Macro-Structures of Animals - Quadra-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 that we looked at how a bi-ped (two-footed) creature moved. We looked at a human leg skeleton and we are going to draw that today.

I tell them that once we have drawn that bone, we will compare the movement of a quadra-ped (four-footed animal). 

Independent Investigation

20 minutes

Using the information learned in the previous lesson about making scientific drawings, students draw a human leg skeleton from a poster I have for them.

I give students a rectangle of white paper. This is about one fourth of a sheet of paper. This offers students parameters for size and scale. These papers can be pasted into students' interactive science notebooks after drawings are complete.

Active Observation and Investigation

25 minutes

We watch a movie of a lion walking. One of the best free videos I have found is on vimeo: Lion Walking Video.

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

We watch the video a couple of times, looking at different parts of the animal: hips, ankles, feet, and knees.

After we have done this, we discuss how different body parts are used for different kinds of movement. I show students a picture of a lion skeleton. We discuss how the skeleton is designed to facilitate the manner in which a lion moves. 

Independent Work

20 minutes

Students move back to their work-space and begin to look at a poster of a lion skeleton. Students work to make a scientific drawing of the lion’s skeleton.

When students are done drawing they begin to make observations of the differences and similarities between the human leg and a lion’s leg. They fill in two parts of a three-part venn diagram. The third part is filled out during the next lesson, after examining a bird’s movement and skeleton.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

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

We looked at the structure of a leg of a four-legged creature and discussed its characteristics. We also look at our venn diagram and compare and contrast the human leg and lion leg.

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


I assess student understanding using the human leg drawing and the three-way venn diagram information.