ALEX Lesson Plan

Vertebrates or Invertebrates

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Wendy Brown
System: Dale County
School: Midland City Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 15370


Vertebrates or Invertebrates


During this lesson, students navigate the Internet to discover facts about vertebrates and invertebrates. They use the facts they learn to participate in several class activities.
 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will compare and contrast characteristics of vertebrates and invertebrates. Students will correctly identify vertebrates and invertebrates.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

91 to 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Scissors, glue, index cards, three fish nets, bulletin board with tree house, bucket

Technology Resources Needed:

Computers with Internet access, presentation software, printer


Gather materials and prepare the bulletin board/center in Step 11. Bookmark websites listed in each step on the computers the students will be using.
1.)Begin the lesson by asking students what they know about vertebrates and invertebrates. Then take the following quizzes about vertebrates and invertebrates to assess students prior knowledge. Allow students to navigate the following websites to learn more about vertebrates and invertebrates.
This is a short quiz to help determine students prior knowledge about vertebrates.

2.)Invertebrate Quiz:
This quiz will help access students prior knowledge about invertebrates.

3.)Allow students to review the following sites and print pictures of vertebrates they find interesting.
Have students list facts using the vertebrate fact sheet attached.
(Animal Index- Vertebrates)
This site gives information about a variety of vertebrates.

4.)Vertebrates site:
This site has an animal index for students to explore.

5.)Allow students to review the following sites and print pictures of invertebrates they find interesting.
Have students list facts using the invertebrate fact sheet attached.
(Animal Index - Invertebrates)
This site has many facts about different invertebrates.

6.)Invertebrates site:
(Animal Index - Invertebrates)
This site has a list of different types of invertebrates students can explore.

7.)Discuss the fact sheets as a class. Then have students glue the pictures they printed during their Internet navigation on an index card. Ask students to write clues describing the animal on the other side of the index card.
Inform students that their pictures will be used in activities to help them become better at identifying vertebrates and invertebrates.

8.)Activity 1:
Classify Animals Game:
Hand out pictures of different animals and divide the class into two groups. Students will decide which animals in their group are vertebrates and which are invertebrates.
Check each group for correct classification. The group with the most correct answers wins.

9.)Activity 2:
Using the pictures from Activity 1, students will create two collages. One collage will represent vertebrates and the other invertebrates.
Check the collages for accuracy before the pictures are secured.

10.)Activity 3:
Who Am I?:
Review vertebrates and invertebrates and how to classify animals.
Divide students into two groups. Read aloud clues about various animals and each team will take turns guessing the identify of the animals.
An additional point will be given for identifying as vertebrate or invertebrate.

11.)Activity 4:
Hanging Around:
Classifying Invertebrates (Center or Bulletin Board Activity) Hang three nets with the following titles:
1) Simple Invertebrates
2) Invertebrates with shells or spines
3) Arthropods
Instruct students to choose animals from a tree house, then place them in the correct net. This activity will be a self-check with students finding correct answer in a bucket at the bottom of a tree.

12.)Activity 5:
Instruct students to compare and contrast what they learned about vertebrates and invertebrates on the venn diagram below.
(Venn Diagram)
This is a graphic organizer to help students compare and contrast vertebrates and invertebrates.

13.)Activity 6:
Imagination Creation:
Have students create an imaginary creature. Instruct them to draw a picture of the creature and create a fact sheet for their creature. Remind students to give enough information to let students classify their creations.
After all students have created their imaginary creatures, let the class classify the creatures.
First into vertebrate and invertebrate, next into sub-categories. (Let students come up with the sub-categories.)

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Assessment Strategies

The teacher will grade each fact sheet for accuracy. The teacher will assess each activity for accuracy.


Students may create a short story about their imaginary creatures. Ask them to include facts about vertebrates and invertebrates in the story.


Students may visit:
Enchanted Learning:Invertebrates and Enchanted Learning: Vertebrates for review sheets to help learn about vertebrates and invertebrates. Students may create small homes (one for vertebrates and the other for invertebrates) and classify pictures cut from magazines for practice or additional credit.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.