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Animal Adventures    Mystery 1

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In this Mystery, students examine how scientists organize animals into groups based on their characteristics. In the activity, students sort animal cards into groups, then classify three “challenge” animals.

How many different kinds of animals are there?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 11)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 11)

DISCUSS:

How could you convince your friends that your animal was real?

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Beginning Exploration (3 of 11)
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Beginning Exploration (4 of 11)

DISCUSS (1 of 2):

What kind of animal do you think it is?

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Beginning Exploration (5 of 11)

DISCUSS (2 of 2):

Here’s one person’s drawing of the animal. (It doesn’t look quite like the real animal, but it might give you some ideas.) Does this give you any new ideas about what the animal was?

Camelopard Drawing

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Beginning Exploration (6 of 11)
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Beginning Exploration (7 of 11)

DISCUSS:

Look at these 6 animals. How many different ways can you group them? Why would you put certain animals together?

Six Animals

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Beginning Exploration (8 of 11)
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Beginning Exploration (9 of 11)

DISCUSS (1 of 2):

What are some characteristics of this animal, other than its colors or patterns?

Flamingo

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DISCUSS (2 of 2):

What are some characteristics of this animal, other than its colors or patterns?

Fish

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Beginning Activity Prep
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Beginning Activity: Animals Sorting Game
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Beginning Exploration (11 of 11)
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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading and extension activity in the optional extras.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the Exploration & Activity you just completed.
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Activity: Kinds-of-Animals Bulletin Board

Set up the bulletin board by dividing it into 5 blocks, labeling one for each group of animals:

  • Mammals (bones, hair/fur, live birth)
  • Birds (bones, feathers, lays eggs)
  • Reptiles (bones, scales, lays eggs)
  • Boneless Animals (no bones, no fur/feathers, lays eggs)
  • ?? Where do these belong??

If you like, have students color these full-page animal cards . Go to the next slide for how to use the bulletin board as a class activity.

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Activity: Kinds-of-Animals Bulletin Board

Use the bulletin board to review and expand students' knowledge of animal groups.

1) Put animal cards into the appropriate blocks. (You can use cards from the activity or full-page animal cards .

2) Challenge students to suggest other animals, then write (or draw) them on 3 x 5 cards. Discuss where each animal belongs, then put the card in that group.

3) If students can't agree, put that animal in the “??” block. Ask students how they could figure out where it belongs. (Scientists sometimes disagree on how to classify animals, too.)

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Activity extension: More Challenge Cards

Here's a great addition to your bulletin board.

  • Print out more challenge cards for each student. (Each printout includes two sets of three cards.)
  • Use these step-by-step instructions to figure out where each of these animals belongs. Be warned: these animals are really challenging. Expect a lot of discussion!
  • Put each card in the appropriate group on your bulletin board.
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Readings

These readings are free with registration at Newsela. They are available in English or Spanish, can be adjusted for reading level, and include writing prompts and quiz questions.

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Videos: What Kind of Animal Is That?

Watch these videos to meet a cute baby sloth (2:20), a rare cassowary (2:58), and a bad-tempered snapping turtle (3:09). Can you figure out what kind of animal each one is? Discuss:

  • What group does each animal belong in?
  • How can you tell? (Does it have fur? Feathers? Scales?)
  • Have you ever seen an animal like this before? Where?
  • Which animal is your favorite? Why?

For more videos like this, check out the Brave Wildernesswebsite, featuring naturalist Coyote Peterson and a host of fascinating creatures from around the world.

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Activities: Practice Sorting

These activities from Science NetLinks let students develop their sorting skills. When they sort animals or objects, they are learning to think about characteristics.

  • This online animal sorting game is great for students to play on their own—or in teams in the classroom.

  • Create your own game guided by this “Classify Classroom Objects” activity. Grouping objects—like LEGO pieces or books or crayons—will help students understand that there are many ways to sort. Students could group by color, by shape, or by size.

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Beginning Activity: Animals Sorting Game
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Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

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Arabian camel by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: konradrza
DSLR camera by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Marcio Jose Bastos Silva
Zoo entrance by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Trong Nguyen
airplane by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: phive
book with blank cover by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: urfin
giraffe on tv screen by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: gmstockstudio
girl presenting in front of class by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Monkey Business Images
laptop screen by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: guteksk7
notebook in hands by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Leklek
pair of giraffes by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Vaclav Volrab
red kangaroo by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Bradley Blackburn
single giraffe by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: jaroslava v
walking leopard by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Iakov Filimonov
woman looking at map by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: topten22photo
woman looking with Binoculars in the forest by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: topten22photo
woman with laptop by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Andrey_Popov