Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Grow a Creature Lab

Roberta Klawinski
Leon County Schools


This is an interactive, hands-on lesson to estimate and measure the length of the creatures as they grow when placed in water. Students check the creature assigned to their group and observe, estimate, measure, record, and compare data daily for one week.


The student estimates, measures, and compares dimensions of an object.


-Package of creatures that grow when placed in water (4 in a package - available at discount or toy stores) - need 1 creature per group of five-six students
-Copy of lab sheet for each student (see attached file)
-Box of crayons for each student
-Ball of string for each group (non-stretching for accuracy)
-Scissors for each student
-Roll of clear tape for each group
-Clear plastic shoebox for each group
-Pitcher of water for each group


1. Purchase creatures from discount or toy store.
2. Make a copy of the lab sheet (attached file) for each student.
3. Gather other materials listed above for activity.
4. Assign students to small groups.


1. Show students a paper bag with the creatures hidden inside. Ask them if they would like to guess what is in the bag.

2. Pull the creatures out of the bag one by one and show them to the students.

3. Inform the students they will estimate and then measure the actual length of the creatures using string.

4. Discuss and demonstrate measuring with non-standard unit of measure (piece of string).

5. Divide students into small groups of 5-6.

6. Distribute activity materials.

7. Students will draw a picture using their crayons of the creature before it is placed in the water.

8. Students will estimate how long they think the creature will grow and cut a piece of string accordingly. Students will tape the string to their lab sheets

9. Choose one student from each group to place the creature into the plastic shoebox and pour water on it until it is covered.

10. Allow students to discuss within their groups how big they think their creature will grow.

Day 2:
1. Students will check their creatures within their small groups and see how large they grew overnight.

2. Students will take the creature out of the water and measure it with string. Each student will cut a piece of string the actual size of the creature and tape it to his/her lab sheet with clear tape.

3. Allow time for discussion about the size of the creature and how they think it grew compared to what the students had predicted.

Day 3:
Follow steps 1-3 from Day 2.

Day 4:
Follow steps 1-3 from Day 2.

Day 5:
Follow steps 1-3 from Day 2.
4. Students will turn their lab sheets over and draw a picture of the lab creature on the other side of the paper.

5. Class will meet and discuss the animals from the different groups and compare how big each creature grew.


As the children work in small groups, the teacher will walk around the room to encourage the children and guide them as they work cooperatively. Formative assessment of student understanding of estimation, measurement and comparison will be conducted through teacher observation. Practice and feedback will be ongoing. Since each student has his own sheet to record data on, the teacher will assist individuals within each group who may need additional assistance. Students will complete lab sheets and teacher will collect them. The teacher will put a smiley face or sticker on each lab sheet to be sent home with the student in his/her weekly work folder.


Science: Students can explore different facts about their specific creature (example: frog, turtle, etc.) and learn about their habitats.
Language Arts: Students can write a creative story about their creatures.

Web Links

A wonderful reference site about frogs and their habitats.
Center for Global Environmental Education, Hamilton University

A reference of interesting animal facts.
Sea World/Busch Gardens Animal Information Database

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