Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Magnificent Marsupials

Deirdre Byrne


This literature-based lesson will provide students with the opportunity to learn about the life cycle of a kangaroo, and the differences and similarities between mother and baby as growth occurs from birth to adulthood.


The student knows that living things have offspring that resemble their parents.

The student knows names for animal offspring (for example, puppies, kittens, cubs, calves, chicks, children).


-[Kangaroos]. Written by Beth Wagner Brust, Copyright 1990 Wildlife Education
-Magazine pictures or posters of adult and baby kangaroos
-One piece of chart paper, or poster board
-One red, blue, and green marker
-9X18 inch white drawing paper
-Crayons and pencils for each student


1. Collect magazine pictures or posters ahead of time for this lesson.
2. Draw lines to section the chart paper into three equal sections using the markers.
3. Use one color for each section to label the top of the sections. Label one section: Mother kangaroo, themiddle section: Joey, and the last section: Mother and Joey.
4. Have the book, crayons, drawing paper, and markers readily available for the lesson.
5. Read the book before doing this lesson.


1. Introduce facts from the book by leading a discussion. Tell students that a kangaroo is a marsupial. Explain that a marsupial is an animal that has a pouch, and that the mother carries her baby in her pouch as it grows over time.

2. State that a baby kangaroo is called a “Joey,- and that it is born with no fur. It can’t see when it is born, and that it must find its way to its mother’s pouch where it will stay until it grows big enough to come out of the pouch.

3. Explain that some animals look just like their parents when they are born, but a Joey needs more time to grow in it’s mother’s pouch. Therefore, it looks very different from its mother when it is born.

4. Display various pictures of other animal mothers and their young to show this fact.

5. Put the chart paper (or poster board) on the board for the students to see. Probe the students to find out what they know from the book that was read to them.

6.Ask students to tell the characteristics of the mother kangaroo. For example, its size, color, and daily routines such as what, how, and when they eat and rest, and their role as a parent.

7.List student responses in the column labeled “mother” on the chart.

8. Repeat the process by doing the same for the “Joey” section of the chart.

9. Repeat the process a third time to list how mother and baby are similar.

10. Discuss your findings as a group. Ask students to tell about how the mother is similar to the Joey, and how they are different.

11. After the discussion, send students back to their seats and give each student a piece of the 9X18 inch piece of white drawing paper which has already been sectioned into two equal halves, crayons, and pencils.

12. Ask students to draw a picture of a mother kangaroo on one side of the paper, and a Joey on the other side to show how each is the same or different.

13. Students that are able can be encouraged to write words to describe each. Students that are not at the writing stage yet can dictate words to the teacher, or a volunteer.

14. Save each child’s work in his portfolio to document understanding of the standards being taught.


Use each student’s drawing and writing/dictation to check for understanding of the information being taught. During discussion, the teacher can check for participation from students as the list is made up on the chart. Assist students who have difficulty coming up with key words to describe mother and Joey.


1. In small groups the students can cut pictures from magazines of mother and baby animals to show similarities and differences. The pictures can be glued onto chart paper. Each group can share the display with the class.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.