Utah Lesson Plans
Material Type:
Lesson, Lesson Plan
Lower Elementary
  • Lesson Plan
  • Science
  • UEN
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:

    Animal Movements

    Animal Movements


    Students will explore animal movements. They will compare movements and relate them to where animals live and how they obtain food.


    Students will explore animal movements. They will compare movements and relate them to where animals live and how they obtain food.


    • Pictures or drawings of animals (include animals that move in a variety of ways
    • Animal cards (see attachment below)
    • Animal movements worksheet (see attachment below)


    Background for Teachers

    Animal movements are usually based on where they live (land, water, or both), how they obtain food, reproduce, and how they protect themselves. Some animals travel very long distances to find warmth and food, or to give birth to their young. Some of the fastest moving mammals in the world live in the grasslands, where there are large open spaces for running. The cheetah chases its prey at speeds of up to 70 miles an hour. Zebras, antelopes, and ostriches can run fast to escape from their predators. Students will enjoy opportunities to watch animals in motion through videos, films, or laser disk technology. Kinesthetic learners will remember animal characteristics by linking new information with the opportunity to move like the animals. Encourage free play and imagination as students imitate animal movements.

    Student Prior Knowledge

    Names of animals
    Names of movement words (e.g. run, hop, jump, fly, swim, crawl)

    Intended Learning Outcomes

    • Function positively as a member of a class.
    • Develop knowledge that enhances participation in physical activities.
    • Observe, sort, and classify objects.
    • Use physical activity for self-expression.


    Instructional Procedures

    Step 1. Show photographs of a variety of animals. Explain that each animal moves in its own unique way.

    Step 2. Tell students to look at the pictures of animals and think of other animals in their own minds. Ask:

    • Which animals move slowly?
    • Which animals swim?
    • Which animals crawl?
    • Which animals fly?
    • Which animals climb?
    • Which animals run fast?
    • Which animals hop?

    Write a list for each category of student responses.

    Step 3. Ask "Which animals move in more than one way?"

    Step 4. Discuss ways people can move. Ask students to describe how they got to school today. Are there other ways people move? List all the words students can name that describe how people move from place to place without the aid of a machine (car, bus, bike, etc.). Write the list horizontally across the top of the board or chart with room under each category. Words might include: walk, run, skip, hop, jog, shuffle, swim, crawl, climb.

    Step 5. Show students one picture at a time and discuss how each animal would move. Are there ways animals move that people cannot (without help, like fly) that could be added to classifications? Have students demonstrate what that animal movement might look like and then classify the animal pictures on the graph according to those that hop, run, fly, climb, crawl, swim, slither, etc., or move in more than one way.

    Step 6. Divide students into two teams. Line up on two sides of a large area, such as a gymnasium. Show one team an animal picture. Instruct one team to walk toward the other team and, on a given signal, imitate the movement of their animal. When the other team guesses the animal, they chase the first team back to their line (using the animal movement). Those "captured" return with the other team.

    Step 7. Individually or in small groups, give students a copy of the Animal Movements worksheet (see attachment below) and a set of Animal Cards (see attachment below). Read categories and instruct students to arrange animal pictures in the correct categories.

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    Learn the names of some of the animals in the language of ESL students in the classroom. Labels for animal names and movements could be posted in each language.


    Play animal charades with students seated in a large circle. One student in the center of the circle imitates the way an animal moves without telling the students which animal he is pretending to be. If students are unable to guess, additional clues could be given, such as the sound the animal makes, what it eats, its color or body covering. The student who guesses trades places with the student in the center.

    A variation of the game "Duck, Duck, Goose!" is "Duck, Duck, ? ? ?" Students sit in a circle while the one who is "it" walks around the circle saying "duck" until he chooses a responder by naming another animal, such as "rabbit." The responder, who must then hop like a rabbit, chases the leader around the circle and back to the responder's seat. The responder becomes the new leader and chooses another responder and a different animal to imitate.

    Examine the legs and feet of various animals. How do the animals' legs and feet help them move? When animals and people move, they often make footprints. Let the students make footprints using the bottoms of their sneakers. There are several ways footprints can be created.

    • Take the sneaker off and use paper and a crayon to do a rubbing.
    • Provide a tub with moist sand for students to make tracks of their own shoes.
    • Make prints of hands and feet using tempera paint.

    Literature Resources:

    • Pretend You're A Cat by J Maarzollo. Each rhyming verse invites the children to pretend they are different animals. Each line of the verse gives another action of the animal and ends with "What else can you do like a _____?"
    • Jump or Jiggle by Evelyn Beyer. "Frogs jump, Caterpillars hump, Worms wiggle, Bugs jiggle, Rabbits hop, Horses clop, Snakes slide, Sea gulls glide, Mice creep, Deer leap, Puppies bounce, Kittens pounce, Lions stalk-- But-- I walk!"


    Assessment Plan

    As part of an ongoing assessment, note each student's ability to name animals, list animal movements, and sort animals by movement. Step 7 is an excellent assessment.


    Pretend You're A Cat by J Maarzollo. Jump or Jiggle by Evelyn Beyer