Updated On: June 19, 2020

Animals

Art & Design

Design

Children & Teenagers
Create: Pretend you have rescued an animal that cannot be returned to the wild. After researching the animals needs, design a habitat space where the animal will be happy. Consider the animal’s needs related to food, temperature, shelter, and intellectual challenge or play. Will the animal be happy alone, or do you need to plan for, and be on the look out for, other animals of the same species?

Children & Teenagers
Design: Design a new animal! Find an interesting habitat and design an animal that would be well suited to live there. Think about how it would look and behave.

Illustration

Children & Teenagers
Follow Instructions: Choose a step-by-step illustration tutorial from the list of available animals here.

Sculpting & 3D Art

All Ages
Create: Create animal sock puppets.

All Ages
Sculpt: Build clay models of favorite animals.

Theatre

Children
Create: Create a theatrical production where each family member has a supporting role and the family pet has the lead role.

Woodworking

Children & Teenagers
Build: Learn woodworking to build a bird feeder.

Family Connections

All Ages
Play: Play an animal charades or pretend game with your family or friends.

Language & Thinking

Writing Fiction

Children & Teenagers
Write a Short Story: Write short stories about a world without humans, where animals at the top of the food chain rule over those at the lower end.

Writing Nonfiction

Children & Teenagers
Write an Article: Plan unique experiences with animals and write a series of blog posts about them. It could be about rescuing a homeless animal, volunteering at a shelter or zoo, fostering pets, breeding pets, etc.

Children & Teenagers
Write a Journal Entry: Keep a daily journal about the eating habits, behavior, and physical activity of a family pet. Compare to what is expected for this type of pet.

Nature Appreciation

All Ages
Explore: Go for a nature walk! What animals can you see and hear where you live?

Teenagers
Volunteer: Volunteer at a shelter or zoo, or be a foster home for animals in need.

Math

Early Math Skills

Children
Estimate: Practice estimating and rounding by quickly counting groups of animals in the wild (or in an online video).

Pre-Algebra & Algebra

Children & Teenagers
Abstract: Introduce algebraic concepts using different animals as variables. You can start simply, such as a horse plus 1 equals three. What is the value of the horse? Then, add complexity!

Measurement & Data

Teenagers
Explore: Look at data about animals to explore the many ways data can be displayed to convey knowledge. Here is an example of several ways to show data. Do you think some data is best displayed certain ways?

Teenagers
Analyze:  Learn about statistics by analyzing the population changes of various animals or their relative population in each part of the world. This website might be enough to make you love statistics, but at the least, it will give you a lot of interesting statistics about animal populations!

Miscellaneous & Multidisciplinary

All Ages
Create: Design an elaborate obstacle course for a family pet.

Science

Ecology

Children & Teenagers
Identify: Research what issues represent a problem for your favorite animals. What should we do, if anything, to help protect them?

Zoology

Children & Teenagers
Determine: How smart are animals? Did you know crows are excellent problem solvers, and an octopus is an escape artist and learns by watching other octopi? See what else you can find about smart animals, like in this video here this list here and this fascinating information here.

Children & Teenagers
Discover: Learn about various epochs of world history by reviewing a list of extinct species and the causes of their demise. A good place to start is mass extinction events with this video and this reading. But also consider learning about small extinction events, and things like the history of the Dodo bird.

Children & Teenagers
Dissect: Discuss anatomy by dissecting a frog, worm, or other animal or insect. Here is a large database of virtual dissections.

Children & Teenagers
Investigate: How are animals named and classified? Learn about binomial nomenclature and the classification structure, and then determine the name and classification of your favorite animals.

Children & Teenagers
Investigate: What kind of relationships do animals have with each other? Animals have different types of relationships, which you can read about here, and here is a video about five animal relationships!

Children & Teenagers
Read: In The Inner Life of Animals, New York Times’ bestselling author Peter Wohlleben tells “vivid stories of devoted pigs, two-timing magpies, and scheming roosters, The Inner Life of Animals weaves the latest scientific research into how animals interact with the world with [his] personal experiences in forests and fields. Horses feel shame, deer grieve, and goats discipline their kids. Ravens call their friends by name, rats regret bad choices, and butterflies choose the very best places for their children to grow up.”

Children & Teenagers
Recognize: Discuss the theory of evolution and how animals adapt to their environment. First, what is a scientific theory? A great place to start with evolution is with Darwin and his finches. You can also find interesting details of adaptations of animals living in extreme environments here. When learning about adaptions, keep physical, behavioral, and social adaptations in mind. Can you find examples of each? Want to see a cool video about camel adaptations? Here you go! 

Social Sciences

Anthropology & Ancient People

Children & Teenagers
Discover: Historically, many cultures have treated animals as deities, or believed they had special powers. See what you can find about this. You can get started with animals in Ancient Egypt, but if you’re inspired, keep going!

Children & Teenagers
Identify: Humans are animals, too! Learn about the history of the human species. This video and this video will help you start.

Civics & Government Studies

Children & Teenagers
Consider: Use the predator/prey relationship to discuss the dominance of weak nations by more powerful nations. As arguably the most moral of animal, can we do better? Where do you draw the line between exploitation and mutual benefit? Do animals draw the line?

Children & Teenagers
Read: In Animal Farm – one of the most noteworthy books of all time – George Orwell uses a story of farm animals to tell a timeless story that resembles the developments of revolutions and counter revolutions that have happened in centuries’ past and since this book has been written. This is a book that has significantly advanced the layperson’s ability to participate in political discourse. Synopsis: “A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned—a razor-edged fairy tale… that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.”

How else might important subject matter be learned from this interest topic? Comment below! Half-baked ideas are more than welcome, too.