1) several pictures of mammals
2) index cards
3) books or websites about mammals, and
4) some mammal take-home sheets
Once you have the materials, start by showing your students pictures of five mammals that are quite different from each other. For instance, a dog, rabbit, whale, kangaroo and monkey. Inform the children that each picture is a picture of a mammal. Explain that “mammal” is a class of animals, just as reptiles, fish and birds are other classes. Next, ask your kids to brainstorm and tell you things that the five animals have in common. Mark their answers on the chalkboard. If they are stumped, ask leading questions such as “How do they give birth? How do each of them move? What keeps each of them warm?” Once you have an accurate list of characteristics, title the list “Mammal Traits.” Then review this list and explain that these are common among all mammals.
At this point, your students should know how all mammals are alike. Now point out differences among each of them. For instance, some mammals are meat eaters, while others eat plants or insects. Some mammals are usually on the land, while others spend the majority of their time in the sea.
Next, play the “Mammal Mystery Game.” Ask the kids to select a mammal that they want to learn about. They’re not to tell their selection to anyone except you. Now give the students an index card and have them research their mammal via online and printed resources. On the card, they should note 8 to 10 clues that will tell what animal they are researching, without actually naming the animal. Once the students are done, ask each of them to present one clue and let the rest of the students try to guess the animal. If they do not guess, he / she gives another clue, until the audience finally guesses which mammal it is. Then move onto the next student.
Finally, do a search on the Internet for “mammal activity sheet” or “mammal handout.” Once you find a good one, print it out and give one to each of your students as homework.
Here is our 52-Card Deck on Mammals that includes 4 Fun Interactive Learning Games: