I use this activity as an introduction activity for our Mammal Chapter in my high school Zoology Class. We are are one-year general level science elective, with a mixture of students from all sorts of backgrounds. I like this activity because it allows the students to bring their background knowledge to the activity, and combine it with a creative flair. Plus, it gets my students working together in small groups. The activity itself can be made as simple or complex as needed, so is probably versatile enough to be used with students from all grade levels. The activity incorporates group discussion and writing skills, which is a helpful activity with the new Common Core writing standards.
The purpose of this activity focuses on mammal adaptations. I'm attaching it as a word document, so you will be able to modify any parts you feel would help your class be more successful. The way the current activity is set up, students roll dice to choose characteristics from a list, and then they will combine these characteristics into one new animal. The adaptations pertain to Eyes, Ears, Teeth, Habitat, Movement, Social, and Reproductive behavior. I always encourage creativity in this activity, and my students come up with some wonderful new animals. Some of my students are not as comfortable being creative, so they just try to find a real animal that looks like it would fit into the adaptations they have rolled, and that's okay too.
Students then design and describe their new mammal. The activity is set up to have students create mini-posters illustrating their mammal in its biome. I've also occasionally allowed my students to use clay to sculpt out their animals instead of drawing them. Students write a paragraph describing their animal and how its adaptations help the animal thrive in the environment.
At the end of the activity the students take turns sharing their new mammal and we hang the mini-posters around the room. This activity can easily be done in one 55 minute class period, although if we are really into it or have a big class we may need a few minutes into the next period to finish the presentations.
You will receive a download with the Create-A-Mammal cover page and the 1-page student worksheet. This simple activity is a fun way to get students working in groups and talking about curriculum pre-knowledge at the start of the unit or as an assessment to show their understanding of the various body forms and adaptations at the end of the unit.
For $3 - you will receive a 2 page word document with the Create-A-Mammal Activity, as seen in the thumbnail preview at the right. The file is saved as a Word document, so you may customize with your own information or categories as needed. If you have any questions - I'd prefer you ask me BEFORE purchasing rather than leaving less than flattering feedback after purchasing. :)