The Early Years: Animal Adventuresby: Peggy Ashbrook

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Children can have a new favorite animal every week or even every hour. The more familiar the children become with an animal, the more they will be able to understand how its body form and behavior allow it to survive. Learning about the characteristics of organisms and how organisms relate to their environment is part of the National Science Education Content Standard C. Looking at and drawing animals and talking and reading about the way animals live and what they need to survive pulls together art and science while introducing children to animal diversity and the idea of animal adaptation.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (4)
  • on Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:27 PM

This article is an excellent resource that allows young students to get engaged in learning about animals. It encourages allowing students to observe animals that are both easily accessible and others that can only be viewed at a zoo or aquarium. By observing animals first, young students are able to make connections between the animals and their habitats. Closing the article with an activity is also an excellent resource. Many times, teachers want to bring learning to life with their students, but it isn’t always easy to do so. Providing a step by step instruction guide as well as a list of necessary materials, teachers are more easily able to recreate the activity in order to help students fully understand what they are learning. I think that having students show and explain their invented animal to either another class or an honored guest will also enrich their learning process. They will become the teachers and share what they have created and how the shape/features they gave the animal will allow it to survive.

Maria S
Maria S

  • on Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:57 AM

This article has a great idea for students to learn about animals. First they observe animals in the classroom or outside. They look at its body parts (which they sketch), watch its movements, and see what it eats. After doing this they then “invent” an animal out of art materials and describe it body parts, sensory abilities and its food sources. They then explain their animals to other people.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:16 PM

Young children are always excited to learn about new animals. In the activity provided about earth worms students learn how the organisms form helps it function in the organism’s world. After observing a real organism the children are encouraged to create an animal and then explain why its shape can help that animal survive in the world that that imaginary creature lives. This will help you assess if the student has understood the concept of form and function.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:05 PM

This article discusses how young children understanding about an animal's shape and relationship to its behavior and survival. By inventing an animal and then describing how the 'new animal' lives, young students reveal their understanding. For example : It has a long neck so it can reach food or eyes everywhere so it can see the insect it eats. Includes a lesson with procedures to guide young students in their animal creation.

Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton

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