Animal classification.

Classification of animals by what they eat.

Classification of animals by what they eat.

For this lesson we used the Smethport Pocket Chart Card Set Life Science. These are pocket chart cards that have animals and life cycles as cards. They also have index cards for herbivore/carnivore/omnivore, the habitats that animals live in, what class of animal they are…..a bunch of different ways to classify the animals. What’s great is that the back of each animal card has a small blurb about the animal, and then has little circles on the bottom that tell you what classification if belongs to (so the wild animals have a wolf’s head and the domestic animals have a pig- and so forth). The little circles are discreet. My kids didn’t realize they were there until we got stuck on an animal and I had to look at the back of the card to find out what animal it was.

I decided we were going to do two classification: Class of animal and type of food it eats. So we set up the classifications on the pocket chart first, and I pulled out all the animals. The kids worked together to put them in the right spot. Abby sometimes got things wrong, and Nicholas was quick to correct her.

Then we pulled it all down (well the kids did) and I put up the index cards for what an animal eats. These were trickier for the kids. Nicholas wanted to put various animals as herbivores when they were omnivores, and sometimes he was shocked at what a carnivore was. He was surprised that some varieties of frogs and lizards are carnivores and not herbivores.

Classification of animals by type of animals

Classification of animals by type of animals

Why did we do this? Because it is more fun than simply reading a book or drawing lines between the animals and circles of their classifications. Also, it forces the kids to read and see if they can identify things from what they know.

For instance: Some of the animals on the cards have pictures that show their teeth. Nicholas has learned – in the past – that carnivores need sharp and pointy teeth. So when he was confused, the first thing he did was say, “Abby, let’s look for sharp teeth.” He started to think logically and go through steps he knew. I never had to prompt him to look for a way to figure out that class or type of food an animal ate. I sometimes had to help correct him when he got things wrong, but I let him try and figure it out on his own first.

When the black bear came up as an omnivore, he raced to the computer and Googled, “What does a black bear eat,” because he was sure bears were all carnivores. After all, they have sharp teeth and eat fish. Now he knows betters – since Google is such a better resource than mom. It was a great activity.

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