ALEX Lesson Plan


All About Animals

You may save this lesson plan to your hard drive as an html file by selecting "File", then "Save As" from your browser's pull down menu. The file name extension must be .html.

  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Richard Colley
System: Shelby County
School: Montevallo High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 29252


All About Animals


Biology students in this technology-based project will explain the significance of major characteristics used for classification in the kingdom Animalia. After collecting information about an assigned trait, students will take pictures of native animals that illustrate this feature. Students will then create a video Podcast explaining how their characteristic is beneficial to the animal and illustrated by the animals they found.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC (9-12) Biology
11. Classify animals according to type of skeletal structure, method of fertilization and reproduction, body symmetry, body coverings, and locomotion.
skeletal structure—vertebrates, invertebrates;
fertilization—external, internal;
reproduction—sexual, asexual;
body symmetry—bilateral, radial, asymmetrical;
body coverings—feathers, scales, fur;
locomotion—cilia, flagella, pseudopodia
TC2 (9-12) Computer Applications
12. Use digital tools to publish curriculum-related content.
Examples: Web page authoring software, coding software, wikis, blogs, podcasts
TC2 (9-12) Computer Applications
13. Demonstrate collaborative skills using curriculum-related content in digital environments.
Examples: completing assignments online; interacting with experts and peers in a structured, online learning environment
SC2015 (9-12) Biology
13. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to explain how organisms are classified by physical characteristics, organized into levels of taxonomy, and identified by binomial nomenclature (e.g., taxonomic classification, dichotomous keys).
a. Engage in argument to justify the grouping of viruses in a category separate from living things.

Local/National Standards:

ISTE. 9-12.3
1. Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.

2. Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, prepare publications, and produce other creative works.


Primary Learning Objective(s):

1. Students will be able to identify and describe key characteristics of the animal kingdom. (Body plan, skeletal, reproduction, fertilization, coverings and locomotion)

2. Students will be able to classify animals according to these characteristics.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

1. Students will be introduced to some of the basic concepts of taxonomy.

2. Students will be introduced to some characteristics that are used to identify animals with a dichotomous key.

3. Students will develop collaborative skills through the development of their media project.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

KWL template, animal classification flashcards, several sets of plastic animals, graphic organizer template, Excel spreadsheet of animal taxa worksheet, and foldable materials.

Technology Resources Needed:

LCD projector, computer, Internet access, PowerPoint of animal characteristics, access to computers for researching and creating Podcasts, digital cameras.


1. Review the characteristics of life.

2. Explain the concept of adaptation among organisms.

3. Overview where the animal kingdom fits into the classification of all living things. (Much of this will be covered in step 1 Engage)


Step 1 Engage- (Day 1-20 Min)

Title: Animal Intrigue

Initiate student interest in animals. Expose students to some of the interesting traits in the Animal kingdom.


1. Students will watch live animal Cam from Monterey Bay Aquarium or Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Students will list any behaviors or characteristics they observe.

2. Students will write down unusual traits seen in the top 10 ugliest animals.

3. As a class create a KWL chart for the animal kingdom.


Web Links


















Step 2 Explore (Day 1- 25 Min)

Title: Animal Exploration

Allow students time to explore the unique characteristics of various animal groups. This time will also be used to activate any prior knowledge about animals.


1. Divide students into groups of three and allow them to play "Go Fish" with animal Classification Flashcards.

How to use cards:
Print off two copies of each set of cards and paste them on a poster board. Next, cut out the cards and you are ready to play.
One game that can be played is Go Fish: Deal 5 cards to each person in your group. Students take turns asking each other for cards. However, unlike the original game of Fish, students will have to ask two questions.

Student A: Do you have a mollusk?
Student B: Yes, I do.
Student A: Is it an Octopus?
Student B: No, it isn't. Go fish.

2. Allow students to sort collections of plastic animals according to similar characteristics. These can be characteristics that students can see or from their prior knowledge about animals. Use as many different collections of animals as possible. ( Farm animals, Jungle animals, marine animals)

3. Students will create a graphic organizer illustrating five major characteristics of all animals. (Symmetry, skeletal, reproduction, fertilization, body coverings and locomotion)

Web Links

Step 3 Explain - (Day 1-45 Min)



Title: Animal Explanation

Students will be presented with important information and concepts dealing with animal characteristics.


1. Present students with PowerPoint on animal classification characteristics.

2. Guide students through Excel sheet of major animal taxa and characteristics. In groups students will complete worksheet of major groups.

3. Students will prepare a six tab foldable on the six animal characteristics explored in the lesson.

4. Assign collaborative groups and give research directions.


1. Groups will then research how this characteristic is exhibited in animals, as well as, how the characteristic benefits a particular animal in it's life.

2. Student will use digital cameras to take pictures of native local animals that exhibit this trait. Some pictures from the Internet may have to be used if no local animals are present.




Step 4 Collaboration- (Day 2-30 Min)

Title: Animal Research

Students will work in groups of three to assemble research, plan presentation and choose pictures of animal traits and animal representatives.


1. Cooperative groups will develop an overall plan for their Podcast.

2. Students will combine their individual research  and decide what information is most important to include about their animal trait.

3. Students will combine their pictures and decide which ones will be used in their project.

Step 5 Project- (Day 2 - 60 Min)

Title: Animal Podcast

Students will collaborate to create a Podcast to present their particular animal trait.


1. Students will select pictures that will be used in the Podcast.

2. Students will develop a narrative of their Podcast describing the trait and animal representatives that they choose.

3. Students will combine all information together and create the Podcast.

4. Students will present their Podcast at the beginning of the next class period.

**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

Assessment Strategies

Students will be evaluated using a rubric for the Podcast.


1. Have students read the classification example of a blue whale, then proceed to create an 8 part foldable, denoting the Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species for their group’s assigned animal.  i.e.: parakeet, dog, cricket, salamander, or turtle.


2. Have Students Memorize the  Order of Taxonomy by using a Mnemonic. A mnemonic device is a little phrase or rhyme used as a memory tool. These devices can be used by students of all ages and all levels of study. The order of taxonomy in biology is: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Genus, and Species. There are many mnemonics for this:

            Kevin’s Poor Cow Only Feels Good Sometimes.
            King Phillip Cried Out For Good Soup.


3. Students can download a picture of themselves and add animal characteristics to their appearance.              

4.  Allow students to complete a virtual frog dissection.


1. For an inclusion class with special education students, have them complete an animal classification crossword puzzle with a word bank provided. 


2. Have students play a review game on the basics of animal classification and taxonomy.  This would provide extra practice with the lesson’s concepts.


Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.