Animal Sleep -
Observation Lesson Plan
Grade Levels: 5-10
Purpose: To learn techniques of scientific observation while observing animals sleeping. They will use care in making notes not about what they know, but about what they see, hear, and smell. Student groups will learn to take turns recording information and help to keep each other on task. They will attempt to sketch accurately what they see, not worrying about artistic representation, but concentrating on only the details that they actually observe.
Note to teacher: Please let ThinkQuest team 25553** know if you use some or all of our lesson plan ideas. We are anxious to have our site be useful and to improve it. The ThinkQuest organization also tracks educational use of the entries.
Introduction: Have each student pick an animal which they would like to learn more about. They must have or find access to observe this animal. (This project would be particularly good to do if going on a field trip to the zoo.) Divide the class into groups of three to five according to their chosen animals. Some students will have to compromise in order to find animals of common interest.
1. Brainstorming: Have students who have chosen the same animal brainstorm anything they know about the animal that may be related to sleep. If they feel they know nothing about the chosen animal and sleep, they can come up with ideas of what they would like to find out.
2. Research: Have them find out some more information about the sleep of their chosen animal. They can do this by using an encyclopedia, supplemented with the animals chapter on our site (ThinkQuest team 25553), another Internet site which they locate, or any other source of information available.
3. Observation: Once they know a little bit about the sleep of their animal, they are ready to observe the animal while it is sleeping. Have them answer the following questions as a group based on their observation. Remind them to take notes only on what they actually see, hear, or smell, not on whether or not they know that it may be dreaming or may use half-a-brain, etc. As scientists, they are only to record what they witness personally.
4. Sketch: Have each person draw a picture of their animal sleeping. They should try to portray the answers as many of the questions above as possible. (i.e. from the sketch, one can tell the type of animal, where it is, its body position, if there is more than one, if it is day or night.)
5.. Conclusion: Give the groups some time to share their sketches among themselves and to prepare a short presentation to the rest of the class to share what they have learned about their animal and its sleep. After the presentations, discuss what they have learned about sleep and animals. What did they like or dislike about the lesson that might lead you to do it differently another time?
A. What animal are you observing?
B. List any sources consulted by your group. Keep notecards with bibliographic information for each source. (Author, title, publisher, and date of publication; add URL if relevant)
C. Record observations to try to answer the following questions:
D. Sketch: Each individual in the group should try to draw a picture of the animal sleeping. Try to portray the answers as many of the questions above as possible. (i.e. from the sketch, one can tell the type of animal, where it is, its body position, if there is more than one, if it is day or night.)
E. Conclusion: Share your sketches among yourselves. Prepare a short informal presentation to the rest of the class to share what you have learned about your animal and its sleep. Give feedback to your teacher: What they like or dislike about the lesson?
F. To have fun, follow up with Animals and Sleep Crossword Puzzles to extend your learning, located on ThinkQuest team 25553's website: Sleep: from A to Zzz!
*(For help, see the REM & Animals Section of ThinkQuest entry 25553)
** Emails can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.orgReturn to "Sleep from A to Zzz