Home School Years

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Animal Classification

This is the first in a five-part series exploring animal themes:

Part 1 ~ Animal Classification

Part 2 ~ Animal Habitats

Part 3 ~ Animal Movement

Part 4 ~ Animal Sounds & Calls

Part 5 ~ Animal Groups & Family

Recommended Books:

  • Animals A to Z by David McPhail
  • ABC Animal Riddles by Susan Joyce
  • Earthmates: Poems by Patricia Hubbell
  • Smile If You’re Human by Neal Layton
  • The Sunset Switch by Kathleen V. Kudlinski
  • Pretend You’re A Cat by Jean Marzollo
  • Douglas Florian’s animal-based Poetry & Painting books
  • Jim Arnosky’s animal-based books
  • Where Are The Night Animals? by Mary Ann Fraser (Let’s Read and Find Out Science Level 1)

Lesson Topics:

classification

(from simply sweet teaching)

Interactive index of the animal kingdom

Introduce the five groups of animals:

  • Birds
  • Fishes
  • Mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians

Discuss each category by focusing on a particular characteristic and different types of animal that belong to that category, such as:

  • Birds ~ feathers (ducks, chickens, owls, tree birds, etc). Field guide for birds.
  • Fishes ~ fins (trout, salmon, angel-fish, shark, minnow, seahorse, etc). Field guide for fishes.
  • Mammals ~ fur (squirrels, cats, bears, wolves, deer, etc). Field guide for mammals.
  • Reptiles ~ scales (snakes, lizards, crocodile, turtle, etc). Field guide for reptiles.
  • Amphibians ~ skin (frogs, salamanders, newt, etc.) Field guide for amphibians.

Classification worksheet

Activity:

Use this cut and paste form to sort animal pictures to their respective vertebrate group. To expand the lesson, you can also have the child complete this Animal Traits Worksheet.

Word Association: choose a group/type of animal and have the child come up with words associated with it, such as: birds ~ wings, feathers, fly, owl, dove, egg, nest, goose, eagle, migration, etc.  Word map to help kids expand their vocabulary.

Critical Thinking/Comparison:

Choose a group/type of animal and ask how it is similar and different from a human. For instance, fish. Similar: fishes and humans both need oxygen to breathe. Different: fishes breathe underwater with their gills and humans breathe outside water with their lungs.

Warm-blooded or Cold-blooded:

Mammals and birds are warm-blooded creatures. This means they try to keep their body at a constant temperature. They are able to produce their own heat when they are in a cooler environment and can cool their temperature when in a hotter environment. Cold-blooded creatures take on whatever temperature their surrounding has. They are hot when in a hot environment and they are cold when in a cold environment.

Nocturnal Creatures:

sunset switchRead The Sunset Switch by Kathleen V. Kudlinski which discusses who the nocturnal creatures are and how these animals are active during the night even when we can’t see them. Ask the child if they have ever heard a nocturnal animal even when they couldn’t see it? Could they tell what animal it was?

Create A New Species: cut animal flash cards in half to make top part and bottom part of body (mammals/birds/amphibians/insects/reptiles). Have child create a new species by combining the top half of one animal with the bottom half of another. They can come up with a name for it. (This can also be done with a lesson on mythical creatures).

Endangered Animals:

Discuss the difference between endangered (a species could disappear but there is still time to save it) and extinct (no more animals of that species left/alive).

Some endangered animals: camel, wolf, whale, lemur, tiger and panda.

Do You Know Me? Riddles Quiz (answer key)

Crafts:

Related Resources:

Spanish:

animals = los animales

animal names in spanish

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