair or fur, I feed milk to my young, and my babies do not come from eggs. My babies look a lot like me, just smaller. I am warm blooded and a vertebrate. Write the traits of the mammal on chart paper.

Students will find other examples of mammals in magazines. Students should be able to describe the characteristics of the animal that make it a mammal. They may refer to the chart paper.

Glue the magazine pictures to a mural that is divided by all of the animal classes.

Day 4 Birds

Focus: Pass around different types of feathers. This is a clue as to the class of animal we will talk about today.

Discuss that birds have different features, and ask why they think that is. Discuss different habitats and foods that birds might eat. But all birds: Lay eggs, are warm blooded, have feathers, have beaks, and have 2 feet. lesson on beaks and feet
introduces descriptions of beaks and feet, listing the functions for each. Look at the pictures of each bird and decide probable diet and probable habitat.

1) Best beak? Materials: plastic spoons, chopsticks, clothespins, tweezers, popscicle sticks to be used to pick up marbles, marshmellows, popcorn, yarn, etc. . .
2) The Inside Eggs-pose Magic School Bus experiment with cracking a raw egg and making observations. Lab sheet from
3) Eggs-porous Investigation Students will observe whether a raw or cooked egg will sink or float. During the investigation the student should observe bubbles coming out of an egg. (The baby needs air inside the egg)
4) Whats a gizzard? Put lettuce in a baby food jar with rocks, and lettuce in a jar without rocks. Shake them up and see what happens with digestion in a birds body. (Birds eat dirt and rocks, which are contained in the gizzard to aid in digestion).
5) Find bird pictures to add to the animal mural.

Day 5 Fish

Focus: Read A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer

Show fish power point.

Use transparency What is a fish to show traits of fish.
A fish has a backbone, so it is a vertebrate. A fish is cold blooded. A fish breathes with gills. A fish lives in water. A fish has fins and most fish have scales. (Use sequins to mimic scales).

Read Harcourt Science Text about fresh and salt water pp. B15-B19

Discuss how different fish have different body shapes. Draw conclusions as to why.
Find fish pictures in magazines to add to the animal mural.

Fish Art using a 2 liter bottle. The neck of the bottle is the fish mouth. Using a Sharpie, students trace favorite tail from Fish Body Shape transparency onto the 2 liter bottle. Cut out the traced body. Color the inside of the bottle with gel pens, or colored sharpies, or paint pens. Staple the tail together and hang from the ceiling.

Homework: Read Amy Goes Fishing

Day 6 Amphibians

Focus: Riddle- I am an animal that can live in water and on land. What am I?
Tadpoles V observe them using hand lenses.
Frog and Toad Poem

Amphibians often have smooth, wet skin. (simulate by using wax paper) They have gills when they are young and lungs when they are adults. Frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders are amphibians.

Amphibian identification worksheet.

Simulate a frog using white construction paper for the underside and green construction paper for the top of the frog. Students go outside. The teacher will hold up the frog model in the air so the students can imagine that they are small insects looking up at the underside of the frog. Discuss how it blends in as the sky. Now place the frog on the ground so the students can pretend to be a large bird flying in the sky. What does the bird think the frog is?

Discuss the lifecycle of the frog. Students will demonstrate this by drawing or using a cut and glue activity sheet.

Find amphibian pictures from magazines to place on the animal mural.

Day 7 Reptiles (Animal Defenses)

Focus: Video clip from The Crocodile Hunter (Steve Irwin) and the stuffed alligator.

Reptiles usually have scales and dry, rough skin. (NOT SLIMEY) They are cold blooded.
Some examples are lizards, snakes and turtles.

Use the Survival poster to show how all animals have natural defenses. Turtle shell and stuffed armadillo.

Use On the Defense worksheet about reptiles.

Add to the mural with reptile pictures.

Homework: Scott Foresman Discover W.S. p. 11 Vocabulary

Day 8 Insects

Focus: Observe the changes in the meal worms with hand lenses.
Use the missing insect parts on the overhead transparency. (Teacher Created Materials
p. 52)

Discuss have 6 legs, 3 body parts and are invertebrates (They dont have backbones.)
Ranger Rick NatureScope Build a Grasshopper

Butterfly life cycle to demonstrate stages in insect development.
Harcourt Science text p.A39 egglarvapupaadult

Do insects have defenses? Show how butterflies like some fish have big spots that look like eyes.

Play BUG-O

Add insect pictures to the animal mural.

Day 9 Animal Habitats

Focus: What if a polar bear lived in the desert? What if a fish lived in a cave?

Transparency Skill Tip B1-2

Read Harcourt Science Text B9-B13

Where Do Animals Live transparency

Groups are to be assigned a habitat. Ocean, Jungle, Farm, Desert. By researching different books on different animals, the group should be able to find at least 4 animals that live in the assigned habitat. Pictures may be taken off of the mural and added to the poster sized habitat.

Workbook WB25 / Animal Home Match-up Frank Schaffer W.S. p. 52

Go over Research Paper information sheet. Assign animals so that the classes of animals are evenly distributed. Encourage animals that students have never heard of.
Provide several books for the different animal classes, encyclopedias, computer print outs, etc. . . if the internet is not available for student research.

Homework: A Class-y Group W.S. p. 185 SuperBook Grade 2

Day 10 Culmination Day!

UnderCover AIMS activity. Give out fur, feathers, wax paper, sequins and sort the animal pictures.

Test - Harcourt AG7-AG8/ Discover Science p.19-20

Present Research Papers