Joanne has taught middle school and high school science for more than ten years and has a master's degree in education.
By the end of the lesson, students will be able to do the following:
- state traits that characterize mammals
- explain the differences between placental mammals, marsupials and monotremes
- describe different ways that mammals can be classified
Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
- Placental mammals
- Dichotomous key
- Black-line images of several marine mammals and a shark (see Preparation for further explanation)
- Tablets or computers with Internet access, 1 per pair of students (optional: see Preparation for alternative)
- Lined paper
- Pens or pencils
- Find black-line images of the following marine animals:
- Arrange the images in a new document. Do not include the animal names. Print enough copies for each pair of students to receive one.
- Create a dichotomous key to identify the images. A sample key is as follows:
|1||a||Warm blooded||Go to 2|
|2||a||Has flippers||Go to 3|
|b||Has fins||Go to 4|
|4||a||Has a prominent dorsal fin on mid-back||Go to 5|
|b||Has a small dorsal fin near tail||Whale|
|5||a||Has a bulging 'melon' on forehead and an elongated jaw||Dolphin|
|b||Has a small, rounded head and short jaw||Porpoise|
- If you do not have access to computers with Internet, find a breakdown of class Mammalia that includes the subclasses and orders as well as a brief description of the animals found in each. Print enough copies for each pair of students to receive one.
- Begin the lesson by showing students a couple of quotes about mammals, such as the following:
- ''The whole reason people fill their homes with furry carnivores and not with, say, iguanas and turtles, is because mammals offer something no reptile ever will. They give affection, they want affection, and respond to our emotions the way we do to theirs.'' -Frans de Waal, primatologist
- ''My lords, we are vertebrate animals, we are mammalia!'' -Sir William Henry Maule, English parliamentarian
- Give students a few moments to share their thoughts on the quotes and their possible meanings. Then, ask students to name some traits of mammals that can be discerned from reading the quotes. Ask them to think of other traits that are not necessarily implied in the quotes.
- As students describe mammalian traits, write their responses on the board. Explain they will be learning more about mammals and expanding on the list in today's lesson.
- Begin the video lesson Mammals: Traits, Behavior & Grouping. Pause at 2:30.
- Return to the list of mammalian traits that the students created during the warm-up. Ask students to add new information based on what they learned in the video.
- Continue the video, this time pausing at 3:49. Ask students the following questions:
- What are the three classifications of mammal reproduction?
- What are examples of each type of mammal and where area they found?
- Return to the video and watch it to the end. Ask the following question:
- What are some other ways that mammals can be grouped?
- To check for understanding, project and complete the lesson quiz.
- Write the term 'dichotomous key' on the board. Explain to students that a dichotomous key is a tool created by biologists to help them identify different organisms.
- Divide students into pairs and distribute lined paper, pens, the black-line images of marine animals, and the dichotomous key created earlier.
- Using the provided materials, have students practice using a dichotomous key to identify the marine animals. Demonstrate how the key works by choosing one of the animals and modeling the process.
- Walk around the room to check for participation and to provide assistance. Ask students the following discussion questions:
- How does a dichotomous key work?
- What are some ways that the animals in this key are grouped?
- What's the first thing you need to do when writing a dichotomous key?
- Look at the animals again. What is another way that you could begin this key?
- Explain to students that they will now be creating their own dichotomous keys.
- Either distribute the pre-made copies of mammal classification, or have students conduct Internet research. They can search for the phrases below or you can direct them to your favorite site.
- Mammal classification
- Mammal classification tree
- Class mammalia orders
- Once students have studied the mammal subclasses and orders, ask them to choose 6-8 animals.
- Using the previous activity and video as a guide, have students create a dichotomous key that would help someone identify the mammals they chose.
Have students find images of the mammals they identified in their dichotomous key. Ask them to create a poster with both the images and the key. Have them share their key with the class and try the keys created by other students.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack
Resources created by teachers for teachers
I would definitely recommend Study.com to my colleagues. It’s like a teacher waved a magic wand and did the work for me. I feel like it’s a lifeline.