In our animal unit, we spent quite a bit of time on animal classification. First, we discussed first at the five animal groups and their characteristics before moving on to the invertebrate groups. In this unit, we also talked about domesticated vs. wild animals. And finally, the kids did some fun activities on animal tracks.
We are doing basically two units for our study of the biosphere, this one (which is geared a bit more for my 2nd grader, though useful review for my older two) and a more advanced unit that will go into more depth about animal relationships. As you may recall, we started off with a review of the 4 main earth systems (those worksheets are free at this post: Earth’s 4 Major Systems (Free): Atmosphere, Geosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere).
Here’s a bit more detail about what we covered in our Animal Unit:
Animal Classification (Vertebrates) — I made ED some printable worksheets about the types of animals. She did a cutting/pasting activity and then we went into quite some depth about the 5 animal groups (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals) and their characteristics.
Animal Characteristics -- The next day, we spent quite a bit of time going over the characteristics. We went into a lot of depth about the exceptions (which mammals lay eggs, examples of reptiles that give birth to live young, etc.). For that reason, the chart they filled out took a lot of discussion!! (You can see the chart I made for them below. On the right is a page I made for them about some of the animal characteristic exceptions.) If your kids are younger, you might not go into that kind of depth, but my kids love animals, so it fostered a lot of discussion for our family! The kids had to check off which animal groups had various characteristics/traits such as:
- have feathers
- warm blooded
- lay eggs in water
- breathe with lungs
- have beaks or bills… etc. etc.
What am I? – 5 Animal Group Worksheets
Invertebrate Groups – Next we moved on to the invertebrate animals.ED did her “research project” this semester on insects, so this was perfect timing! The kids talked about the difference between insects and spiders. Then they brainstormed other invertebrates. I said that LD (age 12) had to come up with 20 different invertebrates, DD (age 10) had to come up with 15 and ED (age 7) had to come up with 10. They all did! And that was perfect because by the time they brainstormed all of those sea creatures, they had basically covered all the invertebrate groups we were going to cover!
We talked about how scientists classify the various groups and we filled in the chart below (and talked about groups that have legs and those that don’t… those that have tentacles and those that don’t, etc. etc). Another day, the kids cut out examples of some of the groups we had discussed:
- crustaceans – crabs/lobsters
- echinoderms – starfish
- porifera – sponges
- cnidarians – jellyfish
Domesticated vs. Wild Animals – In this unit, we talked about the difference between domesticated and wild animals. And we also talked about the fact that some wild animals have been tamed/trained, but that does not mean that the entire species is affected. I had the kids brainstorm some animals that are generally wild, but that have individuals that are trained (to do tricks or behave in certain ways). They came up with a pretty good list (elephants, tigers, lions, dolphins, whales, raccoon, even fish can be trained to come to feed at certain times). Included in the packet are some Montessori 3-part cards with domesticated and wild animals. And, there is a cut and paste activity for kids to place into the two separate groups.
I added in a page that goes into more detail about how/when/why animals were domesticated (which is not pictured below).
Animal Tracks – Finally, I thought the kids would have a lot of fun doing animal tracks again. It has been years since we covered this! In this part of the packet, there are Animal Track Montessori 3-Part Cards. There are also several pages of animal track matching which is what my kids did. We then went on a hike at our local park and tried to spot as many different animal tracks as we could. Fun!
There is also a food web activity in this packet, but we are not going to use these until the second (more advanced) part of our unit which we are covering next. (The Biosphere… biomes, animal habitats; climate zones; the individual/population/community/ecosystem/biome; feeding relationships; the food chain, food webs and the energy pyramid; biological interations – symbiosis, mutualism, amensalism, etc.; and other topics.)
If you are interested in this unit, it is now available for purchase. I bought a ton of graphics for this packet. I hope you like it!
The Animal Unit packet is well over 40 pages (even though it says 30 in the collage below). This is now available for purchase. It is $4.00.
Once you pay for this packet, you will immediately receive a link to download this file (which will open in a browser window). You will also receive an email from Sendowl (the service I use) to your Paypal email address, which will have a link you can click on to download the Animal Unit. (It will say, “You can download your digital products…” with a clickable link.) Of course, if you have any issues just email me at — liesl at homeschoolden dot com. You can also reach me by using the contact form on the blog or can reach me over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page.
BUNDLE: Animal Packet and World Animal Cards
Add on the World Animal Cards for $1.50! For more details about these Montessori Style Cards, visit this post: Animals Around the World
Purchase the BUNDLE: Animal Packet and World Animal Cards
You may be interested in these related posts:
- Earth’s 4 Major Systems (Free): Atmosphere, Geosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere - We reviewed the 4 major Earth sytems when we started our biology unit.
- Homeschool Science: Year in Review and What’s Coming Up (This has lots of links to the units we did in 2015)
- Simple Machines Unit