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Snapping Turtle Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education

This lesson plan introduces students to the amazing snapping turtle. Students will use an informational text as a shared reading, play a snapping turtle fact game, take a quiz and complete a fun project.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • use reading strategies to identify main ideas and details in an informational text
  • identify and tell facts about the snapping turtle
  • describe the physical features, habitat and lifestyle of the snapping turtle


1 hour

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.1

Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.2

Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.

  • LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior

Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves, and cope with changes. Groups may serve different functions and vary dramatically in size (3-LS2-1).


Key Vocabulary

  • Snapping turtle
  • Omnivore

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Prepare for the lesson by drawing a snapping turtle on chart paper and cutting it into four pieces. Set aside for the direct instruction section.
  • Start the lesson by asking students to think about what they know about a turtle. What does one look like? How does its shell feel? What about its legs and head? What does a turtle eat? Where do turtles live?
  • Give them about five minutes to write down facts about a turtle, then break students into small groups to share prior knowledge.
  • Share as a whole class, then discuss:
    • Have you ever heard of a snapping turtle?
    • What do you think is meant by 'snapping?'
    • Do you think snapping turtles share the characteristics you shared with your group? Why or why not?
  • Review or teach about main ideas and supporting details.

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