Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Animals Galore

Kay Davis


Students classify and sort animals into groups according to the structural characteristics.


The student knows some characteristics of the vertebrate groups (mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish).

The student knows that the structural characteristics of plants and animals are used to group them.


-Children’s books, magazines, other reference materials containing information on animals
-Posters and pictures of animals and animal groups
-Ball or beanbag
-Assortment of animal pictures already sorted into groups (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and fish)
-Chart paper, pens
-Computer program Scholastic's [Magic School Bus Explores the World of Aniimals], Microsoft ,1999.


1. Collect books, pictures, and posters about animals to display in the classroom.
2. Make a collection of animal pictures and sort by classification. (Recommend laminating pictures)
3. Divide the class into five groups that work well together.
4.Load the [Magic School Bus Explores the World of Animals] on the computer.


1. Display various pictures of animals. Be sure to include some animals from all the vertebrate groups.

2. Ask the students to brainstorm the likenesses and differences of these animals.

3. Discuss various ways to group the animals.

4. Have the students place the pictures into animal groups. (mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles).

5. Introduce the word characteristics.

6. As a class, identify the characteristics of the various animal groups.

7. Give each group a set of animal pictures that contains animals with the same characteristics. Instruct the students to examine the pictures at their table and decide how the animals are similar or different.

8. Each group will make a chart listing the characteristics of the animals in their picture file.

9. Allow each group to share their pictures and chart with the class. The class can agree or disagree with their findings. The group can correct mistakes on its chart.

10. Play 'Beast, Bird, Fish'. Ask the children to sit in a large circle. Sit in the center with a beanbag or ball. Call out an animal group (Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibian, Fish, Bird). At the same time toss the beanbag or ball to one player and start counting to ten. This player must correctly name an animal from the group you called out by the time you reach ten. Otherwise he must change places with you and become 'it'. If he answers satisfactorily he tosses the beanbag or ball back to you and the game continues.

11. Allow the students to use the computer program [Magic School Bus Explores the World of Animals] by Scholastic.


1.Teacher observes that students work together and that each student contributes to the project.
2.Mix the animal pictures all together. Distribute mixed sets of pictures to the groups. Let students draw several animals from the pile. The student tells which group the animal belongs in and why. The student should correctly identify at least three animals for each animal group.


Bring small animals into the classroom for the children to observe and care for. Good animals for the classroom are the hamster, guinea pig,tadpole and frog.
Note: This lesson is part of a unit under construction ANIMALS, ANIMALS, ANIMALS.

Web Links

Web supplement for Animals Galore
All About Nature: Print Outs

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