Looking for a fun way to teach young learners about mammals? You’re in the right spot. This mammal sort is a great way to tell the difference between mammals and non-mammals!
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Prepping for this mammal sort was easy!
First, I printed off the animal cards on cardstock to make them durable enough for reuse and then cut along the outside borders to separate the pieces.
Then, I printed off the sentence starters and record sheets for the writing activity and grabbed some great mammal picture books to read aloud for background knowledge.
Learning About Mammals
To start the conversation about mammals, I pulled out the animal cards and laid the game board down in front of the children.
I held up the rabbit card and asked students to brainstorm what facts they knew about the animal. The class came up with quite the list!
When the children couldn’t think of anything more, I added one last characteristic to the list: it’s a mammal.
Since the term was new to the class, I explained that scientists put animals in groups and one of them is called “mammals.” They were going to work together as scientists to figure out whether the rest of the animals in our stack were mammals like rabbits or not. To do that, they’d need to answer three questions:
- Does it have fur/hair?
- Does it give live birth?
- Is it warm blooded?
I placed the rabbit to the side and grabbed the frog next. To figure out whether or not it was a mammal, we worked our way through the questions:
- Frogs do not have fur or hair.
- Frogs do not give live birth.
- Frogs are not warm blooded.
Everyone agreed that since frogs failed all three tests, they must not be mammals.
Mammal Sort Activity
We worked as a group to solve a couple more. Then, I sent students off in pairs to sort a complete stack of mammal sort cards onto their own game boards.
Students were excited to take turns picking a card off of the animal pile and explaining why or why not they believed the animal was a mammal.
In addition, it was a great way to check comprehension.
Later that day, I pulled out the sentence starters for a quick follow up.
I asked for volunteers to read each one: mammals are, mammals have, mammals can.
Then, I showed them the lined piece of paper and had children finish the sentences on their own.
When we came back together and read the sentences aloud, the class was surprised to find that there were so many different possible answers!
This was science at its best! One of the great things about this activity is the opportunity for kids to work together. Additionally, this mammal sort activity had the students explain their answers as well. By the end of this lesson, you can be confident that your students will be mammal experts!
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