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Animal Kingdom Project Ideas

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

The animal kingdom contains a myriad of fascinating and intelligent creatures. The following four projects will assist your students in learning some of their many characteristics.

Why the Animal Kingdom?

The animal kingdom is vast, including everything from mammals to amphibians to reptiles to birds to fish. Furthermore, scientists believe the animal kingdom may contain an astounding seven million species, but amazingly not even two million have so far been identified. The animal kingdom contains about 35 phyla (plural for phylum), although the majority of animals fall into one of eleven classifications. These four projects about the animal kingdom are best suited for upper elementary or middle school students, although the could be adapted for other ages as well.

Phyla of the Animal Kingdom Project Idea

In this project, your students will be studying some of the phyla common to animals.

Materials: Internet access

Time: seventy-five minutes

Let your students know they will be studying five of the phyla of the animal kingdom. Remind them that the correct order of the taxonomic ranks is kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.

  • Divide them into five groups. Instruct them:
    • Group One will be Team Arthropods
    • Group Two will be Team Chordates
    • Group Three will be Team Mollusks
    • Group Four will be Team Nematodes
    • Group Five will be Team Sponges
  • Now allow your students to research their respective phyla on the Internet or at the school library.
  • When they are through, have each group elect a spokesperson to give the presentation about the particular phyla they have just studied. The presentations should include illustrations of the types of organisms in the phyla and their characteristics. Encourage students to make these presentations on the computer using presentation software if possible.
  • The students will take questions from the class about their presentation.

Endangered Animals Project Idea

In this project, your students will learn about eighteen 'critically endangered' animals and brainstorm ways to help them.

Materials: worksheets listing eighteen 'critically endangered' animals

Time: two hours

  • Tell your students they are going to be studying animals that are getting close to extinction.
  • Ask them if anyone can correctly name any of the eighteen animals on the World Wildlife Fund's list.

Note to Teacher - The World Wildlife Fund keeps a list of what it classifies as 'critically endangered' members of the animal kingdom. The following eighteen animals are in desperate need of attention.

  • amur leopard
  • black rhino
  • Bornean orangutan
  • cross river gorilla
  • eastern lowland gorilla
  • western lowland gorilla
  • hawksbill turtle
  • Javan rhino
  • Malayan tiger
  • orangutan
  • saola
  • Yangtze finless porpoise
  • vaquita
  • Sumatran tiger
  • Sumatran elephant
  • Sumatran orangutan
  • Sumatran rhino
  • South China tiger

Divide your students into small groups of three to five.

  • Pass out copies of the worksheets listing the endangered animals.
  • Allow them to go online and research the animals and see photos of them.
  • When they are done, have them meet back in one large group.
  • Now have them brainstorm some ideas to help save these animals. Questions you could ask them could include:
    • Would you contact politicians to try and help these animals?
    • Would you ask people to sign petitions?
    • Would you utilize social media to get out your message?
    • Would you start a fundraising campaign?
    • Would you try to contact the leaders of other countries?
  • Have students use this information to create an action plan for saving one of the endangered animals.

Animal Superlatives Project Idea

In this project, your students will study some of the truly superlative creatures that make up the animal kingdom.

Materials: Internet access

Time: forty-five minutes

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