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How Do I Survive?

Main Core Tie

Science - 2nd Grade
Standard 4 Objective 1




The students will be able to compare and contrast the characteristics of living things in different habitats.



  • What Do You Do With a Tail Like That?, by Steve Jenkins, ISBN: 0‐618‐25628‐8
  • Many Kinds of Animals, by Bobbie Kalman, ISBN: 978‐0778775973
  • Animalogy: Weird and Wacky Animal Facts (Animal Planet), by Rita T. Mullin, ISBN: 978‐ 0517800003
  • Animal Senses: How Animals See, Hear, Taste, Smell and Feel (Animal Behavior), Pamela Hickman and Pat Stephens, ISBN: 978‐1550744255
  • Cold, Colder, Coldest: Animals That Adapt to Cold Weather (Animal Extremes), Michael Dahl, ISBN: 978‐1404817418

Background for Teachers

Using graphic organizers can help students on all levels understand content concepts more clearly, as they help the students organize the material. This can be especially true for students reading below grade level, as the organizers can help them with reading comprehension. They are also helpful with gifted learners, as organizers help them bridle and categorize their expansive thinking.

Intended Learning Outcomes

(P) When science investigation is done the way it was done before, we expect to get a very similar result.
(N) Sometimes people aren't sure what will happen because they don't know everything that might be having an effect.
(C) In doing science, it is often helpful to work with a team and to share findings with others. All team members should reach their own individual conclusions, however, about what the findings mean.

Instructional Procedures

Invitation to Learn:

Animal Characteristics

  1. Pass out the Animal Matching Cards to the students. Explain that for each picture there is a written description of the animal. Students need to find the match to their cards.
  2. Give students time to try to find their matches. Once students have found their matches, post their matches on the board and briefly discuss them.
  3. Read the book What Do You Do With a Tail Like That? to the students. As you read, they will learn more about the animals on the cards they just matched.
  4. While reading, allow students opportunities to give their ideas about how the animals use the characteristics talked about in the book.
  5. After reading the book, pass out the Animal Cards and allow students to match the cards up again. These cards have more information about the animals found in the book.
  6. Again, discuss with students the characteristics of the animals found on the cards.
  7. These cards can be used on a bulletin board or displayed around the room for students to learn from.

Animal Compare and Contrast

  1. Discuss with students what it means to compare and contrast.
  2. Show students a Venn diagram and explain how this is used when we compare and contrast.
  3. Work through an example diagram with the students. Choose two animals to compare and contrast, showing students what to look for and what to write on the diagram.
  4. Pass out a Venn diagram to each pair of students.
  5. Have the students choose two different animals to study and write them at the top of the diagram. Working in pairs, have them complete the diagram.
  6. When finished, allow time for students to share their diagrams with the rest of the class.
  7. Using pictures printed from the Internet or taken from magazines, give each student two animals to compare and contrast on their own using the Venn diagram.

Animal Characteristic Art

  1. Give each student an animal coloring page.
  2. Tell students that they need to identify at least five characteristics that their animal has and write them on the back of the page.
  3. Students need to also tell what each characteristic is used for or how it is helpful to that animal.
  4. Students should then turn their lists into a paragraph about their animal, written on a different piece of paper.
  5. Students can then color their pictures. These can be displayed around the room.

Lesson and Activity Time Schedule:

  • Each lesson is 55 minutes.
  • Each activity is 30 minutes.
  • Total lesson and activity time is 85 minutes.

Activity Connected to Lesson:


  1. Share with students the definition of a habitat. A habitat is a place where an organism (animal) normally lives.
  2. Tell students that you are going to study four different habitats and some animals that are found in those habitats.
  3. Use the Habitat Posters to share information with the students about the habitats.
  4. Choose 2‐3 main ideas about each habitat that you want students to remember.
  5. Have students record those ideas on their Habitat Page (pdf) (you will need two copies of this). They will also need to draw a picture of the habitat to go along with the main ideas.

Habitat Classification

  1. Using chart paper, create a chart for each of the four habitats studied.
  2. Pass out the Animal Cards to students.
  3. Students should place their animal on the habitat chart that best fits the habitat where their animal might live.
  4. Discuss common characteristics of animals in each habitat.
  5. Have students suggest other animals that might live in each habitat.

Activity Materials:

  • Chart paper
  • Habitat Posters (pdf)
  • Animal Cards
  • Additional pictures of animals


Language Arts:

Create a baggie of habitats and a baggie of characteristics. Students pull out one habitat and three characteristics. Students then write a creative story about an animal that lives in the habitat and has the characteristics chosen.


Students can draw a picture of the animal written about in their creative writing story. Students could also create a sculpture of an animal using modeling clay or salt dough.


Students can measure things according to the lengths of certain characteristics of animals. For example, students can measure things using the length of an anteater's tongue (2 feet).

Family Connections:

  • Have students find animal pictures in magazines at home that they can bring in to share with the class.
  • Pictures of family pets can be brought in to discuss as well.
  • Have students create a college of animals that are found in a particular habitat or that have a certain characteristics.

Assessment Plan

  • Have students turn in the Venn diagram they completed on their own or have them complete an additional one for assessment.
  • Monitor student participation in group activities.
  • Use written paragraphs about their coloring pages to assess their writing skills.


Lambert, M. & Carpenter, M., (2005). Visual learning: Using images to focus attention, evoke emotions, and enrich learning. MultiMedia & Internet@Schools, 12.5, pp. 20‐24.

McCoy, J. D., & Ketterlin‐Geller, R., (2004). Rethinking instructional delivery for diverse student populations: Serving all learners with concept‐based instruction. Intervention in School & Clinic, 40.2, pp. 88‐95.

Created: 03/20/2011
Updated: 02/05/2018