Keywords: animal groups, habitat; Prepared by: Beth Wilson, Moshannon Valley Elementary School; Grade Level: Kindergarten through third grade; Total Time for Lesson: two 45-minute periods; Setting: indoor classroom

Materials Needed

  • films and videos about animals (Include all five categories of animals)
  • five animals from each category
  • magazines with plenty of pictures (two per child)
  • animal posters
  • scissors

Concepts to Be Covered

  • Wild animals require four basic habitat components: food, water, cover, and space.
  • Animals can be divided into five distinct groups: mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will be able to categorize the five groups of animals (mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians).

State Standards Addressed: Threatened, Endangered, and Extinct Species (4.7); Watersheds and Wetlands (4.1)


  1. Discuss with students the process of separating animals into groups or categories so that they are more easily studied and discussed. Explain that the following activity will help students learn more about animals. Let students group the animals with their own system first.
  2. Divide students into groups of three to five. Give each group magazines with a lot of animal pictures in them. Students in each group will look through magazines and cut out any animal pictures that they find. Students will place in a pile. After all pictures have been placed into a pile, each group will divide their pile of pictures into five - seven smaller categories.
  3. After each group is done, bring the entire class together again and have one person from each group tell why they grouped their pictures as they did. (Examples being color, size, shape, extinct or not, eating habits, living habits, etc.)
  4. Show students films and videos on the actual animal categories that scientists have divided animals into. Discuss these groups and why it is helpful to have animals broken down into smaller groups. Students may bring in pets that fit various categories and discuss them.


  • Students point to pictures of animals on poster and name animal group to which they belong.
  • Students match the animals listed on a worksheet to the group in which they belong.


Youngfleish, Kristi, and Margaret Brittingham. Wildlife Is All Around Us: Book 1, The Wildlife Detective. University Park, Pa.: 4-H Wildlife Conservation Program, Unit I.