Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Creating My Personal Animal ABC Book

Louise Kent


Students create an Animal ABC book to present to a young child. Along the way they research specific information about animals.


The student locates, organizes, and interprets written information for a variety of purposes, including classroom research, collaborative decision making, and performing a school or real-world task.

The student understands that the classification of living things is based on a given set of criteria and is a tool for understanding biodiversity and interrelationships.

The student knows that computers speed up and extend people's ability to collect, sort, and analyze data; prepare research reports; and share data and ideas with others.


-Computer(s) with Internet connection
-Various resource books on animals
-Sample ABC books (student-generated from previous classes or published children's ABC books)
-Computer paper
-Construction paper
-Old magazines
-Crayons, colored pencils, markers
-Laminating machine and film
-Book binder machine and spines


1. Gather materials.
2. Arrange for any computer lab arrangements
3. Verify that sufficient resources are available. If necessary, schedule library time and place animal books on reserve.
3. Create and copy the Animal ABC Book Project Checklist (see Procedures section) and rubric (see Assessment section).


Background: Students should be familiar with animal phyla and the classes of arthropods and chordates prior to beginning this activity.

1. Ask students to think of a young child they know, perhaps a relative or neighbor. Announce that each of them is going to create and construct an Animal ABC book for his/her identified child which they can present as a gift. This could be for an upcoming birthday, holiday, or -just because.-

2. Next, pass out copies of the Animal ABC Book Project Checklist and discuss the requirements of the finished product:

Animal ABC Book Project Checklist
a) Create a cover page with the title, author, and a picture.
b) Include a dedication page.
c) Put one letter per page, with the letter enlarged and capitalized in the upper right corner.
d) Of the 26 animals selected, include:
~one from each of nine phyla
~one from each of five arthropod classes
~one from each of the seven chordate classes
~remaining seven animals from any group of animals
e) Place a picture of the animal in the middle of the page. The picture may be student-created (may use crayon, magic marker, or colored pencils), computer-generated, or a photograph/magazine clipping.
f) Place the animalís common name under the picture. Write the animal's phyla and class under the name.
g) Write three factual sentences about the animal in large black manuscript letters on the page. Example:

Phylum: Porifera Class: Calcarea

The sponge has holes in its body called pores. Sponges are the simplest muticelled animal. Water passes through the body.

h) Proofread all text.
i) Include a bibliography as the last page in the book. Sources should be in correct format and should include a variety of source types: encyclopedia, book, magazine, and Internet. Use a minimum of three sources.

3. If possible, show students one or more samples of a completed Animal ABC book. As a substitute, show samples of published children's ABC books.

4. Have students create a chart as a planning tool:
List letters of the alphabet down the left-hand side of notebook paper, skipping a few lines between each letter. Label columns across the top: Common Name, Phyla, Class, and Three Characteristics.

5. Provide some class time for students to begin researching the information needed for the chart. Students can use encyclopedias, books, and the Internet. Encourage them to use a variety of resources, so that they become familiar with how to use them. Circulate and assist, providing mini-lessons on any research skills needed by the class. Students will probably need instruction in compiling the bibliography along the way. Have them record their sources as they find the information.

6. Students may finish the chart at home, or you can allow sufficient work time in class if resources are a problem. Set a due date for the chart to be completed. Have students turn in their completed charts on the assigned date so that you can review them prior to making their books. Check for accuracy and completeness of information

7. Students can complete most of the book construction outside of class. You may want to provide materials and/or schedule some time for construction activities prior to the completion due date. This will ensure all students have the time and resources necessary.

8. When books have been completed, arrange for laminating and binding. Have students share their books either through an author's chair session with the whole class or in small groups.


Formatively assess student understanding of the classification system for animals during the research and construction phases of this activity. This is done by questioning students during whole class discussions as well as individually while circulating. Adjust instruction by addressing misconceptions along the way and inserting mini-lessons as needed. Review their completed ABC charts as further evidence of mastery of this standard.

Formatively assess student understanding of how computers and the Internet add a convenient and extensive source of information, speeding up the process of finding both text and graphics on topics of interest.

Formatively assess the students' ability to locate, organize, and interpret information during the research phase as well as the construction phase.

Summatively assess the benchmarks by scoring the finished book products with the rubric:

Animal ABC Book Rubric
3 points
~Contains all required elements: Cover page, Dedication page, 26 animals in correct classifications, pictures, and bibliography
~Correctly identifies all phyla and classes of animals
~Consistently ncludes three accurate and appropriate facts for each animal
~Bibliography contains at least three references from a variety of source types including from the Internet; format contains few if any errors
~Contains few if any mechanical or grammatical errors

2 points
~Contains most required elements (see above)
~Correctly identifies most phyla and classes
~Generally includes three accurate facts for each animal
~Bibliography includes two or three references of two different types including the Internet; format is generally correct
~Mechanical and/or grammatical errors exist, but do not impede communication

1 point
~Contains insufficient required elements (see above)
~Contains several errors in classification of animals
~Contains frequent lapses in accuracy and/or number of animal facts
~Bibliography includes one or two sources; format contains significant errors
~Frequent mechanical and/or grammatical errors interfere with communication
~Book lacks neatness, has little color, and/or is unattractive


After the booklets are laminated and bound, students can take the books to an elementary school and share with elementary students or give as a gift to child.

The entire unit can include labs, videos, and guest speakers on various careers dealing with animals.
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