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Animal Colors And ShapesAnimal-Colors-And-Shapes

  • Subject: Numbers and Operations
  • |
  • Grade(s): K-5
  • |
  • Duration: 1-2 class periods

Lesson Plan Sections


Students will
  • Understand that animals come in different colors and shapes.
  • Describe the purposes of color in the animal world.
  • Use different colors and shapes to create pictures of animals.


  • Animal Colors and Shapes video
  • Crayons
  • White construction paper, 1 sheet per student
  • Print resources with images of different animals
  • Colored construction paper cut into different sized triangles, circles, squares, and rhomboids
  • Glue


  1. Use Animals Colors and Shapes to introduce common colors and shapes in the animal world. After watching the program, ask students to share examples shapes they have seen. What body part of most animals is circular? What animals have triangles? What animals have rhomboids?
  2. Talk about the students' favorite animals. What colors can be found on them? Discuss some of the purposes of color in the animal world. Why are the feathers on most male birds bright colors, while female birds have gray or brown? How do some animals use color to stay hidden? Why are some snakes brightly colored?
  3. Share print images of animals. Talk about the different colors and shapes of these animals. Tell students that they are going to create pictures of animals with different shapes. They will also draw a picture of the animal's habitat.
  4. Demonstrate using a print image as an example. Talk about the animal. What kind of environment would you expect to find this animal in? Have students describe where this animal might live. Does it live in a desert or a forest? Using crayons, quickly draw the environment on a piece of white construction paper. Next, talk about the different shapes students might see on the animal. What shape are its ears? What shape is its body? Use different size construction-paper shapes to create the animal. Arrange the shapes on the background habitat, being sure to tell students that you will not use glue until it looks the way you want it to. Finally, glue the shapes on the background habitat. Demonstrate using crayons to make additional lines that should appear (such as whiskers) on the animal.
  5. Making sure that students understand what they are supposed to do, give them print images of animals and tell them to choose one to copy for their picture. Have them first draw the background habitat and then use the paper shapes to make their animal. Check student work before allowing them to glue their animal shapes to the background.
  6. Once students have finished their pictures, ask volunteers to share them. Talk about the shapes they used. Discuss the colors of the animals. Ask about the animals' habitats. Does the color of the animal help it blend into its habitat? Display the finished pictures in the classroom.

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Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points:  Students were highly engaged in class discussions; were able to demonstrate a clear understanding of the purposes of color in the animal world; and correctly used different shapes to create unique and colorful pictures of animals that clearly identified where the particular animal lives and accurately portrayed what it looks like.
  • Two points:  Students participated in class discussions; were able to demonstrate a basic understanding of the purposes of color in the animal world; and mostly used the correct shapes to create somewhat unique and colorful pictures of animals that vaguely identified where the particular animal lives and generally portrayed what it looks like.
  • One point:  Students participated minimally in class discussions; were unable to demonstrate a basic understanding of the purposes of color in the animal world; and created incomplete pictures that did not clearly identify a particular animal and demonstrated a lack of understanding about what shapes might identify the animal they had attempted to create.

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Definition: The natural coloring or form of an animal that allows it to blend into its surroundings
Context: Colors that help an animal hide are called camouflage.

Definition: One, or any of the mixture, of the parts in which light can be separated
Context: There are more animal colors than there are colors in a rainbow.

Definition: The reason why something is done or exists
Context: Animal colors have a purpose; the color of an animal can help it stay out of danger, find food, or even find a mate.

Definition: A four-sided, four-cornered shape of which only the opposite sides and angles are equal
Context: You can often find rhomboids on reptiles.

Definition: The outward form of something as created by its outline
Context: Everybody and everything has a shape.

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Academic Standards

National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences provides guidelines for teaching science in grades K-12 to promote scientific literacy. To view the standards, visit this Web site:

This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Life Science: Organisms and environments

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks, visit:

This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Language Arts ? Viewing: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media: Understands the main idea or message in visual media (e.g., pictures, cartoons, weather reports on television, newspaper photographs, visual narratives)
  • Art ? Art Connections: Understands connections among the various art forms and other disciplines; Knows how various concepts and principles are used in the arts and disciplines outside the arts (e.g., balance, shape, and pattern)
  • Science ? Life Science: Understands relationships among organisms and their physical environment

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