First Classification of the Animal Kingdom

First Classification of the Animal Kingdom

Introduction to the Animal Kingdom
Re-introduce the FIVE KINGDOM work that was the beginning of the child’s work in Biology.

In biology, we study life. Here we begin to study the animals in relation to the history of life, the story of evolution. Only after the children have understood the history of the past lives of these animals, can they fully understand and appreciate their existence.

Materials: 2 Animal Kingdom charts backed on red (which stands for animals): A blank chart, pictures and word labels. Folders for each of the phylum of the Animal Kingdom.

These are all the kinds of animals that you already know, but now, they are arranged in a special order.. The further up we move on this chart, the more complex the animals become.

This is the Animal Kingdom. If you remember from the time line of life, the sea covered the world for millions of years. Think of yourself floating in a pool of water. Animals in the ocean did not need an inner skeleton when they first evolved. The sea held them up – or the sea provided them with calcium to build their own houses around their bodies. This first group of animals have no backbone. (make sure that with each presentation, you are referring to the time line – showing where the animal developed.

…The Porifera, or pore-bearers, are the sponges. They are very primitive animals that are like thousands of Protists all working together as one. They are able to glue onto the bottom of the ocean or on a rock and absorb the water as it washed over them. Organisms wash through them, are absorbed (or eaten) and the sponge squirts the water back out the top. I guess we can’t really say that, as animals, sponges “go out looking for food”, but luckily the food finds them because it grows where food is plentiful.

…The Cnidarians are stinging jelly-like animals. Cnidarian comes from a Greek word meaning stinging nettles. All Cnidarians have stinging cells called nematocysts. They sting their prey with the tentacles surrounding their mouth. Then it pulls its anesthetized prey into its mouth. The Cnidarians used to be called Coelenterata which means “stomach mouth” because they have only one opening into its body. It is all stomach! For the first time, animals seem to have some kind of symmetry or mirror image of itself on its body. The Cnidaria’s symmetry is called radial symmetry. Hydras, Corals, Jelly fish, and Sea anemones are Cnidaria.

…When you think about a worm, you think about earthworms. But there are three phyla of worms: flatworms, called Platyhelminthes, roundworms, called Nematodes, and segmented worms, called Annelida. Planarians and tapeworms are examples of Platyhelminthes. Tricinella and hookworms are example of round worms. Earthworms and leeches and seaworms are examples of segmented worms.

Mollusks are soft-bodied invertebrates. They have a thick, muscular foot. Some mollusks have a shell. All mollusks have a soft mantle which covers most of its body. The mantle produces the materials which make up the shell. There are three main groups of mollusks: snails and slugs: two shelled mollusks; and tentacled mollusks.

* At this point, you should do a three period lesson on the animals. You can work with the folders containing the classes of these three phyla. This is enough work for one day. Make sure the children understand about these animals. See if they would like to find out more about them before going on.

Arthropods are the largest group of animals. Arthropod means jointed feet. They include insects, crustaceans, and spider relatives.
Echinoderm means spiny skin. Even through echinoderms are called invertebrates, they do seem to have an internal skeleton of calcium plates. They also all have a five part body, a water vascular system and structures called tube feet.

…The Chordate phylum must have three important characteristics at sometime during their lives: a nerve cord, a notochord and a throat with gill slits. There are four subphylum of chordates: Two without a brain: the tunicates and the cephalochordates.
Two with a brain: the Agnatha (no jaws – like the lamprey), and Gnathostomata, (jaws and paired limbs). The Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Amphibians are Gnathostomatas.

*Introduce these animals with a three period lesson and their classes. At this point, when the child is able to understand and give a definition for each animal, she is able to work with the labels for a matching exercise.

The next step is working with the mute chart and folders without looking at the controls.

Aim: to understand the development of animals at a very basic level.

To understand which characteristics are common to these groups.

Age: 7-8

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