Macro-Structures of Animals - Bi-Peds

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Students will understand how the macro-structure of a plant or animal supports its efficiency and survival.

Big Idea

Animals and plants have macro- and micro-structures that support their ability to survive.

RAP - Review and Preview

3 minutes

I call students to the gathering area and we review what classifies something as living. I tell them that we have studied weathering of non-living things, and now we are moving on to investigate how living things are structured for survival.

For the next few days, we are going to look at the macro-structures of animals and plants. Today, we are going to start looking at animals and some of their unique structures.

Active Observation and Investigation

15 minutes

I choose one student, who I have previously prepped, to stand up and perform a series of moves across the room, in front of the class.

  1. walk across the room
  2. jump across the room
  3. hop across the room
  4. run across the room

I ask students how this student is able to move in such a way. Students often start to say things like, because he/she has legs. I ask them to be more explicit in their descriptions. I ask them to observe what is happening to the student’s body as he/she performs these movements.

I ask the student to perform each activity again, one at a time, while students observe. After each activity, we discuss student observations and I record them on an anchor chart. I require students to be as explicit as possible, but honing in on the different parts of the child’s body that is involved in the action (toes, foot, ankle, femur, tibia, fibula, knee, hip, etc.)

After we have done this for all four movements, we discuss how different body parts are used for different kinds of movement. I show students a picture of a human leg skeleton. We discuss how the skeleton is designed to facilitate the manner in which a human moves.  We look at a whole body skeleton. We discuss how other body parts are also designed to facilitate the way humans move.


Independent Work

15 minutes

Students move back to their work-space and begin to look at a poster of a human leg skeleton. We discuss the various components of a scientific diagram.

Scientific diagrams must include:

  1. drawings must be done in pencil
  2. drawings must be labeled
  3. drawings must be done on white paper
  4. labels must be in print
  5. drawings must have a title
  6. If drawing is a magnification, the magnification must be noted on the drawing
  7. Drawings are an outline of what you can observe. Do not include items you think you should see
  8. Do not shade or sketch. All lines should be solid
  9. Only use color if directed by your teacher

 We will go through a lesson on scientific drawing before we actually draw this leg.

Leg skeleton image comes from:


Wrap Up

2 minutes

I remind students that we observed the movement of a creature that walks on two legs. We discussed the skeleton structure that we thought contributed to efficiency and survival for a two-legged creature.


We looked at the structure of a leg of a two-legged creature and discussed its characteristics.


Looking ahead: we will look at creatures that walk on four legs and that fly and observe the similarities and differences in structure of these animals.