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  Animal Studies (3rd Edition)
Grades 35
By caring for and observing three unique animals during the Animal Studies unit—the dwarf African frog, the fiddler crab, and the millipede—students are able to focus on animal behavior, comparing and contrasting the needs, behaviors, and anatomical structures of each organism. Each student creates and maintains a personal observation log in which he or she records notes about each animal throughout the unit. Students apply what they learn about body structure, habitat, survival needs, and behavior to a fourth animal—the human—identifying ways that humans are similar to and different from other animals. Students practice observing and recording data in their logs as well as in Venn diagrams, class webs, tables, and drawings. Students conduct a research-based inquiry that moves students away from general observations and asks them to apply their scientific process skills as they gather and synthesize information about their animals’ behavior.

Benefits of using this kit:

STC kits contain all of the materials you’ll need to teach the unit
STC Program Units focus on building scientific and engineering habits of mind utilizing science and engineering practices within every lesson
Supplemental literacy pieces in the Teacher’s Guide, STC Literacy Series™, and KIDS DISCOVER connect classroom content to the real world
2-use kits and refurbishment sets provide enough materials for a second non-concurrent use

Lesson-by-Lesson Summary

Lesson 1 begins with a class brainstorming session. Students share what they know about frogs, crabs, and millipedes and what they think is important to know about these animals in order for them to survive in the classroom. Students also discuss the ways they think scientists study animals. This lesson serves as a pre-unit assessment of students’ knowledge about animals’ needs and animals’ dependence on their habitats.

Lesson 2 builds on the discussion of animals’ needs that began in Lesson 1. Students read about and discuss the natural habitats of the three animals—dwarf African frog, fiddler crab, and millipede—they will bring into the classroom. As a result, student groups propose which environmental elements need to go into a habitat for each animal.

In Lessons 3 through 6, the class uses its proposals to create a classroom habitat for dwarf African frogs and fiddler crabs and begins to care for the animals outside of their natural habitats. After recording the questions they have about each animal, students establish individual animal logs for recording their observations over time. The class discusses which characteristics are important to study in order to compare the animals, something that they will do in later lessons. They also explore the purpose of scientific drawings in comparing and contrasting animals. Students closely observe the frog and crab and begin to log the animals’ characteristics. Through a reading selection, students learn about an actual research study in which researchers are examining the behavior of dolphins. Finally, the class begins profiling the characteristics of each animal’s habitat on a Habitat Information Table. By the end of Lesson 6, students have established and maintained two habitats.

In Lesson 7, they observe how the frogs and crabs interact with the living and nonliving elements in the habitats. In addition, students have an opportunity to answer some of their own questions about the animals and to exchange information with each other in a class science meeting.

Lessons 8 and 9 introduce the third animal, the millipede. Students repeat their activities from Lessons 3 through 6. As they compare and contrast the frog, crab, and millipede, students focus on such habitat conditions as climate, moisture, other living things, and light.

Now that students have collected a great deal of data in their animal logs, they are ready to discuss this information and identify some of the daily behavior patterns of the three animals. To link the animals’ behaviors to the conditions in their habitats, students conduct a simple experiment that tests the animals’ reactions to a change in light. Students compare the animals’ behaviors during the experiment with their behaviors under normal conditions and suggest reasons why the animals responded as they did.

In Lesson 11, students begin to study the fourth classroom animal: the human. They discuss the habitats in which this animal lives, its survival needs, and its structures and behaviors. This activity lays the groundwork for later lessons in which students will discover that humans can take steps most other animals cannot in order to meet their needs.

Having spent much time observing and discussing the four animals as each relates to its habitat, students are ready for the embedded assessment in Lesson 12. Students move from making general observations on all the animals to observing one specific behavior of one animal. Having read about how researchers study a specific dolphin behavior in Lesson 5, students now develop a research question on one of their three animals. They also develop behavioral observation guidelines that will help them answer their research questions. Through this process, students apply their understanding of key skills they have been developing throughout the unit, such as gathering information by observation, using observation logs, and discussing data with peers.

While students’ work on the research projects proceeds, the class compares and contrasts the animals’ structures and behaviors in Lessons 13 through 15. In so doing, students discover how an animal is suited to life in its particular habitat and why most animals would not survive as well in a habitat with vastly different conditions. Students also read about hard-to-observe characteristics of the frog, crab, and millipede and about the beaver, which like the human, can alter its habitat to meet its needs.

In Lesson 16, students present their research results to the class. By discussing results with peers who have researched the same behavior, students further recognize the importance of sharing research findings within a scientific community. Lesson 17 is a post-unit assessment that is matched to several assessments in the first few lessons. The Additional Performance and Self-Assessments (see Section 5) provide further questions and challenges for evaluating student progress.

This is a challenging unit for students. They are responsible for the care of three different animals. They collect information on each animal through firsthand observation and research. As students apply this information to compare the animals’ lifestyles, they develop an understanding that most animals are suited to life in a particular habitat. Students begin to become aware that the diversity of life is directly related to our planet’s various environmental conditions. They recognize the ways animal life is adapted to those conditions. Students also begin to see that learning about animals involves long-term observation of the animals both in nature and under the care of humans.

All the living and nonliving elements that surround an animal—such as other animals, plants, climate, water, air, and location—affect the life of that animal.
One way scientists learn about animals is through close observation over an extended period of time.
When conducting animal behavior research, scientists follow guidelines to ensure the accuracy of results.
A habitat is the place where an animal finds the resources—food, water, shelter, and space— necessary to survive and reproduce.
Each type of animal has specific needs, such as type of food, amount of water, and range of temperature.
Certain behaviors and body structures enable animals to survive in a particular habitat. 
Humans are one of the only animals that can significantly change their behaviors to live in a variety of habitats. 
Observing and describing structural characteristics and behaviors of the dwarf African frog, fiddler crab, and millipede.
Recording observations in an animal log.
Developing questions and answering them through behavioral observation and research.
Comparing and contrasting the dwarf African frog, fiddler crab, millipede, and human.
Collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. 
Supporting conclusions with reasons that are based on observation and experience.
Predicting, observing, and recording the results of a simple experiment to test an animal’s response to a sudden change in its habitat.
Communicating ideas through writing and discussion.
Reading to enhance understanding of the interaction between an animal and its habitat.
Developing proper laboratory techniques that ensure the safety of living things.
Maintaining animals outside their natural habitats.
Developing an interest in exploring the characteristics and behaviors of animals.
Gaining an appreciation for the variety of behaviors exhibited in the animal kingdom.
Recognizing that humans can learn about themselves by learning about other animals.
Developing an appreciation for the safe handling and observation of animals.
Developing positive attitudes toward different forms of animal life.
Appreciating the knowledge gained by observing animals over time.

Animal Studies (3rd Edition) Downloads

Animal Studies (2nd Edition) Downloads

In the 3rd Edition Kit:
Teacher’s Guide complete with planning guide, lesson instructions, unit overview with background information, assessment that includes formative and summative assessments, and sections on notebooking, literacy, and more. Each guide also includes a CD-ROM containing blackline masters, Spanish resources, and other teacher resources
15 Student Investigations Guides
8 STC Literacy Series™: Animal Studies
Enough materials to teach a class of 30 students twice
Technology and Premium Content website access for teachers
8 issues of Rain Forests KIDS DISCOVER
2nd Edition Kit Content

In the 2nd Edition Kit

Teacher’s Guide with lesson instructions, unit overview with background information, and sections on assessment, notebooking, literacy, and more

Enough materials to lead a class of 30 students through all lessons in the unit
Premium Content access for teachers
8 copies of STC BOOKS Animal Studies
8 issues of Rain Forests KIDS DISCOVER
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Animal Studies (3rd Edition) 2-Use Kit
The 2-Use Kit comes with all of the materials needed for a second, non-concurrent use.
Animal Studies Refurbishment Set
This set replenishes the consumable materials in the Unit Kit. This refurbishment set is for both the 2nd and 3rd Editions.
Animal Studies Replacement Parts
We offer individual replacement parts for your 2nd and 3rd Edition Unit Kits.
Additional Animal Studies (3rd Edition) Student Investigations
We offer additional re-usable Student Investigations Guides for your convenience.
Animal Studies (STC Literacy Series), Pack of 8
Animal Studies presents stories on the diversity of animal life, from amphibians and sea creatures to birds and mammals.
KIDS DISCOVER: Rain Forest, Pack of 8
This KIDS DISCOVER magazine stimulates students' imaginations, connects science in the classroom to the real world, and makes learning fun!
Literacy Enhancement: Rain Forests
Each Literacy Enhancement contains 24 KIDS DISCOVER readers and 30 student notebooks.



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