Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another Free Online Dictionary

Here is another online dictionary with lots of pictures. Children can use it to do research on animals plus lots of other subjects.

The Merriam-Webster Visual Dictionary Online 

The following is a link to the dictionary's animal section.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

FREE Online Dictionary

Whatever the topic.......animals or something else....it is important to have a good dictionary.
Here is a wonderful one!

CLICK HERE: http://www.merriam-webster.com

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This online dictionary will even pronounce the word for you! :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Animal Classification Video

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The following is one of the FREE videos on Brain Pop Jr.

Vocabulary: classify, vertebrate, spine, invertebrate, warm-blooded, cold-blooded, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, fish

Click Here: Brain Pop Video-Animal Classification

  • Have students write the vocabulary words in their science notebooks.
  • Younger students can illustrate some of the vocabulary.
  • Older students can write a definition for each word. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Field Trip to the Beach

If you live anywhere near the OCEAN, it's a great field trip to learn about animals.

Bring your usual science tools: 
  • notebook and pencil for sketching and labeling
  • magnifying lens
  • binoculars
  • camera 
  • plastic bags, pails, or small buckets to take home some specimens
  • Ocean Field Guide (can be borrowed from the library) 


    • This would be a good time to teach/review the fact that lots of ocean animals no not have backbones (invertebrates).
    • Depending on the ages of the children, extend their previous learning about animal classifications by introducing all or some of the following invertebrae animal classes.
    • Mollusks:  octopus, clams, snails, scallops, squid
    • Crustaceans: lobster, crab, shrimp
    • Echinoderms: starfish (sea stars), brittle star, sand dollar, sea urchin
    • Coelenterates: coral, jellyfish
    • Porifera: sponges (This is when you can talk about Sponge Bob!
    • During low tide walk along the beach to find animal shells and try to identify some ocean animals. Look for animal footprints and try to identify the animals that made the footprints. 
    • (A trip to the dollar store is also a place to pick up shells, etc. if the beach doesn't have much to offer on the day you visit.)

          • Also for the younger kids, the library has lots of picture books on ocean animals: lobsters, clams, starfish, crab, etc.
          • You will probably see some animals with a backbone (vertebrates) at the beach also! You might want to bring other field guides with you for the older kids.

          Follow up math/science lesson
          • Younger kids could sort the shells by size, color, shape, weight, texture (rough or smooth), etc.
          • Older children could sort and label the shells using animal classification and the field guides.

          Here's a FREE video on Ocean Habitats from Brain Pop Jr.

          Here's a FREE video on Giant Squid  from Brain Pop.
          Click here: Giant Squid

          Thursday, November 25, 2010

          Animal Camouflage Game

          • Discuss the definition of camouflage. (Have the students look up the definition in a dictionary.)
          • Tell children that they will be hanging up a butterfly in the room after they color it.
          • Explain that the goal of the game is to have their butterfly be visible but camouflaged so that the other kids have a hard time finding it.

          • Have students look around the room for possible spots to hang their butterfly.
          • Give children a simple butterfly shape to color or let them draw and color their own butterfly.

          • Next children should cut out their butterfly shape. (Use pre-cut butterflies for younger students.)
          • Give each student a small piece of tape to use with their butterfly.
          • Have children close their eyes while one child hangs up his/her butterfly somewhere in the room.The butterfly can not be hidden behind anything!
          • Have children take turns looking for the butterfly (that is camouflaged). Have fun!

          clipart by www.GraphicsFactory.com

          • Extension: Discuss other animals that also use camouflage and how it helps them.

          Wednesday, November 24, 2010

          Use a Venn Diagram to Compare Animals

          I think Graphic Organizers are great for kids! An easy one to use is the Venn Diagram where you get to compare and contrast 2 or more things.

          A simple Venn Diagram has only 2 circles that overlap. In the center, where the circles overlap, is where you list how the 2 things are alike and the outer circles are for listing how the 2 things are different.

          Let the kids compare 2 or more animals using Venn Diagrams.
          For example, they could compare and contrast a dog and a frog.

          They are alike in that they both have a backbone and they both have 4 legs.

          They are different because the dog is a mammal and warm-blooded, whereas the frog is an amphibian and cold-blooded.

          Older students can compare 3 or more animals in each Venn Diagram (just add more circles). They can also use the facts in their graphic organizer(s) to write an essay about their animals.

          You can visit Learning Workroom's website for a FREE Venn Diagram Worksheet that you can download and print.

          Click on "Free Worksheets

          Tuesday, November 23, 2010

          Measurement and Animals

          It's MATH TIME!

          • ruler(s)
          • tape measure(s)
          • yard stick(s)
          • meter stick(s)
          • stuffed animals
          • toy animals
          • pencil
          • science notebook

          Get out the rulers! Look for both centimeter and inch rulers. Have the kids measure their stuffed animals and plastic toy animals. This works especially well with those rubber snakes that most kids seem to love! They can see which snake is the longest and which is the shortest. They can measure all their animals (height and width) and record their findings (data) in their science notebooks. Whenever they get a new stuffed animal they should get its measurements and add the data to their list.

          Let the kids also practice measuring with a tape measure and a yard stick or meter stick if the objects are large. They should record all their data.

          Older students should organize and display the data using a table or other graphic organizer.

          Favorite Animal Survey

          To combine science and math children can conduct surveys.

          A clipboard and pencil always makes them feel "official" but if you don't have a clipboard, they can use their science notebooks.

          • First have children make a list of 5-10 mammals. (Older kids can put this list into a table.)
          • Then they need to survey their family, friends, classmates, etc. to see which mammals are their favorites.
          • They should tally the votes (data).

          • Next they could make a frequency chart. (The teacher could make a classroom chart with younger students.)

          • Next they could create a bar graph to display their results (data).

          • On another day they could repeat the exercise with a different animal class ... reptiles, or birds, or fish, etc.

          • Another survey that the students could conduct about animals is finding out how many pets people (friends, classmates, relatives) have.  Then they could put this data/information into a table format.

          Monday, November 22, 2010

          Caterpillar and Butterfly Arts and Crafts Project

          Here's an ART project follow-up to the earlier lesson on the Like Cycle of the Butterfly. These little magnetic caterpillars can hold up notes on your refrigerator, etc. (Plus the kids can give them as homemade presents.)

          Materials Needed:
          • clothespin
          • magnetic tape (cut to same length as clothespin)
          • small cotton pom poms (green or other fun colors) (approx. 5)
          • white glue
          • googly eyes (2)
          • scissors 
          Stick the magnetic tape to the bottom of the clothespin. Glue the pom poms to the top of the clothespin. Then glue the eyes to the front pom pom (the end of the clothespin that opens).

            Most supplies can be found in those arts and craft stores or in dollar stores. I like to use the Michael's and A C  Moore 40% off coupons!

            Eric Carle's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, is awesome to use for reading or science.   

            Very Hungry Caterpillar


            Here are some magnetic wooden butterflies.

            Materials Needed:
            • wooden butterfly shape
            • magnetic tape (cut to width of butterfly)
            • glitter glue (or paint, crayons, or markers)
            1. Stick the magnetic tape to the bottom of the wooden butterfly shape.
            2. Decorate the top of the butterfly with the glitter glue (or paint, crayons, or markers).
            3. Let the glitter glue dry overnight. 

            The glitter glue usually takes 24 hours to dry, but I think it's worth the wait because the finished projects always look amazing!  :)

            This activity can also be used as a math lesson on symmetry.

            Science Notebooking

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            I've realized that I refer to science notebooks a lot in my posts. I just use simple spiral notebooks as science notebooks. I try to stock up on buying them in the summer when Staples and other stores offer them at 10-25 cents each with their back to school sales. (Regular price $1.00) This past summer, I got a bunch at Big Lots for 10 cents each. Get there early for the sales and you can choose any color you want for the covers. The summer sales are also a good time to buy the pencils, glue sticks, etc. Plus the kids love starting off the new school year with new supplies!

            Sunday, November 21, 2010

            Animal Alliteration

            Alliteration is the repeating of beginning consonant sounds in two or more words.

            Have kids create their own Animal Alliterations.


            clipart by www.GraphicsFactory.com
            Smiley Sam swims in the sea.

            Books 4 Learning has done a great job reviewing 2 wonderful books for kids about animals at the zoo. The second book Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo, contains alliteration. Also included is a nice lesson plan and extension activities about zoos.
            Click here: Animal Books and Extension Activities

            Create an Animal Acrostic Poem

            • First choose an animal!
            • Then write its name vertically.
            • Then use the letters in its name to begin each line of the poem.
            • Each line should be about the particular animal.
            • Illustrate (optional).

            Cute and cuddly
            Always fun to be with
            The best friend ever

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            Create an Animal Alphabet

            Have children try to think of an animal for each letter of the alphabet.
            Here are a few clues to get them started!

            Let them use a variety of resources to research and find more (and some unusual) animals.

            For which letter of the alphabet can they find the most animals?

            clipart by www.GraphicsFactory.com


            Books for learning is a great site that reviews books for children. You might want to visit to learn about some great animal books for kids.

            Heres's a link to a Baby Animals Alphabet with very colorful pictures.

            Saturday, November 20, 2010

            Animals and Data Analysis

            This is a MATH Extension lesson to the Animal Classification Activity with stuffed animals.


            • Have the children estimate the number of stuffed animals that they have in each display. (How many mammals, reptiles, amphibians, etc.?????)
            • Then tally the number of animals in each group and create a tally chart. (Compare the numbers.)
            • Lastly, graph the number of animals in each group. Compare.  Which group has the most? Which group has the least?  Do any groups have the same number?
              Here is a MATH VIDEO from Brain Pop Jr. called Tally Charts and Bar Graphs to introduce or review Surveys, Tally Charts, and Bar Graphs.
              Click here: Brain Pop Video

                • An extension activity for older students is to find the Mean, Median, Mode, Maximum, Minimum, and Range from the Data in this activity.
                • Students can also record and display the data using tables, line plots, etc.

                Ocean in a Bottle Art Activity

                Arts and Crafts Activity

                This activity is fun for younger kids.

                Materials Needed:
                • small clean, clear, plastic, recycled water bottle with cap
                • water
                • blue food coloring (1 or 2 drops)
                • small plastic ocean animals (fish, dolphin, whale, etc.) .....must be small enough to fit inside bottle
                • small shells or pebbles (optional)
                  Remove label from bottle. Fill water bottle with other items, then tighten the cap.

                    I like this idea because it's a great use of recycled water bottles and all the other supplies can usually be bought at one of the dollar stores or found at the beach.
                    A variation is to fill the bottle with half water and half oil (baby oil or vegetable oil).

                    Reduce, Recycle, Reuse for a cleaner, greener Earth!
                    Clipart by www.GraphicsFactory.com

                    Animal Word Searches and Crossword Puzzles for Kids

                    Kids usually like doing word searches and crossword puzzles. It's a great way to introduce or review the essential vocabulary for a unit on animals or any other topic.

                    You can visit Learning Workroom's website for FREE Animal Word Searches that you can download and print. (The Crossword Puzzles should be coming soon.)

                    You can also download a FREE worksheet of Animal Desk Name Plates for younger kids to color.

                    Click Here: http://www.learningworkroom.com
                    Go to: "Free Worksheets"
                    clipart by www.GraphicsFactory.com


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