What makes a Mammal a Mammal?
1 Grade, English/Language Arts and Science: Age of Mammals
Make the most of your Museum field trip by integrating it into your classroom curriculum. These lesson plans provide a sequence of pre‐visit, visit, and post‐visit activities. Built around grade‐appropriate essential questions, these lesson plans use a Museum field trip to activate student prior knowledge, engage minds, and expand thinking.
Essential Question: What is a mammal? Inspirational Work: Cheetah, “What is a Mammal” exhibit Hall: Age of Mammals Content Standards: English/Language Arts Standards: Writing Strategies: 1.2 Use descriptive words when writing Writing Applications: 2.2 Write brief expository descriptions of a real object, person, place, or event, using sensory details. Science Standards: Investigation and Experimentation: 4. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will: a. Draw pictures that portray some features of the thing being described.
Materials for your fieldtrip: ‐
Teachers should bring lesson plan document (1.1)
None needed for students
Pre‐Visit Into – 10 min • • •
Print out pictures of Cheetah and Cheetah Skeleton (Document 1.1) Show students the pictures of Cheetah and Cheetah Skeleton Ask students the following questions and have them share their responses with a partner (make sure to use descriptive words) “What do you see in this picture?”
Through – 20 min • • •
Introduce and read aloud essential question: What is a mammal? Review mammal characteristics: have fur or hair, make their own body heat, make milk for their young, have only 1 bone in bottom of jaw (Document 1.2) To activate prior knowledge ask students: “What are some mammals you know?” Students will draw pictures of what mammals they know (Document 1.2) Students can label their pictures using descriptive words
• Beyond – 10 min • • •
Remind students what mammal characteristics are Use easel paper to create a KWL chart (What you know, what you want to know, what you learned). Ask students the following questions: “What do you know about mammals?”‐ Possible student response: “I know a cow is a mammal because it feeds its’ baby from its body.” “What do you want to know about mammals?” Teacher records student responses on chart
Visit Into – 10 min • • •
Gather students in front of the cheetah display Remind students why this cheetah is a mammal: Live birth, suckle their young, have fur or hair Ask students to think about what they notice about the cheetah they are observing. They can talk about the size, color, texture and shape of the cheetah.
Teacher models a possible way to respond, such as: This _______ is a mammal and it has _____________.
Through – 20 min •
Students will walk around the Age of Mammals Hall in a pairs looking at the displays (with help of chaperones)
In order to describe the mammals they will be observing, the students can practice describing with a partner using the model provided earlier: This _______ is a mammal and it has _____________.
Beyond – 20 min • • •
Gather students back together Tell students they will act out one of the mammals they observed Give students time to talk to their partner and decide which animal to act out If time allows, have students perform for the rest of the group so they can guess which animal is being portrayed Teacher can review why that animal is a mammal
Post‐Visit Into ‐ 10 min • •
Complete KWL chart from Pre‐Visit activity. Ask students “What did you learn about mammals?” Discuss what students learned and add to chart
Through‐ 20 min •
Teacher creates a list of mammals that were observed in the Age of Mammals exhibit with the students
Use easel paper to write a poem with the whole class, about these animals. Use descriptive words and sounds. Frame for Poem: _____________ are mammals! They have __________ (adjective) ____________ (noun). ________ (sound of the animal)!
Example of the poem could be: Cheetahs are mammals! They have spotted fur! Roar!
Beyond ‐20 min •
Students pick their own animal and use descriptive words to write their own poem (Document 1.4)
Have students write what they know about mammals. (Document 1.5)
Name ________________________________ Date ___________________________________ Pre‐Visit Worksheet What are some mammals you know? Label and draw.
Mammal #1 Mammals have:
fur moms make milk live birth (not from an egg)
Mammals have: fur moms make milk live birth (not from an egg)
_________________ are mammals! (name of mammal) They have ___________ ___________. (adjective) (noun) ____________. (sound of mammal)
Reflection/Assessment Name ____________________________________________ Date ________________________________ Write and draw about the characteristics of mammals.