Animals Teacher Guide
It is believed that between nine or ten million animals inhabit the earth. They range in size from just a few small cells to many tons. All animals are heterotrophic. This means that they depend on other living organisms for their food. Most animals ingest food and then digest it in an internal cavity such as the stomach.
The bodies of animals are made up of cells which are organized into tissues. These cells contain complex structures inside the membranes and is different from that of organisms. The tissues do particular functions and are formed into numerous necessary organs. Animals are grouped into two main categories. They are those with back bones (vertebrates) and those without (invertebrates).
The Earth is home to many different kinds of animals. Recent studies show that there are 10,000 different bird species alone that roam the world. Did you know that the largest animal alive is the blue whale? There are so many things to learn about the animal kingdom, and that is why we created the ultimate animals teacher guide.
We offer tons of information on the different animals that are among us including mammals, fish, birds and reptiles. Students will learn to categorize the different animals, and learn how each group of animals function and live. All animals are dependent on others in order to survive. We have several printable lesson plans, worksheets, activities and resources on animals.
One of the benefits of teaching children about animals is that they learn to care for and appreciate other living things. A dog for example, is much like us humans when it comes to emotions. They get happy, sad, and even scared. Children can relate to these feelings, and when they learn to take care of another living thing, such as a pet, they learn to build up confidence and respect for their pet and other animals.
There are many different species of vertebrate animals. Some of the most common are mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.
Mammals - You and I fall into this category as well as dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, and goats to name just a few of the many animals that are mammals. Mammals are warm blooded which means they regulate their own body temperature. Most animals in the mammal group will have hair or fur and carry their babies in their body until birth. The mammal mother will feed her baby milk from her body. Mammals can live either on land or in the sea. The largest mammal is the blue whale.
Birds - We all recognize birds when we see them. They have wings and their bodies have feathers. These feathers will help the bird to fly and also keep them warm in cold weather. Their hearts have four chambers and they use lungs for breathing. Birds lay eggs which are guarded by the parents until the babies are big enough to leave the nest. There are approximately 10,000 species of birds in the world today.
Reptiles - These cold blooded animals have been on the planet for over 300 million years. Some of the most common reptiles include snakes, lizards, turtles and crocodiles. Most reptiles will lay eggs in a sandy area and when the eggs hatch, a young completely formed reptile will emerge. Other reptiles will keep their eggs inside their body until their baby is born. You can distinguish a reptile by its skin which is usually covered with scales. Amphibians - Amphibians are cold blooded animals that have a dual life. They can exist both on the land and in the water. They are some of the first known animals to exist in the world and the most common would include frogs, toads and salamanders.
Fish - Fish are well known in our world today. They live in the water and use gills to breathe. There are fish that live in salty oceans as well as fish that make fresh water their home. They are cold blooded and are found in all parts of the world.
Invertebrates differ greatly from back boned animals. This group would include mollusks, worms, arthropods, echinoderms and coelenterates.
Mollusks - Mollusks make up one of the biggest groups in the animal kingdom. There are more than 100,000 known species. This group is known for their shells. They are soft-bodied animals and some of the most common are snails, clams and slugs from the sea.
Worms - Worms are amazing little creatures. With their pointed type head, they are able to burrow into the soil while their flat type tail acts as a press to pack the soil. Their small bodies are covered in slime which is used for numerous reasons. It keeps the worm clean, makes the worm slippery and is used as a form of concrete to cement their burrows. Worms have bodies which are made up of many rings.
Arthropods - Arthropods could include spiders, insects, crustaceans, scorpions and centipedes. There are over one million species of arthropods known to man today. It is amazing to learn that these seemingly innocent little creatures are responsible for helping mankind either directly or indirectly with medicine, food and clothing. They have also been responsible for destroying crops, producing famines and ushering in plagues. It seems that we sometimes can't live with these little pests but can't live without them either!
Echinoderms - This class of animal includes about 6,000 species that call the ocean their home. Starfish, sea cucumbers and sea urchins are part of this group. The starfish is an amazing sea creature. Shaped like a five pointed star which are a type of arms, the starfish uses these to cling to things and to move about the ocean. Echinoderms are equipped with simple nervous and circulatory systems.
Coelenterates - These animals also live in the ocean. There are about 9,000 species in this group. Some of the most common are coral, jellyfish and sea-anemone. Many of these are shaped like a cylinder and have a mouth and tentacles coming from one end. If you have ever been to the beach, perhaps you have seen a jellyfish. They resemble an open umbrella and have many hanging tentacles. The coelenterates have an organ with a poisonous sting when disturbed. This is how they capture their prey, pulling them into their grasp with their tentacles.
The word animal comes from the Latin word animal which means "with soul." Is it any wonder that we as humans, love animals and try to enjoy them in nature as much as possible?
Related Teacher Resources That Are Worth A Look:
- Animal Trial
- Bird-Watching Activities for Kids
- Cyber-Starters, Farm Animals Workbook
- Do The Research!: Baby Names
- Farm Animals Theme Workbook
- Guess That Animal?
- The Animals of Spring Lesson Series
- The Big Zoo
- The Electronic Zoo