Identifying the Need to Care for Others

Discuss: Have children look at the chart on page 4

  • What animals are wild?  What makes them wild? (Wild animals take care of themselves)
  • What animals are domestic and not wild?  What makes them domestic? (Domestic animals have lived with people for so long they have changed.  They need people to take care of them. Provide the example of wolves living close to people and over thousands of years becoming domesticated dogs)
  • Look back at the bottom of page 3.  Which sentence gives important information that the video tells us too? (Wild animals take care of themselves)

Note: Some children may ask about feral animals.  Explain that a fear animal is a domesticated animal that survives in a wild state but is still considered domesticated.  Feral animals still depend on humans for food and shelter so they usually live near people.

Have children use the chart on page 5 to compare how wild and domestic animals meet their needs.

  • Look at the chart on page 5.  Let’s compare the needs of wild animals and domestic animals and how these needs are met.
  • How do wild animals get shelter?  How do domestic animals get shelter?
  • How do wild animals get food?  How do domestic animals get food?
  • How do wild animals get water?  How do domestic animals get water?
  • How do wild animals get space?  How do domestic animals get space?

Direct children’s attention to the chart they made in Lesson 1.  Discuss the placement of each animal on the chart.

  • Let’s look at the chart we made in a previous lesson.  Did we say an elephant is wild or not wild?  Let’s think about how elephants get their needs met.  Where do elephants get shelter?  Where do elephants get food?  How do they get water?  Space?
  • Is an elephant wild or domesticated?  After you have watched the video and read this article, do we need to move the sticky note to another column?

Explore the diagram of a tiger’s special features on page 7.

  • Wild animals’ bodies help them survive in the wild.  What do the picture and labels on page 7 tell us? (how the parts of a tiger’s body help the tiger survive)
  • How does a tiger’s tail help the tiger survive?
  • How do a tiger’s padded paws help the tiger survive?

Revisit the target question:  Why do wild animals belong in the wild?

  • Think about our target question.  How would you answer this question?

Lesson Extension:  “What a Lion Needs” Drawing

Have children apply what they learned about wild animals’ needs by drawing a picture showing what a lion needs in order to survive.  Ask children to draw a lion in the center of their paper.  If necessary, reread the chart on page 5 with children.  Using leading questions to help them think about and then draw and label what lion needs in order to live.

  • What thing do lions need to survive? (food, water, shelter, space)
  • Where do lions get their food?  Draw a picture that shows what a lion eats. (Guide children to draw other animals that a lion would hunt–for example, buffalo, antelope, etc.  Have children label the food source or dictate to you as you write it for them.
  • Lions need water to drink.  Where do lions get their water? (Guide children to draw a watering hole.  Have children level the water source or dictate to you as you write it for them)
  • Lions need a place to rest or get out of the hot sun.  Where do you think they get shelter?  Draw a picture of it. (Guide children to draw tall grass or a tree.  Have children lavel the shelter or dictate to you as you write it for them)
  • What else do animals need?  Show the space where lions live and can roam
  • Where does the lion find all of the things you have just drawn?

Identifying the Need to Care for Nature

Born to Be Wild

Overview:  Children will preview the Student Magazine and read, or follow along with, the article “Born to Be Wild.”  Children will discuss how wild animals meet their needs compared to how domestic animals meet their needs.  To extend the lesson, children may draw and label an illustration showing how a lion’s needs are met.

Materials:  Student Magazine, video, the chart from lesson 1, drawing paper, markers/crayons/paints.

Instructional Goal:  This lesson will help children understand that for wild animals to survive, they must meet their own needs from the wild.

Lesson Objectives:

  • Understand the conditions that animals, wild and domestic, need to survive
  • Understand that the difference between wild and domestic animals is how the animals meet these needs
  • Begin to describe the physical, social and behavioral requirements necessary for wild animals to thrive

Introduce Lesson Target Question:

Write the target question on board or large piece of paper and read it aloud to children

Why do wild animals belong in the wild?

Explain that as they work through this lesson, they will think about this question.  At the end of the lesson, they will discuss their thoughts about the question.

Preview the Magazine and Article

Give each child a copy of or access to the Student Magazine.  Have them preview the magazine by first looking at the table of contents.  Read aloud the names of the articles and stories and have children read along with you if they can.

  • What kinds of things do you think we will read about in this magazine?
  • Tell children that today they will read the article “Born to Be Wild.”  Ask them what page the article begins on and have them turn to that page.
  • Let’s look at the pictures in this article.  What do you see in the large pictures on page 3? (lion cub and pet kitten)  Which animal do you think is wild? (lion cub)
  • What does the chart on page 4 show us? (animals that are wild and animals that are not wild)
  • Look at the words in bold on page 3: domestic and wild animals.  These words are in the glossary at the back of the magazine.  Let’s turn to the glossary on page 18 and read the definition together

Show children 1:14-3:04 in the video that talks about what makes wild animals different from domestic animals and what wild animals need.  Before we read, let’s go back and look at what we learned from the video.

  • What does the video tell us about wild animals and domestic animals?
  • The heading on page 5 says, “What do wild animals need?”  What did you learn about what wild animals need from watching the video?
  • Let’s read this article and see what it says about being wild.  Let’s see whether the information is the same as we learned in the video.

Note:  If it is not possible to view the video, help children recall what they saw in this segment of the video.

Read:  Have children read the article.  Some children will be able to read the article independently.  Other children may benefit from reading the article with a partner.  You may want to read the article to beginning readers as they follow along.


Identifying the Need to Care for Nature

Activity:  A Green Iguana’s Natural Home

Give children Worksheet 1: Meet a Green Iguana.  Remind children of the scene in the video about the green iguana and review minutes 5:40 – 6:55 of the video if necessary.  Ask the following questions and list children’s responses on the board.

  • What does the green iguana’s natural home look like?  What things does the iguana need where he lives? (trees, leaves, flower, fruit, water)
  • Where does the green iguana get his food?  Where does he sleep?  Where else does he go? (finds leaves, flowers, and fruit in the trees; sleeps in the treetops; sometimes jumps into the water and swims.)

Tell children to draw and color the iguana’s home on their worksheet, including all the things they know the iguana needs to live.  They may also color the iguana.

When finished, ask the children to share their drawings.  Then discuss the green iguana’s adaptations and habitat:

  • What body parts help the iguana live in his natural home? (claws to climb; long tail for balance; tail and spines for defense; sharp teeth to eat leaves, flowers and fruit)
  • What would happen to the green iguana if he lived somewhere without trees? (Children’s responses may vary, but remind children that iguanas use trees for shelter, food, sleeping and keeping warm)
  • What would happen if he lived somewhere without trees and water? (Green iguana would lose their source of food and shelter and place to escape [water])

Identifying the Need to Care for Nature

Keep Wild Animals Wild Video

Overview:  Children will watch chapter 1 of the Keep Wild Animals Wild video, which gives an overview of the differences between wild and domestic animals, explains that wild animals are adapted to live in the wild, and discusses how people can share their world with wild animals.  Children will begin exploring adaptations and habitat by focusing on the green iguana shown in the video.

Instructional Goal: This lesson will reinforce the concept that some animals are wild and some are not and build an understanding of what it means to be wild.

Lesson Objectives:  Children will

  • Build curiosity about wild animals
  • Begin to list the conditions that wild animals need to survive
  • Distinguish between harmful and helpful human behaviors towards wild animals
  • Begin to demonstrate the willingness to treat wild animals with respect

Introduce Lesson Target Question

Write the target question on the board and read it with children.

How can we treat wild animals with respect?

Explain that as children work through this lesson, they will think about this question.  At the end of the lesson, they will share their thoughts on the question.

Preview/View the Video

  • Tell children that they will be watching a video about wild animals, what they need to live, and how people can share the world with them.  Ask children:
    • What kinds of things do you think you will see in this video?
    • What do you think wild animals need to live?
  • The children will view the video twice, once uninterrupted and once with pauses for discussion.  For the first viewing, tell children to pay close attention to the wild animals and what it means for them to be wild.
  • Play chapter 1 for the children.  NOTE:  Chapters 2 and 3 of the video cover wildlife trade, a subject that is beyond the scope of this unit.

Discuss the Video

  • Tell children that they will view the video again, but this time you will stop the video at certain places so they can talk about it.
  • Stop the video at the following minutes and ask children to respond to the questions below:
    • 1:10-1:19 (after the scene that shows the lion cub): The lion cub in the video looks like a cute kitten, but how is it different?
    • 7:00-7:12 (after the scene that asks about whether birds and tigers would make good pets): Would these animals make good pets?  Would an elephant make a good pet?  Why or why not? Have one or two children respond.  Let’s see what might happen with an elephant pet.
    • 7:55-8:22 (after the scene with the animation of the child behaving poorly towards the animals): Does this look safe for the animal?  Does it look safe for the child?  What do you think?
    • Revisit the target question:  How can we treat wild animals with respect?

Note:  Let’s think about our target question.  What are some ways you saw people treating wild animals respectfully in the video?  What are some ways we can treat wild animals with respect?

Identifying the Need to Care for Nature

Keep Wild Animals Wild:  Wonderfully Wild!

International Fund for Animal Welfare

Lesson 1: Introducing the Unit

Overview:  This lesson introduces the essential questions of the unit: What does it mean to be wild? and How do we live respectfully alongside wildlife?  As an introduction, children will think about and discuss wild and domestic (not wild) animals.  They will consider whether particular animals are wild and not wild, and they will do a sorting activity to reflect their understanding.

Instructional Goal:  This lesson will help children begin to understand how wild animals are different from domestic animals.

Lesson Objectives:  Children will being to define animals as either “wild” or “not wild.”

Introduce Lesson Target Question:  Write target question on a whiteboard or large piece of paper and read it aloud.

What does it mean to be wild?

Explain that as children work through this lesson, they will think about this question.  At the end of the lesson, they will discuss their thoughts on the question.

Introduce “Wild” and “Not Wild” Animals

  1. Explain to children that they are going to read a magazine about wild animals.  They will also view a video about these animals.  Explain that in this unit they will explore questions about what it means for an animal to be wild and how people can live respectfully alongside wild animals.
  2. Have children take a minute to think about what the words wild and not wild mean.  Then have them turn and talk with a partner about what they think the words mean.  Ask partners to share their ideas.  Note children’s responses to get a sense of what they do and don’t understand about animals that are wild and animals that are not wild.

Activity: Sorting Animals

  • Create a large chart on the board (or piece of paper) with the headings “Wild” and “Not Wild.”  Write the name of a different animal on several sticky notes–for example, lion, horse, elephant, hedgehog, lizard, turtle, children, cow, etc.
  • Read the name of each animal and ask children to talk with a partner to decide if they think the animal is wild or not wild.  Allow about half a minute for children to talk about the animal.  Then discuss these questions with the class.

This sticky note says “elephant.”  Should we put an elephant in the wild or not wild column?

Why do you think an elephant is wild?

Why do you think an elephant is not wild?

  • Place the sticky note in the column according to what the majority of children think.  If children do not agree, place the sticky note in the column that has the most support from children, but add a question mark to the sticky note.

We don’t all agree about whether [animal’s name] is wild or not.  We will come back and look at this animal again after we have read and talked more about wild animals.  We might decide to place the animal in a different column.

  • Repeat with the rest of the sticky notes.
  • Depending on the level of children, you may want to choose animals that can be both wild and not wild, such as ducks.

Do you think ducks are wild or not wild?  Why?

  • Revisit the target question:  What does it mean to be wild?  Remind children that they will learn more about what it means to be wild in this unit.


Identifying the Need to Care for Nature

Get Your Head in the Clouds


Do you remember staring up at the clouds as a child and seeing shapes and monsters?  Did your parents ever say “get your head out of the clouds” while you were daydreaming?  Well now’s your chance to help your kids get their heads in the clouds!  First graders are eager to learn about science, especially when it comes to the clouds.  Let your child daydream a little and use those science and writing skills in the process.

What you need:

  • 3 sheets of construction paper
  • 1 pencil
  • 1 marker
  • cotton balls
  • hole punch
  • Elmer’s glue
  • scissors
  • lined paper
  • yarn
  • pillow & blanket (optional)
  • folder (or book)

What you do:

  1. Pick a sunny day with lots of clouds and blue sky for this activity.  Grab a pillow, blanket, pencil, and construction paper and head outside!  Have your child spread out a blanket and place a pillow at one end of the blanket.  Then lay down, propping your head on the pillow and bending your legs at the knees.  This way you can use your legs as support for your paper and folder to draw on while seeing the clouds.
  2. Using your folder (or book), lay your paper on top of the folder.  Then look up at the clouds and have your child draw a picture of what she sees.  You child should draw 3 different pictures of cloud shapes, and write one sentence at the bottom of each picture to describe what she thinks the could looks like.  For example, “This is a huge dinosaur cloud” or “This cloud is pink cotton candy.”
  3. Next, go back inside and use a table to complete the project.  Make your pictures come alive by using your glue to attach cotton balls to the pictures you drew outside of the clouds.  You can also add color to the page by tracing your words in the sentence with a colored marker, or by tracing the cloud shape around the cotton balls.  Repeat this process for all 3 cloud pictures.
  4. Use a hole puncher to place 1 hole on the top left and top right corners of each page.  Then use scissors to cut yarn pieces about 6 inches each.  Use the yarn to tie the pages together to make a book which opens from the bottom of the page up.  You can also help your child to create a book cover and a title for the book, such as “Sarah’s Cool Clouds!”

This is a great way to teach your child the skill of observation and recording for science.  It also helps her practice writing and using her imaginations.  So grab your kids and head for the clouds!

Identifying the Need to Care for Nature

The Warmth of the Sun

by ScienceNetLinks

Purpose:  To help children broaden their understanding of the sun, particularly its critical role in warming the land, air, and water around us.

Context:  At this early level, it is important for children to begin to take notice of the world around them and learn both the basic and broad concepts about the structure and key processes that make up the universe.  In this lesson, children will take a closer look at the sun and begin to recognize its critical function in heating and warming the air, land, and water that sustain our lives.  This will involve drawing their attention to the basics of the heart around them and how the sun is the primary source of that warmth.  They will then perform a number of indoor and outdoor activities that support the benchmark, and help to begin their identification of the sun as the natural, universal source of heat in the world.

Planning Ahead:  Several hours before the lesson, fill two pans with water, placing one in a shaded area and another outside in the sun.  Note:  for the best results, it is important to teach this lesson on a warm, sunny day.

Motivation: Spark children’s interest in the basic workings of heat by asking simple, thought-provoking questions like the ones below.  Accept all reasonable answers and encourage children to speculate and elaborate on their responses.


  • When you are cold, what kinds of things or activities help you to stay warm?
  • What helps you to stay warm when you are indoors?  Outdoors?
  • Is it usually warmer during the day or night?  Why?

Now that children have been led to discover the heating role of the sun, ask questions like these to help them develop their benchmark-based focus and better prepare them for the activities in the body of the lesson:

  • What is the sun?  Where is it? (To keep answers simple: The sun is a giant star that is about 4.5 billion years old.  It is also the largest object in the solar system.)
  • What kinds of things does the sun do? (Answers will vary.  Among other things, the sun provides the earth and its inhabitants the light and heat they need to grow and survive.)
  • What kinds of things does the sun allow you to do every day?  (Answers will vary.)

Development:  Continue the lesson by distributing the Warmth Chart.  To aid in their comprehension, read over the chart carefully with the class explaining that they will go to three different areas–the classroom, the outside in the shade, and in the sun–and try to determine or feel the differences in warmth in each of the areas.  To do this, they will need pencils and will have to circle the level of warmth in each area–cold, cool, warm, or hot.

Ask children these basic questions before they finally decide on what they believe is the relative warmth or coolness (temperature) of the room.  For clarity, ask the same questions at each of the three indoor/outdoor areas.


  • How warm or cold does it feel inside?  In the shade?  In the sun?
  • Why do you think it is (cold/cool/warm/hot)?
  • Is the heat of the sun helping to warm this area?  Why or why not?

Encourage and accept all children’s responses so they can develop their ideas and awareness about heat variations in relation to the sun.  When they hae finished expressing themselves, close each of the three area discussions with the following directive:

“Ok.  Now it is time to circle the answer on the Warmth Chart that you feel is correction.  Is the ________(inside/shade/sunshine) ______________ (cold/cool/warm/hot)?”

When the children have finished all three areas, take a few minutes–while everyone is still standing in the sun–to talk about final results.  Ask them summarizing questions similar to these:

  • How many of you thought the inside was the warmest?
  • How many of you thought the shade was the coolest?
  • How many of you thought being in the sun was the warmest?
  • Were you surprised by any of your answers?  Why?

(Accept all answers, but ask for support of their views with explanations.)

After taking time to field their responses, everyone should be warming up in the sun.  As a way to transition into the water-pan, touch-and-test part of the lesson, draw children’s attention to the warmth feeling now by asking questions like these:

  • Do you think the water in the pan is cold, cool, warm, or hot?  Why?
  • If I put this pan in the shade, do you think it would change the warmth of the water?  Why or why not?  How about if I took it inside?

(Accept all answers, but ask for support of their views with explanations)

When finished, have children touch the water one-by-one.  (Make this activity as scientific as appropriate for children.  This may involve letting more advance children use thermometers to gauge the degree of warmth or coolness of the water.)  Then ask questions like these:

  • How does the water feel?  Are you surprised by the warmth of the water?  Why or why not?
  • Imagine that teh pan was filled with leaves or soil or even air.  How do you think that would affect the warmth of those items?  Why?

(Accept all answers, but asked for support of their views with explanations)

To address their own personal warming processes while standing in the sun, you may ask them questions like these before taking them back to the classroom:

  • By the way, how are you feeling now?  Are you warmer than you were an hour ago?  Give minutes ago?  Why or why not?

Once back inside, draw attention to the other pan of water.  Ask them similar warmth-oriented questions as you had done outside.  Also guage and ask them about their own personal cooling-off processes.

To better support the benchmark, be sure to draw further connections that–like the water and themselves–virtually anything that is taken out of the direct line of the sun will become cooler, whether it is cupcakes, backpacks, soil or air.  Close the lesson by deliberately reinforcing how the sun warms the land, air, and water around us.

Assessment:  Have children review what they have learned about the sun and it widespread warming effects.  They should be able to see more clearly now just how poerful and criticla the sun is in warming people and virtually everything around us.

As part of this discussion and review, have children ponder and answer questions like these:

  • What would life be like if there were no sun?
  • In what ways do plants and animals count on the sun?
  • Why do people go swimming in lakes an oceans in the summer?  Why not the winter?
  • Why do people need air conditioners?  What is life like for those who do not have or use them?

Identifying the Need to Care for Nature

Ages 5-7

The objective of these lesson plans along with suggested books and movies are for children to develop an awareness of the need to be responsible towards animals and plant life.  They will learn about protecting plant and animals, why peace for our planet is important, how nature is everyone’s home and about the beauties of the earth.

Activities Books Movies
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