Grade 3 Comprehensive Curriculum Links Unit 5

Louisiana Studies

Activity 5:  Animal Structures (GLEs: 9, 11, 35, 38, 39)

Materials List: magazines with animal pictures that will be used for cutting, scissors, stapler, 1 piece of construction paper per a student, Internet access, Animal Characteristics BLM

Teacher Note: This activity may take two 45 minute class periods.

Students will need to assemble pictures from magazines, books, Internet sites and other sources of different types of animals, including insects. Direct students’ attention to the various structures of these animals and explain to students that animals with a skeleton either have one outside the body (exoskeleton) or inside the body (endoskeleton).  Ask students if they can think of an animal that has an outside skeleton (insects, crawfish, shrimp, turtle) and one that has an inside skeleton (humans, birds, other mammals).  Both types provide protection. 

  1. Discuss other structures of the animals in the pictures (include beaks, claws, teeth, appendages, ears, etc.) that help them to survive in their habitat. Ask students to explain the function of the body structures.
  2. Discuss common traits of mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, amphibians, and arthropods. Using the same pictures, instruct students to sort them into these categories:  mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, amphibians, and arthropods; and then have students create a flip-book about these animals like the example below.

  1. First give each student three pieces of plain paper.  Next, have them place the sheets of paper on top of each other leaving a one-inch margin showing at the bottom of each page.               
  1. Direct the students to fold the sheets over to create a step booklet.  The teacher should then staple the paper along the fold onto a piece of construction paper.
  1. Have the students write the following words on the stacked pages and draw or glue an example of that animal.  Then, read the characteristics of each animal and have them point in their flip book to which animal it belongs.
  • Mammals – have fur or hair, use lungs to breathe, give birth to live young, and feed its young with milk

  • Reptiles – covered with scales, lay eggs on land and breathe with lungs,

  • Amphibians – begin life in the water and move onto land as adults; lay eggs in water

  • Insects – a major group of arthropods and have segmented body parts (head, thorax, abdomen) supported by an exoskeleton

  •  Arthropods – include insects, crustaceans; have segmented body parts with appendages on each segment; all arthropods are covered by a hard exoskeleton

  • Birds – have feathers, two legs, and wings

  1. The students should then write the characteristics about each animal in their flip book using the Animal Characteristics BLM.
  1. Using their flip-books, students should then compare various groups of organisms such as mammals and amphibians, insects and arthropods, etc. in their science learning log (view literacy strategy descriptions).  Allow time for discussions of classifications and why the animals were placed in the chosen categories.

Example of science learning log entry:

Mammals and Amphibians







  1. Again, have students identify and classify animals as those that have an outside skeleton (exoskeleton) and those that have an inside skeleton (endoskeleton).


Outside skeleton- insects, spiders, crawfish, shrimp

Inside skeleton – humans, monkeys, sharks


Listed below are several trade books that could be included in this lesson:

Amazing Pull-Out Pop-Up Body in a Book by David Hawcock- Using this hands-on book, children can explore the lungs, heart, skeleton, and brain.


The Children’s Book of the Body by Anna Sandman - Breathing, eating, senses, bones, the brain, blood, and skin are presented through entertaining projects.


What’s Inside? My Body by Angela Royston -The outside and inside of various body parts are depicted in facing pages through illustrations, photographs, and simple annotations.

Building Background:


Interactive Links:



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