Meet the Mammals Mini-Lesson

Objective: Students will learn there is great diversity among the different orders of mammals.

Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Reading Level: Upper Elementary

Teacher Background

There are around 4,000 species (types) of mammals. Because of the number of domestic species, and the popularity of mammals in zoos, MORE

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Print or Project

  1. A Visual Overview: Show the slideshow of photos to your class. Each has a descriptive caption and kid-friendly copy for your students to read. (Please note that there is also more extensive teacher note copy just for you.)
  2. Creative Caption Review: Once you've been through the slideshow for an overview, go back through it again. This time ask students to explain why the captions do (or do not!) work. (Example: Do you think the caption "Pouch Pals" is a good one for the photo of the wallabies? Why or why not?)

Click the thumbnail slides below to see the captions and kid-friendly copy up close.

  1. Continue the Conversation: Ask students to think of some mammals they've seen in the last week. (Examples include dogs, cats, hamsters, etc.) If no one mentions it, remind students that they are mammals, too. Ask students why they think animals in this group are so diverse. Encourage them to think about how different traits help animals survive in their environments.
  2. Write about it: Tell students to pretend they get to pick four mammals that will live in a new zoo. Have each student write a brief description about their mammal picks—including why their choices would be good to include in the zoo.

Extension Activities

Reinforcements: These worksheets will be useful as you further develop your teaching unit. The Word Power worksheet will give your students vocabulary practice with key terms from this mini-lesson and the related activity will help reinforce key concepts on mammals.


Word Power Vocabulary
Grade: 4 - 6
Students practice vocabulary relevant to mammals by using each defined word in a sentence.



Which Animals Have Backbones?
Grade: 3 - 5
Students classify a selection of animals as invertebrates and vertebrates.



Excerpted from:

Eyewitness: Mammal

Here is a spectacular and informative guide to the natural world of mammals, offer a unique "eyewitness" view of the natural history of mammal behavior and anatomy through stunning real-life photographs.

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