Classroom Resources

Monthly Themes

Zoo and Aquarium Month

Writing Prompt

Description:

Aquarium fish and zoo animals come in many shapes and sizes. They even make their own sounds. Have students write a paragraph that describes their favorite zoo or aquarium animal.

Activities

Grades K–1: Science
This Place Is a Zoo!

Have each child bring in one or two stuffed animals from home to create a classroom zoo. Older children can explain one or two facts about the animal, such as its natural habitat and what it likes to eat.

Grades K–2: Science
Animal Play

Have children learn some facts about bear behavior and have fun imitating bears. Children might also enjoy imitating other zoo animals, such as tigers, panthers, bald eagles, and desert tortoises.

Grades K–2: Art
Sock Animals

Here's an easy way to make a zoo full of animal puppets.

Grades K–2: Science
Animal Masks

Children can learn much about an animal by role-playing. Have each child complete a cutout mask with colored markers. Then have children wear the masks and perform one or two behaviors of each animal, such as the sound it makes or the way it moves. Older children can share several facts about the animal with the class.

Grades K–3: Science
At Home in the Sea

A habitat is a special home where animals find food and shelter. As students play Habitat Tic-Tac-Toe, have them discover some of the creatures that make their home in a kelp forest or the deep sea.

Grades K–3: Science/Language Arts
Aquarium/Zoo Bulletin Board

Divide a bulletin board into two animal “zones,” aquarium and zoo. Use blue paper for a water background and thin black or gray strips to indicate cage bars. Ask students to use book or Internet reference sources to research a favorite animal. Students can write or print a list of basic facts about the animal on decorative paper. Have students hang reports in the correct zone.

Grades K–8: Science
Here a Zoo, There a Zoo

Does your state have a zoo that is accredited by the American Zoo Association?

Grades K–8: Science
Polar Bear Experiment

Have students use water, ice cubes, and shortening to discover the benefits of blubber in freezing conditions.

Grades 1–2: Science/Music
Sea Creature Song

Singing is a fun way to learn. Children will enjoy singing song lyrics that teach about mammals, birds, and fish.

  • Found a Mammal
  • http://www.seaworld.org/fun%2Dzone/song%2Dbooks/found%2Da%2Dmammal%2Dsong.htm
Grades 1–2: Math
Connect the Dots

Have students practice number sequence by connecting the dots to make animal pictures.

Grades 1–3: Art
Zoo-Animal Mobiles

Students can create zoo-animal mobiles. After coming up with a list of zoo animals, have each student choose five animals to include on a mobile. Students can draw pictures of the animals, find photographs in old magazines, or download pictures from the Internet. Then have students decorate a white paper plate. Attach each animal picture to one end of a string, and attach the strings to the decorated paper plate.

Grades 1–4: Art/Science
Aquarium in a Bag

Have students create their own fish aquarium, using a large, clear plastic storage bag. Have students draw or cut out small pictures of fish and plants. Attach each item to a different length of string. Then have students tape each string around the inside of the bag. Students can use real pebbles for the bottom or crumple up small bits of colored paper. Have students label the project with fish names and other facts.

Grades 1–5: Science/Art
Build an Animal

Have each of the students design, construct, and name a brand-new land, sea, or airborne creature. Students can use everyday materials, such as clay, wood scraps, buttons, wire, sequins, pipe cleaners, plastic, aluminum foil, cloth, markers, and different types of paper. Have students include written facts about each animal, including habitat, eating habits, and behavioral details. Students could collect their animals in a classroom zoo or aquarium.

Grades 1–8: Science
Quizzes

Test students' knowledge about zoo and aquarium animals.

Grades 1–8: Language Arts
Postcards from the Wild

Students can keep in touch with friends and family with a “wild card.”

Grades 2–6
Zoo Puzzle

Students can put together an easy or challenging jigsaw puzzle of a zoo animal.

Grades 2–8: Language Arts
Word Finds

Have students find words related to aquariums and zoos hidden in a puzzle.

Grades 3–5: Mathematics/Science
How It Adds Up...

Have your students use basic mathematical operations to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of overfishing on a threatened species, the Patagonian toothfish (also known as the Chilean sea bass).

Grades 3–6: Science
Feeding the Birds

The shape of a bird's beak is a clue to what it eats. Have students make educated guesses about birds and their diets.

  • Bird Bill Matching Game
  • http://nationalzoo.si.edu/weblet.cfm?url=/Animals/Birds/ForKids/BirdBillMatch/billmatch.htm
Grades 3–8: Science
Designer Fish

Your students will understand the anatomy and coloring of fish in a new way after they design their own fish, then test-drive them on a coral reef full of lurking dangers.

  • Build-a-Fish
  • http://www.sheddaquarium.org/sea/interactive_module.cfm?id=7
Grades 3–8: Science/Language Arts
Fishy Poems

Have students correctly identify fish by reading clues in clever poems.

Grades 3–8: Science
Fish Home

Here is a lesson plan for a long-term classroom aquarium project. Included are “What You Need,” “What to Do,” an observation record, and several teaching options.

  • Fish Facts
  • http://www.eduplace.com/activity/facts.html
Grades 4–6: Science
Crossword Puzzle

Have students test their knowledge of zoos and aquariums.

Grades 4–6: Poetry/Science
Poetic Creatures

Students will investigate the characteristics, behavior, and habitat of a particular animal species. They will demonstrate their knowledge by writing poems that incorporate what they have learned.

  • Animal Poems
  • http://www.eduplace.com/activity/animal_poems.html
Grades 5–8: Science
Zoos: Pro or Con?

Hold a class discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of keeping animals in zoos. Take a class poll and discuss what might make students change their positions.

Grades 5–8: Science
Food Chain

Hold a class discussion on animal food chains, and explain that in most cases small animals are prey to larger predators. Have students choose a favorite fish and then do research to find out how large it grows. Have students line up according to the size of their fish to demonstrate the exchange of energy between predator and prey.


Houghton Mifflin