Lesson plan

Move Like an Animal!

Have your students get energized while they learn about animal locomotion and move around like various animals!
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Animal locomotion takes center stage in this engaging first grade lesson plan. First, young learners will explore how different animals get around through song and story. Children will then cut out animal pictures and sort them into categories based on how they move from one place to another (e.g. swim, run, slither, etc.). As science learners explore different ways to move like an animal, they will also be building important skills related to nonfiction comprehension, critical thinking, and sorting and categorizing.

Students will be able to discuss different animal movements and be able to sort animals based on their locomotion.

(10 minutes)
  • Explain to your students that they will be learning about animal locomotion, or the ability to move from one place to another, today.
  • Write the word “locomotion” on the board, and explain the meaning.
  • Make a word web and ask your students to brainstorm different ways animals move. Write down their answers.
  • Watch Let’s Go to the Zoo - Animal Songs for Kids and invite students to get up and move around like the animals in the song.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask your students to join you for a story at the story area.
  • Explain to them that you will read a book about animal movement and that you want them to listen carefully and think about the different ways the animals are moving.
  • Read Swing, Slither, or Swim: A Book About Animal Movements to your students.
  • Point out some of the animals in the book, and explain how they move to the students.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask some students to come up to the book and then have them point to the animals and say how they move.
  • Discuss with the students that some animals are able to move in more than one way, for instance, dogs can run and swim.
  • Ask students to take turns discussing the text in partnerships and share ideas about the animals and their movements. Allow students to mimic some of the animal movements during their descriptions.
  • Explain to the students that they will are going to sort animals based on how they move.
(20 minutes)
  • Place the students in groups. Review the rules for collaborative group discussion by creating a poster titled "Group Work."
    1. Listen to others carefully
    2. Speak one at a time
    3. Talk about the text or topic
  • Have students give a thumbs up if they can agree to follow these rules for group discussions.
  • Explain to the groups that they will receive two sheets of paper with pictures of animals and that they will need to cut out the animals and sort them by the way they move.
  • Hand out the animal picture sheets and have the students begin to cut out and sort. As group members sort the pictures, have them discuss their placement with their group members. Remind your students that they might sort the animals differently than their friends but they should be able to discuss their ideas.
  • Choose some students to explain to the class how they sorted their animals.
  • Hand out a plastic baggie to each student and tell them to put their animals in it so they can use them again another day.

Enrichment:

  • To challenge students, ask them to think of and draw other animals that would go under the different categories of movement.

Support:

  • Give only one sheet of animals to the struggling student, or help cut out the animals if the student has difficulty using scissors.
(10 minutes)
  • Make notes of how the students sorted the animals and why they sorted them that way.
  • Circulate and listen to group discussions. Offer suggestions where needed and monitor students' ability to speak about the topic and text.
(10 minutes)

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