Animals are very useful to humans. Students
are familiar with their pets, and that meat, milk, cheese, eggs, honey and
some other animals products are used as food, but they many not have thought
about other uses. Most have never seen a horse or ox drawn wagons and plows
but they probably know about horse racing and riding for fun. Some cowboys
still use horses, as do some park rangers and police. They many not have
thought about leather, violin bows (made with horsehair) and strings (some
made with sheep gut), silk, wool, alligator shoes and purses, snake skin hat
bands, fur coats, pearls, glue and gelatin (made from cartilage and bones)
fertilizer, or truffle-hunting pigs or the cormorants that some Chinese use
Students were born a little late to see
elephants raise a circus tent, and on the wrong continent to see them do other
heavy work. It might be worthwhile to mention biological controls, such as
mosquito fish that eat mosquito larvae around a marshy area and ladybugs that
eat aphids and scales.
Pass out to students one item at a
time, and have them guess what part of the animal it may have come from. You
may want to use the following examples:
- Feather: Feathers come from birds. They are used in
pillows (down from geese), sometimes hats, and other decorations.
- Leather Belt: Leather comes from the hide of a cow.
It is processed and then made into different articles of clothing. It is
- Shoes: Leather from different types of animals from
cows to snakes.
- Milk container: Milk comes from cows and goats.
- Discuss other animal uses. However, you
might want to bring up the idea of us eating animals carefully. Some children
have never thought about it and may be a little repulsed from the idea.
- Review which meats come from which
animal (pork from pig, beef from cow, etc). Even invertebrate animals like
lobsters, crabs, and sea urchins are used as food.
- Review which animals are used for
transportation in underdeveloped countries today and in previous centuries.
Include elephants (Africa, India), camels (Africa), horses, oxen, donkeys, and
- Wool is used to make sweaters, pants,
rugs, and many other clothes items. Silk comes from silk worms.