Introduce students to mammals and the things that make them different from other groups of animals. Discover the different parts of mammals such as backbones, fur or hair, claws, teeth, and horns, and see how these special body parts help them survive in their habitats.
Discover the different parts of mammals such as backbones, fur, hair, claws, teeth, and horns, and see how these special body parts help them survive in their habitats.
- Students will realize that there are many kinds of mammals; humans, dogs, cats, dolphins, and even whales are mammals.
- Students will know that mammals are fairly intelligent. The primate family, which includes human beings, is an excellent example of smart mammals.
- Students will notice that mammals eat a wide range of foods; they can either be carnivores, herbivores, omnivores, or even insectivores.
- Students will understand that mammals are warm-blooded, with a normal body temperature between 98.6 and 106 degrees. Mammals must regulate the temperature of their bodies in order to survive. For example, dogs pant and people sweat to cool off when they are hot.
- Students will know that all mammals have hair or fur, which helps insulate the body. Many mammals have colorful patterns on their coats that serve as a camouflage. Some mammals have hairs called whiskers, which help them sense what is around them.
- Students will understand that all mammals have backbones that protect their delicate spinal cords. Mammals also have a very resistant cranium that protects their brains.
- Students will realize that all female mammals birth live young, except for monotremes (platypus), which lay eggs. Female mammals have a womb where the baby develops; inside the womb a placenta supplies food and oxygen for the growing mammal. After a period of time, called a gestation period, the baby is born.
- Students will know that all female mammals have mammary glands that produce milk, which is a nutritious liquid that contains water, fats, proteins, calcium, lactose, salts, minerals, vitamins, and hormones. Milk must be nutritious because it is the only food newborn mammals ingest.
- Students will understand that mammals use diaphragm muscles to breathe with large lungs.
- Students will observe that mammals have many different types of teeth: incisors are used for piercing food; canines are used for tearing food; molars are used for grinding food. Some mammals do not have teeth; a blue whale, for example, has a baleen, which it uses to strain the ocean waters for plankton.
- Students will realize that different mammals have methods of locomotion; for example, bats fly, whales swim, humans walk, and kangaroos jump.
- Before viewing the video
- With younger students: Ask the class if they can name some mammals. List them on the board. After several mammals (dogs, cats, pigs, cows, etc.) have been named correctly, see what they all have in common. They have hair or fur, they feed their babies milk from their bodies, they are warm- blooded, and have live young.
- With older students: See how long of a list of mammals the class can make. List alphabetically (have the students alphabetize the list) and make a copy for each student. Discuss what all mammals have in common.
- After viewing the video
- With younger students: Have students bring to class pictures of mammals from magazines (cut with the parents' permission). Paste these on large cards and print the names of the mammals on the back. Flash the pictures in front of the class and have the students name the mammals. Put the pictures with the names in front along the chalkboard. Select students to see if they can identify the names by noting the beginning sound and recalling the mammals in the pictures. A student tries to read the name and turns the card over to reveal the picture and to determine if he/she is correct. If incorrect, turn the card back over.
- With older students: Review the video and have students list at their seats as many things shown about mammals as possible; for example, ways of cooling off, camouflage, whiskers, sense of smell, size, type of food they eat, horns, antlers, claws, hooves. Have each student select the names of three mammals listed by the class earlier. Let the students do the following from their own knowledge: for each of the three animals, students will write the above specific facts and draw the animal. Make a bulletin board.
- Mammals Feed Their Babies Mother’s Milk
- Mammals Give Birth to Their Young
- Mammals are Warm Blooded
- Mammal Coverings
- Mammals Have Vertebrae
- Mammals on the Move