Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Joy School - Mammals

What a fun week! I had so much fun putting this lesson plan together, and all the kids really seemed to enjoy the day.

Lesson: We learned all about what makes a mammal. Mammals have fur, they feed their young milk, they are warm blooded, have two sets of limbs, have lungs, live in families, and they like to play. Then we discovered that we are mammals too! We went through each of the qualifications and saw how they applied to us. The kids were surprised to find that they were, in fact, animals!

Then I pulled out a bunch of toy animals and the kids each got to have a turn to find a mammal in the group and to find a non-mammal. Some of the animals were tricky, like a whale, but the kids did pretty well finding the right ones.

I also used a puppet of a koala bear when I taught about marsupials and how their babies kind of get born twice since they live and grow inside a pouch for so long.

Art Time: I had prepared sketches of tigers and zebras, but had left the stripes off and we put them on by marble painting. It had been a while since I'd done this with my own kids, so it was fun to bring it back.

Snack Time: I made mammal-shaped pancakes. Their choices were bunny face, giraffe, or elephant. The shapes were pretty lumpy, but fortunately, preschoolers are pretty interpretive with pancake art. We had some hungry kids with us this week, because they ate and ate!
Video Clip: We watched a section of an Eye Witness Discovery DVD on mammals that taught about mammal's fur and it's purposes. It can provide camouflage, warn other animals to stay away, keep them dry, protect them from attacks and accidents, and keep them warm.

Science Time: Then we did an experiment I found on a Bill Nye The Science Guy program about mammals. I took out two glasses and filled one with hot water. On the other, I wrapped a dishcloth, (and a layer of furry fabric I just happened to have!) around it and secured it with a rubber band. Then I filled that glass with hot water. Both glasses were put into large bowls and surrounded by ice and cold water. We set them aside and in about twenty minutes we returned to see which glass would be warmer.

We dipped our fingers into both cups to feel the temperature difference. And here I must confess, I doctored the results a bit to prove the point. When I checked the glasses, I could feel the results, but I wasn't sure that the difference would have been strong enough for a three-year-old to really pick up on, so I added a little cold water to the non-insulated glass.

Craft Time: Each child was given a small picture of a mammal and spent some time colouring it. Then we taped them onto each of the six sides of a cube to create this:

It later became a prop for our singing time.

Singing Time:
The kids stood in a line and took turns rolling the cube. Then which ever animal was on the top when it stopped was the one we inserted into the song, "It Rained A Mist." The kids had fun rolling the box and we got them to sing pretty well.
I had also previously prepared pictures of farm animal mammals on popsicle sticks and the kids each got to choose one of those and we sang "Old McDonald" using these for each verse.
Story Time: This theme was an easy one to find books for. There are mammal heroes all through children's literature. But I found this book at the library and decided to use it because it touched on dividing animals into different groups. The bat has fur, but it also has wings. Is it a bird or a mammal? Which team should it play on in the big game?

Wiggle Time: I had gotten slips of paper ready with different types of mammals listed on each. They each took turns drawing a paper and then they had to act out that mammal until the other kids guessed what they were. Some were easy, (cow, lion, dog) others were more tricky, (squirrel, and seal).

Something Special: It was so great last week that we were able to see a live reptile and I really wanted to do that with this unit. I called up a neighbour who has a pet bunny and she let us borrow it for the day. What a hit! Everyone got a turn to hold and pat the bunny, who was very gentle and calm and a perfect way to end the day. Cute, cute, cute!

1 comment:

  1. You don't know me (Sheri Hatch) but I love your blog. My friend Alana gave me the link to it.
    I am friends with Nicole Skelton and got a ton of advice from her this fall when I ventured into our own little version of joy school. She gave me the theme schedule that you are using this year and we have been following along with it too. It has been so fun to see the amazing things that you have been doing for joy school. I am in love with all the fun ideas you have posted and can't wait to try them out!


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