Loving Animals!

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SWBAT identify different ways that animals show love to their young.

Big Idea

Nurturing, loving, and caring - OH MY! In this lesson students get to explore all the ways that animals parents show love to their babies!

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 my students will learn to infer information from pictures and videos about loving behavior between animals and their offspring.

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


Book - Guess How Much I Love You by Sam Bratney and Anita Jeram


Investigation Worksheet - How do animal parents show love to their babies?

Animal Videos:

Animals Parenting = Cuteness/Awesomeness Video (4:48)

Cute animals with their mothers (4:52)

22 Powerful Moments Expressing Mother's Love Among ANIMALS (4:23)

A Mother's Love Song (2:43)

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


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 show love to their babies.


10 minutes

In order to activate prior knowledge I begin with this question: How do your parents show love to you?

My students yell out things like:

My mom and dad hug and kiss me.

My mom and dad tell me they love me every day.

My dad buy me toys.

She feed me my favorite dinner: Mac and Cheese -MMMM!

This conversation leads me right into our question for this lesson: Do animal parents show love to their babies? My students think for a minute and then say, "YES!" My next question is: How? What do they do?

This leads me right into our read aloud.  I have included a video in this lesson however I truly believe that quality read-alouds allow children to be actively involved in asking and answering questions as well as making predictions.  There is a lot of research that states interactive read-alouds help students make gains in vocabulary development and comprehension. In these interactive read-alouds my students do more than just talk. They are asked to analyze information, make predictions, share their inferences, as well as share their thinking and pose thought provoking questions.

Throughout this story I stop and ask questions like:

*What will he do next?

*Does this remind  you anything?

*When he says....what are you inferring?  Why does he say that?

*Do you think animals do the same thing in nature? Why? Why not?

*What does that tell you about this book?

 Now that my students are ready to investigate this question I end with: Well, you are right! Animals don't say, "I love you to the moon and back." So, how do they show love?


35 minutes

The NGSS asks that students read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive. In this investigation my students will learn to infer information from pictures and videos about loving behavior between animals and their offspring.

**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: In this lesson students infer information from both illustrations and from videos. I tell my students that inferring is just like being a detective.  I model (I do, we do, you do) how to use what I already know (prior knowledge) and what I see (on the video or in picture) to make inferences before sending my students off to do the work.

My students observe video photographs of animals showing love to their babies and make inferences as to how animals parents show love. This is done in small group settings.  I set up 6 different computer stations  and allow my students to pick two different videos to watch. When providing little structure as I am here, I am prepared for a little bit of controlled chaos. I do set a few guidelines to help with management: 

1. Only four children to a computer.

2. You must watch two different videos.

3. Be helpful and kind.

Each group watches the video and then work together to fill in their Investigation Worksheet. 


Animals Parenting = Cuteness/Awesomeness Video (4:48)

Cute animals with their mothers (4:52)

22 Powerful Moments Expressing Mother's Love Among ANIMALS (4:23)

A Mother's Love Song (2:43)

*Helpful hint - Be sure to turn off "Autoplay" on YouTube.

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 does that parent show love to her baby?  How does the baby respond?  How do you know?  Tell me about your research today? What are you noticing?  What are inferring?  


10 minutes

The NGSS asks that students communicate and explain information from observations. In the explain section I want my students to share their observations with their turn and talk partners.  I want my students sharing their observations and explaining their thinking as well as engaging in high levels of student discourse and reasoning. As they are sharing I listen for high levels of quality discourse as well as rich, deep thinking.  As my students share, I record their answers on our anchor chart.

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

Video: Using Anchor Charts

Boys and girls, thank you for bringing your research with you to the carpet.  You have worked so hard and 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! Will you please share what you discovered with your partner today?  If you learn something new from your partner, you may want to record that on your worksheet.  As you share I will record your findings on our anchor chart under: Show Love.

Anchor Chart - Show Love


10 minutes

The Common Core Standards for English Language Arts asks that students ask and answer questions about key details in a text as well as explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information. During and after our read aloud we have discussions that allow my students to learn from both illustrations and words. We pull out information that is factual and have discussions that allow students to refer back to the book to help deepen their knowledge.

I read the book: Mother's Love by Melina Gerosa Bellows

 As I read, I stop often asking my students questions like:

*What do you notice?

*How does this help us answer our question from today?

*Does this remind you of anything in your life?

*In what ways do mothers show love?

Another great book option is:


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: In what ways do animal parents show love to their babies?

I look for answers that tell some different ways that animals show love. My students can do this through pictures and/or words.

Student responses:

*Elephants show love by snuggling their babies with their trunks.

*Gorillas love their babies by hugging and kissing.

*Tigers show love to their babies by rubbing heads.

*Chimpanzees show love to their babies by cleaning them.

*Elephants give their babies bath.