Characteristics of Mammals Mini-Lesson
Objective: Students will learn about some of the traits that mammals share.
Suggested Time: 15 minutes
Reading Level: Upper Elementary
As far as we know, mammals appeared on Earth some 200 million years ago. We know because we have found their fossils: bones, teeth, and other MORE
Print or Project
- 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.)
- 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 "Web-footed Wonder" is a good one for the platypus? Why or why not?)
Click the thumbnail slides below to see the captions and kid-friendly copy up close.
- Continue the Conversation: Point out to students that mammals share many characteristics with other groups of animals as well. For example, all mammals are vertebrates—but so are birds, amphibians, and reptiles!
- Write about it: Have students "invent" a new mammal! They can draw a picture of the mammal and then describe how the animal illustrates the mammalian traits, or characteristics, they've just learned about.
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
Bird or 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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