Australian Animals Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

In this lesson plan, students are going to learn more about the natural animals of Australia. They will then complete a small group research project to expand upon their knowledge.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the differences between ectothermic and endothermic animals
  • Express a greater understanding towards the animal life of Australia
  • Demonstrate research skills and creative thinking


60 - 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.


Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words.


Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.


  • Printed copies of the Ectothermic & Endothermic Animals of Australia text lesson and lesson quiz, one for each student
  • Images of different Australian animals not included in the lesson (at least five), both ectothermic and endothermic, with enough sets of images for each group
    • The images should be labeled with the animals name, but not whether they are ectothermic or endothermic
  • Paper and writing/drawing utensils
  • Internet access


  • Hand out copies of the Ectothermic & Endothermic Animals of Australia text lesson.
  • Ask a student to read aloud the introduction and the first paragraph of the 'What Is Thermal Regulation?' section.
  • Write the term 'homeostasis' on the board, and ask the class to define it in their own words.
  • Ask a student to read aloud the second paragraph of 'What Is Thermal Regulation?'
  • Write down the terms 'thermoregulation' and 'endothermic' on the board. Ask students:
    • What does thermoregulation mean?
    • What does endothermic mean?
    • What other term is more often used to describe endothermic animals? (warm-blooded)
  • Ask a student to read aloud the third paragraph of 'What Is Thermal Regulation?'
  • Write down 'ectothermic' on the board, and ask the class to define it in their own words.
    • What is a more frequently used term for ectothermic animals? (cold-blooded)
    • Name some types of animals (mammals, reptiles, insects, birds, etc.) and tell whether they are endothermic or ectothermic.
  • Write these on the board under the appropriate term 'endothermic' or 'ectothermic.'
  • Ask a student to read aloud the first two paragraphs of 'Ectothermic Animals'.
    • What kind of animal is the elapid snake?
  • Write elapid snake under the reptiles category of ectothermic animals.
  • Ask a student to read aloud the last paragraph of 'Ectothermic Animals'.
    • What kind of animal are goanna lizards?
  • Write goanna lizard under the reptile category of ectothermic animals, as well.
  • Select two students. Have one read the first paragraph of 'Endothermic Animals', and the other read the second paragraph.
    • What kinds of animals are the kangaroo and koala?
  • Write those names under mammals, in the endothermic category.
  • Ask a student to read aloud the 'Lesson Summary'. Then, pass out the lesson quiz to test student comprehension.

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