Animals are multicellular living organisms
that grow, reproduce, are capable of movement, respire and give off wastes.
They cannot make their own food, like plants.
Although some of the finer points of animal
classification are still being disputed, children can benefit from learning
that animals can be grouped together if they share enough characteristics.
Animals are divided into two main groups: vertebrates (with internal
backbones) and invertebrates (without internal backbones). The main divisions
of vertebrates are fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
Fish have fins and scales. They live in
water whether fresh or salty and breathe oxygen through their gills.
Reptiles are air breathing that have
internal fertilization and scaly bodies. Reptiles include snakes, lizards,
crocodiles, alligators, and turtles. Amphibians have smooth, moist skin and
breathe through lungs as adults. When they are young, they breathe through
gills. Amphibians must lay eggs in water and must keep their skin moist at all
Birds have feathers. Their front limbs are
modified to form wings and their eggs are protected by a shell.
Mammals have fur or hair. Mammals usually
have young that develop in the mother's body. The only exceptions to these
generalities are the platypus and spiny anteater which lay eggs. Mammals all
have glands in the mother's body that produce milk for their young.
Discuss with students the fact that
animals can be divided into categories according to how many characteristics
they have in common. Describe the division of animals into those with
backbones and those without. Show students different pictures of vertebrates
as you discuss each of the animals.
Instruct the students to cut out the 18
different animals in the worksheet. Have students sort them into the different
vertebrates including mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. You may
want to go over each picture to make sure students know what each picture is
depicting. (1. elephant - mammal; 2. turtle - reptile; 3. fish; 4. salamander
- amphibian; 5. sea - mammals; 6. chicken - bird; 7. horse - mammal; 8.
kangaroo - mammal; 9. camel - mammal; 10. frog - amphibian; 11. newt -
amphibian; 12. deer - mammal; 13. bear - mammal; 14. duck - bird; 15. sea
horse - fish; 16. snake - reptile; 17. bat - mammal; 18. monkey - mammal)
Check to make sure that each student has
sorted them correctly, then have them paste them into the appropriate groups.