Grade Level: K-2
Author: Tammy D. Lee, Greenville, NC
There is a great diversity of living organisms on Planet Earth. Even among the
vertebrates, differences in life cycles are evident. Some organisms lay eggs in water, some
lay hard-shelled eggs, and others have some form of birth. In this activity, students
explore animals they may be less familiar with and predict the life cycle of these organisms.
Belize Zoo Web site (to obtain information about animals),
paper, crayons and markers for drawing the life cycle; age-appropriate books which show animal life
- Students will be able to predict and explore life cycles of various animals.
- Students will be able to draw the life cycle of an animal.
- Students will compare their predictions with the actual life cycle of an animal from investigating the animal on the Belize Zoo Website.
Have students form groups to discuss and write down everything they
know about animals’ life cycles. Prompt students
to think about how different animals grow and change.
At this stage you are determining their prior knowledge
about animal life cycles.
Discuss students’ prior knowledge. Some misconceptions may need to be cleared
up at this stage, if the teacher thinks students’ existing
beliefs will hinder their ability to make predictions.
Have students choose an animal from Belize (from the
Belize Zoo Web Site) that they would like to become an expert
on. Make sure the animal is included on the Belize Web
site or that information about the animal’s life
cycle can be obtained elsewhere.
Have students tell which group their animal belongs to (a review of
an earlier lesson on animal classifications).
Have students draw a prediction of the animal’s life cycle. Students
need to be able to explain the life cycle, including references to time spent in each stage
and the animal’s location during each stage.
After making predictions, students explore the animal’s life
cycle on the Belize Web site or elsewhere.
Students then draw a final version of their animal’s life cycle.
Students need to be able to discuss the predicted life cycle and the actual life cycle
with the class.
Students need to respond to these questions in their journals:
- In what ways was your predicted life cycle alike or different from the actual
life cycle of that animal? Explain.
- How does the animal’s life cycle help or hinder this animal? Explain.
- What animal from North Carolina would have a similar life cycle? Why?
Students choose a partner to compare and contrast their animal’s
life cycle. Allow the two students to share with the class their findings of how their
animals are alike and different. Be sure to compare various species.
Teachers can use students’ life cycle drawings and journal writings for assessment.