Jane Goodall Activities for Kids

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Jane Goodall is an inspiring person whose life and work have much to teach children. These activities help children learn as much as they can about Jane Goodall and what she has done in her lifetime.

Why Study Jane Goodall?

Are you trying to get your students more interested in earth, the environment, and animals? Or perhaps you are teaching them about famous women from history. Either way, Jane Goodall is an excellent person for young children to learn about. First of all, so many children are interested in animals that they are likely to sympathize with the passions that motivated this renowned primatologist. Second, students will benefit from understanding what Goodall did to pursue her dreams and how she conducted careful studies. Finally, Goodall's activism will help students see what they can do to improve our stewardship of the earth.

The activities in this lesson are designed to get children active and engaged as they study the life and legacy of Jane Goodall and pursue answers to their own questions about her findings.

Visual Activities

Many students learn best when allowed to work visually, such as through art or by using graphic organizers to consolidate and synthesize new knowledge. The activities in this section will appeal to such visual learners.

Goodall in Action

Have students work in small groups for this activity. Groups should use the internet and library books to find at least five different images of Goodall in action, either working with chimpanzees, lecturing, or writing. They should print or copy these images and work together to write captions for each of them. Each caption should explain not only what Goodall seems to be doing in the picture, but what this picture shows about her and how it relates to other things they know about her life and work.

Chimpanzees and People Before and After

One of the major sets of ideas Goodall has offered is the fact that people are not as uniquely intelligent as we once thought. Have students work in partnerships to complete a two-column graphic organizer. On one side of the organizer, they should jot notes about what people once thought about the connection between people and chimpanzees before Goodall's work. On the other side, they should show what she contributed to our understanding of this connection. Students can use these organizers to facilitate conversations about Goodall's contributions.

Map of Goodall's Adventures

This activity will help visually oriented students understand the geography of Goodall's career. Break students into small groups, and give each group an empty world map. Have them highlight the different regions of the world that Goodall has lived and worked in, using different colors. They can trace routes between the various regions where she has worked and draw icons to represent what she has done in each of these places.

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