Keywords: Mammal, Lifespan, Habitat, Environment, Predators, Offspring; Grade Level: 3; Total Time Required: Four forty minute classes; Setting: Classroom, Library, and Computer Lab


  • The student will obtain basic mammal characteristics.
  • The student will choose a Pennsylvania mammal to research.
  • The student will write a report on a Pennsylvania mammal including information from given outline.
  • The student will create a Pennsylvania mammal in its habitat as a diorama.

Materials Needed

Shoebox for each student, with a variety of materials for habitats (colored paper, soil, pebbles, leaves, twigs, etc.)

State Standards Addressed: 3.1.7, 3.2.4, 3.2.10, 3.3.4, 3.3.7, 4.1.4, 4.3.4, 4.6.4, 4.7.4, 4.7.7

Subjects Covered: Science, Reading, Writing, Typing

Topics Covered: Mammals of Pennsylvania


Lecture, Research, Application, Writing, Creative Design


Paragraph and Diorama


Explain to the students that mammals are warm blooded, have hair, and give milk to their young. Have students brainstorm a list of mammals that they believe live in our state of Pennsylvania. Compare and discuss.

Supply a list of Pa mammals to each student and allow them time to choose a mammal to research. Also, give each student an outline of information needed. (Common name, Scientific name, diet, physical appearance, enemies, habitat, offspring, lifespan, and one amazing fact about the animal)

Allow students to find and record the outline information on their chosen mammal via internet or books.

Students then use the outline to write a rough draft report on their mammal. Each topic should be its own paragraph. After corrections are made they type a final draft of their report.

Prior to teaching this lesson I ask each student to bring a shoebox to school for the diorama project. Once a mammal is chosen the students are to gather the materials that they will need to create the mammal's habitat. I supply the self-hardening clay for the making of the mammal as well as the paint to paint the mammal. (Allow the clay to harden at least one night before painting.)

I usually display the reports with the dioramas in the hallway. I have also invited the local Pa game protector in to talk to the students on Pa mammals during the same week. They have been very willing and helpful.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission as well as DCNR have given me posters that I also use during this unit.


I grade the report as well as the diorama. I am most critical on whether or not all of the outline information is included in the report as well as if the diorama habitat is accurate.

Literature Cited

The students will include a works cited page on their report.

Helpful websites:


Ben Porkolab, Woodland Elementary School- Third Grade