Lesson plan

Five Senses at the Zoo

What happens when you observe the animals (or children) at the zoo? Find out in this fun writing and science infused lesson that combines learning about the five senses with humor!
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to use their five senses in a piece of writing.

(5 minutes)
  • Invite the class to gather for the start of the lesson.
  • Ask students to close their eyes and imagine they are at the zoo. What might they hear, see, smell, feel, or taste?
  • Tell students to turn to a partner and share some of their ideas.
(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud The View at the Zoo by Kathleen Long Bostrom
  • As you read, pause to connect the five senses to the story (e.g., “What do they see?”) using an interactive reading model with the class.
  • At the end of the read aloud, write the words See/Smell/Hear/Feel/Taste on the board and explain that these words are all part of our five senses. Our five senses help us learn about the world around us, just like the animals and people in the story were doing.
(10 minutes)
  • Have the students brainstorm the different things they heard in the story to go under each category on the board.
  • Demonstrate choosing one of the senses and drawing a picture of the zoo to go with that sense. For example, use hearing and draw a picture of the monkeys at the zoo. Then, write the sentence “At the zoo I hear monkeys.”
  • Ask students to think of another sentence that could be for the same sense using the sentence starter, “At the zoo I ____.”
(20 minutes)
  • Explain that students will now get to choose which of the five senses they want to focus on in their writing and for their illustration.
  • Remind the class to first choose a sense, then illustrate their picture. Finally, they will write a sentence using the sense they chose.
  • Ask a few students to repeat each step of the instructions back to you.
  • Pass out materials and have students work independently.
(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud The View at the Zoo by Kathleen Long Bostrom


  • Provide students with sentence starter, "At the zoo I hear/see/smell/taste/feel ____."
  • Provide students with written directions (listed below) with visual references for each step.
    1. Choose a sense.
    2. Illustrate a picture.
    3. Write a sentence using the sentence starter.


  • Have advanced students write an additional sentence using another sense.
(5 minutes)
  • Assess whether students are able to create a zoo scene that focuses on one of the five senses and write an accompanying sentence to describe their scene.
(5 minutes)
  • Pair students together and ask them to provide feedback to their partner using the sentence starters, “I appreciate your work because ____” or “I noticed ____.”
  • Close by hanging student work and celebrating their hard work.

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