Contributed by: Gordon Webb
Plants and animals, including people, are living things. Different kinds of living things behave in different ways.
Inquiry Skills Used:
Initiating & Planning: brainstorming the various characteristics of animals
Performing & Recording: charting characteristics on a Venn diagram
Analysing and Interpreting: drawing conclusions based on prior knowledge and pictures of the various animals.
Communicating: orally communicating by presenting the new-found ideas to other students
Safety Considerations: Students should be reminded about safe practises regarding the use of scissors. Teachers are reminded to use only round tip scissors. Background This classification activity will provide opportunities for children to investigate and compare the physical characteristics of a variety of plants and animals, including humans (e.g., some plants produce flowers and some do not; most plants have roots; some animals have two legs, while others have four; all animals have sense organs).
What You Need
- Old magazines
- Round tipped scissors
- Chart paper or large art sheets
What to Do
- Cut out all the pictures of animals/plants that the students can find in the magazines provided.
- Brainstorm with students to determine how many different characteristics of the animals/plants can be found amoung the various pictures found (e.g., two legs, furry, scales, sharp teeth, have flowers, covered in bark, etc.).
- Divide into groups and decide how each group will sort and classify the animals.
- Draw Venn diagrams on the chart paper (the teacher may wish to do this in preparation of the activity) and have the students sort the pictures according to the determined characteristics.
- Each group will then present their findings using the scientific terms discovered during the brainstorming activity.
Where to Go from Here?
The number of ways that animals are classified can be expanded to include more scientific terms such as omnivore, herbivore, nocturnal, reptiles, animals, etc. This could also be played as a matching game, i.e. match the mammals, four legged animals and so on. The students could be taken outside to explore various plants, animals and insects, and examine their natural environments.
- Discuss the importance of animals in the environment and ask the students to assess what would happen if one were missing.
Cross Curricular Connections
- The students are using research skills and a variety of text sources.
- The students can use computer software to write a report on an animal of their choice.
To enhance this activity, the following book can be read to the class as teacher-directed reading: Marianne Berkes, Going Home: Mystery of Animal Migration. o This book is available from The Magic Suitcase at the following site: http://www.magicsuitcase.ca
- There is a significant opportunity to consider this as data management using Venn diagrams to organize data.
- This activity also incorporates visual arts when producing a two-dimensional work of art that communicates a specific idea.
Credit Where Credit is Due:
This activity was adapted from a variety of activities including those found in 501 Science Experiments; Glen Singleton, 2007 published by Hinkler books.