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Animals, Animals, and More Animals with Maps101

Posted on August 28 2022

Animals, Animals, and More Animals with Maps101


Dear Educator,

Studying animals is common in a biology class, which is of course one of the Life Sciences. But animals are interesting to elementary students too, and they are an easy topic by which to grab students in ELA as well. At Maps101, we have a wide variety of content from which to choose. This GeoJournal newsletter arrives in your inbox on Sunday night to give you the opportunity to take a look at what you can show students Monday, giving you a break. And animals of interest are a great place to start a new year!

First, let’s investigate the snake population in South Florida, specifically, the invasive Burmese python. Recently, a python was caught that topped the local record at a whopping 215 pounds! While this article is leveled for upper elementary, most students will benefit from learning more about these snakes. They can also practice cause-and-effect by understanding why there is a problem with them in the first place. A classroom discussion about the balance of ecosystems is a natural accompaniment.

After focusing on massive pythons, we will continue our exploration of animals by looking at unusual creatures of the deep sea. This GNN article features anglerfish, goblin sharks, blobfish, giant tube worms, and more. Links in the article provide images so your students can see these strange wonders of the world’s waters.


For more conventional animals, the Zoo Animals Field Trip is always a hit. Yes, we have alligators (hello Florida, again!), but we look at animals from all over the globe by focusing on two animals from each continent. Students will meet the macaw and Galapagos giant tortoise from South America, for example, and the Asian elephant and Bengal tiger, and gorillas and giraffes from Africa, among other zoo favorites. Scanning the world map in the Field Trip, what other zoo animals are students familiar with? Are they able, from memory, to determine the continent from which each comes? If not, have them research to name the continent.


Now, let’s consider animal behavior. This is another GNN Junior article, leveled for upper elementary students, but all students can benefit from the information about hibernation. For example, while students are probably aware that bears hibernate, this article explores other hibernating animals, including bats, snakes, and even wood frogs. It also helps students understand the cycle of life as it relates to animals.


We cannot focus on animals this week without bringing attention to conservation and wildlife protection. Human-environment interaction produces effects on threatened habitats that are both negative and positive. Students will learn not just about the problem, but also ways that countries are trying to protect animals. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), for example, addresses gorillas, elephants, tigers, whales, pandas, sea turtles, polar bears and rhinoceros. We recommend assigning students one of these animals to research why they need to be protected and what is being done to help these species survive.


This is a sample of the types of content available with your subscription. We hope your weekly tour of topics helps not just inform you of themes you can focus on throughout the year, but that it also draws your attention to content you may not have realized is available. Happy hunting for more content that benefits your class this school year. And don’t forget to favorite to save what you use often for easy access.

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