An Elementary Mammal Exercise
activity exercisesuggested grade levels: 4-6

view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Mammals play an important role in Idaho's many habitats. 7 of the 28 orders of mammals occur in Idaho including primates. The Digital Atlas is an excellent resource for studying Idaho mammals because it is easy to use and there is plenty of information, including pictures and distribution maps.

1. Students will learn how to use the Mammal section of the Digital Atlas.
2. Students will be able to distinguish mammals from other classes of organisms.
3. Students will become knowledgeable about a selected species; they will write a report on the species they choose.
4. Students will draw their mammal and give "show and tell" presentation to the class about their species.

1. Review characteristics of mammals. (Fur, endothermic, give birth to live young, nurse young from mammary glands, non-nucleated mature red blood cells, etc). A classroom pet mammal such as a hamster could be very helpful. Have students answer the following questions as a class or class discussion, emphasize the unique features that mammals have.
   a. Is a snake a mammal? Why not?
   b. Is a bird a mammal? Why not?
   c. Is a fish a mammal? Why not?
   d. Is a frog a mammal? Why not?
   e. What types of food do different mammals eat?
   f. What kinds of habitats can mammals live in?
   g. What are the advantages of being warm-blooded? What are the disadvantages? (It takes lots of energy)
2. Encourage students to select their favorite species of mammal. Teachers should ask students which mammal they have chosen so they can guide students away from all choosing the same mammal. Students will use the Digital Atlas as a research tool to find information on their mammal. Students should be given class time for research so the teacher can help them with the Digital Atlas. Reports should include a description of their mammal, its diet, distribution, habitat, and the basic biology of their species. Written report lengths should be adjusted to match the need for your grade level.To get there: Click on Atlas Home, mouse-over Biology, then click on Mammals. Students will follow various links from the mammal page to find their chose species. Encourage students to use the Introduction and the Mammals of Idaho Checklist.
3. Students will draw a picture of their mammal and give a "show and tell" presentation on their species. Have students point out the features that are unique to mammals.

Handouts/Activity links:
These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.

Related Lesson Topics:
Biology: Mammals
Biology: Biology Topics

Lesson plan by James Scannell and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: