The Protector!

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SWBAT identify different ways that animals protect their young.

Big Idea

Remarkable mothers and fathers to the rescue! In this lesson my students use media to explore ways that mothers and fathers protect their young.

Setting the Stage:

National Science Education Science Standards Connection:

The National Science Education Standards has said that making observations is key to inquiry-based and discovery-focused learning in science instruction. In order to do this students participate in inquiry-based learning that allows them to solve a problem in science through observation, discourse and using a science journal. Students will then be give a chance to share their findings with their peers and then reflect on their own understanding.

Next Generation Science Standards Connection:

In this unit my students learn that about heredity. They will use different media to find evidence that that animal babies are similar to their parents.  Through exploration my students will discover that animals can have babies and in many kinds of animals, parents and the offspring themselves engage in behaviors that help the offspring to survive.

In this lesson students use media such as websites and videos to determine the different ways animal parents protect their young.

Classroom Structures:

In order to support a high level of student discourse within my science lessons I have assigned two different student partnerships.  Turn and Talk Partners are discourse partners that work together to share the deep thinking that happens throughout the day.  Workshop Partners are partners who are matched together for the purpose of working during our independent times.  In this lesson students will be engaged in both partnerships.

Vocabulary Cards:

These cards include the vocabulary that covers standards LS1-2 and LS3-1. You can choose to use these cards in different ways. I like to print all vocabulary words on card stock and hang them on my science bulletin board as a reference tool throughout the unit. You can also use these cards as flashcards or a concentration matching game.

Vocabulary - Animal Families


Investigation Worksheet: How do animal parents protect their babies?

Animal Books

Zoo Books

Computers or ipads or both: PebbleGO & ZooBorns

Anchor Chart - How do animal parents take care of their babies?

Video: Mother Bison Protects Her Young

Video: Incredible Video of Mother Wildebeest Defending Young from Hungry Leopard

Video: Mother Duck Protecting Her Babies From Crow Bird

Science Journals - I just use blank paper in my journals so my students have space and freedom to experiment with graphic organizers, illustrations, etc.

Journal Prompt:  Tell me 3 ways that animal parents protect their babies.


10 minutes

The NGSS standard for this lesson asks that students investigate ways that animal parents and their offspring engage in behaviors that help the offspring to survive. I begin this lesson by activating prior knowledge. In a whole group setting, I ask my students, In what ways do your parents keep you safe?

Boys and girls, please tell me all the ways that your parents keep you safe.  All of my students shoot their hands high into the air! 

*My dad always reminds me to wear my bike helmet.

*I have to hold my mom's hand when I go across the street.

*I am not aloud to talk to people I don't one time when.....

*My mom gives me hugs.

*My mom picks me up at the bus stop.

*My dad told me about a meeting spot by house in case of a fire.

*My dad makes me wear my seat belt in the car. 

*My mom drives really careful.

WOW! Boys and girls, your parents really do a lot of things to keep you safe. Do you think animal parents do the same thing?  Today we are going to research just that. Today you will investigate this question:  How do animal parents keep their babies safe? Are you ready to investigate?


35 minutes

The Science and Engineering Practice 8 asks that students obtain, evaluate, and communicate information. This can be done in many ways but one way is through grade level text and/or media.  In this lesson that is exactly what I am asking my students to do.

Over the years I have collected a variety of books about baby animals and I have sorted these books into book baskets by animal classifications. A great resources for borrowing these types of books are school libraries and public libraries. They always have TONS of animal books. I also have 5 mini Ipads available for my students to use.  For this investigation I have computers set up on two different websites. One of my favorite websites to use is PebbleGo.  It is a great resource for nonfiction text however you will need to pay for and set up an account.  Another website is ZooBorns. This one is free and has a bunch of cute videos of baby animals and their parents.

Today my students will be investigating our question: How do animal parents protect their babies?  For this investigation my students may chose any research tool that appeals to them: books, Zoo Books, computers (ZooBorns) or Ipads (PebbleGO). I send my students out to try to answer our question. As they are researching, I ask them to record their work on the Investigation Worksheet: How do animal parents protect their babies? Students may either work alone or with a partner.

**The CCSS asks that students know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.  We use this time to investigate these different text features as well as learn how these tools help readers to collect new and interesting information.  

**Helpful hint: Many times as students are researching the levels of the informational text are complex so I teach my students how to infer information from the illustrations and then attempt to confirm that information by using the captions. 

As my students write I walk around and confer with each student naming and noticing the smart thinking happening. Conferring is the process of listening and recording the work the student or students are doing and then compliment the work. As I listen, I research a teaching point and then work to provide clarification through questioning, modeling and re-teaching. I ask my students, How did that animal protect its baby?  Do all animals do the same thing?  Are you surprised with your findings today?  Tell me more. 


10 minutes

In this section my students are asked to communicate their research with their Turn and Talk partners.  As they are sharing I listen for high levels of quality discourse as well as rich, deep thinking.  When I bring my students back together, I ask them to sit in along the edge of the carpet for our "Science Circle.  I allow students to learn the art of talking in a large group.  I encourage my students to listen and then respond without raising their hands.  The purpose is encourage students to gain new understanding through rich conversation.

Video - Science Circle

Boys and girls, I love hearing you share your research! Today you have collected some really, really good data!  Sometimes research confirms what we already think and we can pat ourselves on the back, however, other times it completely changes our thinking.  We can say, "I used to think.....but after doing some good research, now I think .....That is exactly what scientists do all the time! Great job scientists! 

As you were sharing your research today, I heard a lot of different answers to our big question: How do animal parents protect their babies?

Together let's look at your data to help answer this question.  We will record your findings on our anchor chart under: protect.

Anchor Chart - How do animal parents take care of their babies?

As my students share in our "Science Circle" I record their answers on our anchor chart.

Anchor Chart - Protect


10 minutes

The NGSS asks that students read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive.  For this section I have several videos that allow my students to watch how animal parents protect their young.

Please be sure to preview each video and pick the one that you feel is best for your group of first grade students.

Bison Mother protects her baby

Leopard and the Wildebeest

Wildebeest save their baby 

Mother Duck protects her babies

After the videos we have a discussion about these brave animals.  We look back at our anchor chart and review the list of ways that animals protect their babies. In a whole group setting we talk about the different ways that the animals in these videos protect their young.


15 minutes

The Science and Engineering Practice 4 asks students to analyze data. At the K-2 level this involves students collecting, recording, and sharing observations. In this lesson the students are recording information, thoughts and ideas in their science journals. I send my students back to their science journals and ask them to: How do animal parents protect their babies?

As my students write I look for answers that show ways that animals protect their young:

*Crocodiles protect their nests by staying next to it all the time.

*Lions hide their young when they hunt.

*Penguins have other penguins babysit.