Preschool – Lower Elementary Mammals Unit

freemammalunit

This is the first in a unit series on animals. We will be learning about mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles with about four-six weeks per animal type. I started out wanting to study animals that we find around the house…and we did. But then I couldn’t help myself but add more fun, intriguing animals! During this mammal study, I read The Classic Tales of Beatrix Potter to the kids. It’s been a great jumping off point for animal classification, but it has also raised awareness of animal behavior in the wild in a not so “wild” way. In quite a few of the stories it shows animal behaviors between dominant animals and their prey, people and garden pests, and natural animal cooperation.

The objectives come from the Core Knowledge Series-kindergarten and first grade.

These cards were great to show pictures of different mammals and discuss extinction and endangered species.

Objectives for Teaching Mammals:

Mammal pattern blocks

• Living things live in environments to which they are particularly suited.
• Herbivores: plant-eaters (for example, elephants, cows, deer)
• Carnivores: flesh-eaters (for example, lions, tigers)
• Omnivores: plant and animal-eaters (for example, bears)
• Extinct animals (for example, dinosaurs)
• Animals, like plants, need food, water, and space to live and grow.
• Plants make their own food, but animals get food from eating plants or other living things.
• Offspring are very much (but not exactly) like their parents.
• Most animal babies need to be fed and cared for by their parents; human babies are especially in need of care when young.
• Pets have special needs and must be cared for by their owners.

Activities for Teaching Mammals:

1. The most obvious activity is to take the kids to the zoo. :)

Watching for animals in the trees

2. Animal Hunt: We sat out on the back deck with binoculars are watched for mammals (and other animals). My son took a clip board with us and wrote down the names of all the mammals we saw. This allowed us to discuss the differences and similarities between the animals we observed. I was also able to model how to watch quietly for wildlife and we discussed why we needed to be quiet.

3. Cat Art – See http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mcircle_cat.htm

Writing in his Mammal Journal

4. Mammal Journal: As we learned about mammals, my son would color or cut out a picture of the animal and then write 2 sentences about what he learned.

5. Spend time with friends who own animals if you have none yourself. We do not have the blessing of owning animals. So I made sure that the kids got to spend time with friends who own pets. This allowed the kids to experience the animals up close and also speak with the owners and ask questions.

Elephant Puppets – I recommend this for older children who have the patience for this activity. After making the elephants, they made noises and made them walk around the table.

6. Make an elephant! http://www.freekidscrafts.com/moveable_puppet_elephant-e769.html

7. Print the animal pattern block sheets from below and have the kids create the animals. This is a great way to review the characteristics of a mammal.

8. Have the kids pretend to be animals as you call out the names of different mammals. Discuss how the animals move, sound, where they live, etc.

Mammal Lapbooks and Notebooking:

http://www.homeschoolshare.com/animal_classification_lapbook.php
http://www.homeschoolshare.com/animal_studies.php
http://www.homeschoolhelperonline.com/lapbooks/dog.shtml

Mammal Websites:

http://prekinders.com/pattern-blocks/
http://www.makinglearningfun.com/themepages/MammalPrintables.htm
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/mammals/
http://www.mnh.si.edu/exhibits/mammals/NorthAmericanMammals.HTM
http://animalstime.com/

Mammal Art Projects:

http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mcircle_cat.htm
http://www.freekidscrafts.com/wild_animal_crafts-t79.html
http://bluetadpolestudio.com/HowToDraw.html
http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2012/05/easy-animal-crafts-for-kids.html
http://www.deepspacesparkle.com/2012/03/13/i-can-draw-a-sheep/
http://practicalpages.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/animal-mobile/

Books on Mammals:

General-
Mammals by Ted O’Hare
Mammals: Animals in Disguise by Lynn Stone
Mammals by Melissa Stewart
About Mammals by Cathryn Sill
Amazing Mammals by Honor Head
Mind Blowing Mammals by Leslee Elliott
How to be a Nature Detective by Millicent E. Selsam
Animal Architects by W.Wright Robinson
Guide to Mammals by Ben Morgan

Dog-
Inside Guide to Dogs by Slim Goodbody

Rabbit-
Wee Little Bunny by Lauren Thompson

Sheep-
Wee Little Lamb by Lauren Thompson
Sheep (Farmyard Friends) by Camilla de la Bedoyere
Sheep Blast Off by Nancy Shaw (series)

Skunk-
Skunk by Lee Jacobs

Chipmunk-
Chipmunk Family by Lois Brunner Bastian

Goat-
The Goat Lady by Jane Bregoli

Squirrel -
The Squirrel by James V. Bradley

Other Fun Animals -
A Polar Bear Can Swim by Harriet Ziefert
National Geographic Kids Level 2/3 Books (Wolves, Tigers, Pandas, Cheetahs, Elephants)
Zipping, Zapping, Zooming Bats by Ann Earle
Aardvarks Disembark! by Ann Jonas

More will be added as I cycle through this topic again in the coming years.

What other mammal activities are there?

5 thoughts on “Preschool – Lower Elementary Mammals Unit

  • October 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm
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    What other activities are there? Matching activities are good and easy to set up – parent and offspring using images; matching images to animal names; matching images of animal to habitat; making a frieze of animals in a selected area; endangered species – may I recommend a look at the Spirit Bear in this particular area?

    Thank you for another fascinating article and the accompanying links will be of use to many who are struggling to get started as well as those who just like expanding their library of resources.

    • October 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm
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      Thanks for the additional activities! I found that even though I used this over 6 weeks, there just isn’t enough time to do everything. :)

      • October 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm
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        There never is! But its useful to have backup activities for when your first choice isn’t available – a trip out in bad weather is nowhere near as much fun!

  • February 5, 2013 at 12:37 am
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    Wow! What a wonderful list of resources and activities you have collected here! Thank you for linking to my Animal Mobile! Blessings!

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