Honolulu Zoo Society : Animals A-Z

Exploring Animals (Gr 4 - 5)

Topic Overview

Begin the Lesson

The variety of animals that roam the planet is certainly awe-inspiring. Students will explore some of the ways that animals are categorized such as their diets, their structures, their instincts.


Whole Class Introduction to the Lesson

You will need at least once computer with Internet connectivity and a projection device, a classroom with more than one computer, or access to a computer lab.  This introduction will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Introduce the predator-prey relationship by projecting this video clip to the whole class: http://animal.discovery.com/tv-shows/other/videos/i-predator-when-predator-meets-prey.htm. Scroll down to continue watching additional clips that explore why some animals are predators and others are prey.

To introduce the concept of cold and warm blooded animals, project this video clip: http://www.stufftoblowyourmind.com/video/clips/web-science-cold-warm-blood-video/.

As part of the introduction, you may want to review some of the glossary terms in advance of students going online. At this point you can launch the WebLesson as whole-class activity using a projection device, or you can assign students to work individually or in teams in a computer lab.



Excellent (30 - 20)

An excellent student response meets all the project requirements and demonstrates that the student absorbed key lesson concepts and gave them thoughtful consideration. The response shows original thinking, creativity, and a strong sense of purpose. Ideas are organized and clearly articulated according to the proper conventions of writing (at this grade level).

Satisfactory (20 - 10)

A satisfactory student response meets most of the project requirements but overlooks one or more important elements. It reflects a general understanding of the key lesson concepts but shows little depth. The response shows little creativity or originality. Ideas are somewhat disorganized and difficult to follow, and there are numerous grammatical and mechanical errors.

Needs Improvement (10 - 0)

The student response is perfunctory, showing little or no effort. It is unclear if the student thought about or even read any of the lesson content. Ideas are scattered or off-topic. If possible, ask the student to revisit the lesson with a peer or mentor and then rewrite his or her response.


WebLesson Sites
Everywhere we go, we can find animals. From the tiniest inchworm to a vast hippopotamus, there are millions of different animals. Zoologists try to compare animals based on their many physical characteristics.

Some animals have backbones and some do not. Some animals produce their own body heat, and some have to sit in the sun to keep warm. Let's explore some of the different types of animals we can find in the world.

You are working as a junior zookeeper on the weekends. You will get to visit with animals behind the scenes as you learn to help care for them. In order to do a good job, it is important for you to learn as much as you can about the animals. As you work through this lesson, note the information that might help keep them safe and well.
Lesson Pages
Vertebrates and Invertebrates
Rich Media
Interviews with Vertebrate Groups
Rich Media
Science on the Web: Cold Blood Versus Warm Blood Animals
Rich Media
Conclusion & Project
The animal kingdom contains all of the animals on the planet. This includes everything from the smallest insects to the largest mammals. Scientists have named 1.3 million species of animals, most of which are insects.

Animals are categorized based on many characteristics. By grouping animals together, it is easier to organize the information we have about animals and learn more about them.
As a junior zookeeper, you get to learn much more about many animals by working with them one-on-one. If you could choose two animals to specialize in, which would you choose? Provide a complete description of each animal. Describe the characteristics that make this animal unique. Make sure to include any specific adaptations that help this animal to survive.
amphibian - a cold-blooded vertebrate animal that lives in both the water and on land, such as a frog or a salamander
bird - a warm-blooded, egg-laying vertebrate with feathers, wings, and a beak, usually able to fly
cold-blooded - an animal that gets its body heat from the environment
ectotherm - an organism that depends on the environment for heat (cold-blooded)
endoskeleton - internal supporting skeleton such as the one found in vertebrates
endotherm - organism that generates heat to maintain its body temperature (warm-blooded)
exoskeleton - hard outer structure that provides protection or support for an organism
fish - a limbless cold-blooded vertebrate animal with gills and fins and living wholly in water
gender - male or female
harem - a group of females associated with one male
invertebrate - an animal without a backbone
mammal - a warm-blooded vertebrate animal with hair or fur, who makes milk to feed its young, and usually gives birth to live young (does not lay eggs).
nocturnal - active mainly during the night
offspring - children or young of a particular parent
pulverized - to reduced to very small particles
reproduction - the process by which an animal or plant produces one or more individuals similar to itself
reptile - a cold-blooded vertebrate with dry scaly skin, and typically laying soft-shelled eggs on land. Reptiles include snakes, lizards, crocodiles, turtles, and tortoises.
spinal cord - thick cord of nerve tissue within the spinal canal
transparent - fine or sheer enough to be seen through
vertebrae - the bones or cartilaginous segments that form and protect the spinal column
vertebrate - an animal with a backbone
warm-blooded - an animal that is able to make its own body heat