Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Fantastic Kindergarten Zoo

Patricia Mader
Bay District Schools


After completing a unit on zoo animals, students will create their own zoo to share with other classes and parents.


The student uses simple materials of the reference system to obtain information.

The student listens for a variety of informational purposes, including curiosity, pleasure, getting directions, performing tasks, solving problems, and following rules.

The student speaks clearly and at a volume audible in large- or small-group settings.

The student compares and describes the structural characteristics of plants and animals.

The student knows that living things have offspring that resemble their parents.

The student knows that there are many different kinds of living things that live in a variety of environments.


-Paper plates, crayons, paint, paper
-Oak tag
-Mammals CD-Rom, Washington D.C. National Geographic Society, 1996
-Various books on zoo animals
-IF I RAN THE ZOO, Theodore S. Geisel, Random House, Inc., New York, N. Y., 1977


1. Have zoo books and software on hand and easily available to children.
2. Gather paper, crayons, paint, and paper plates.
3. Select an appropriate place to set up the zoo. You may want to use a classroom or an outside area, depending on the weather.
4. Invite parent volunteers and fifth grade students to help with groups working on displays and paper plate animals. Also provide time for the volunteers to help with the research. Set up specific times for each activity.
5. Prepare note inviting other classes and our parents to visit the zoo.
6. Prepare nametags for each student to wear while -working - at the zoo.
7. Prepare rubric cards (see Assessment) for parents and teachers to fill out for each display. They will be picked up at each display and left in a box at the entrance to the zoo when completed.


1. Read Dr.Seuss' book, IF I RAN THE ZOO.

2. Brainstorm animals that one would really find in a zoo. Explain that we are going to create a zoo that other classes and our parents can come to visit to show what we have learned about zoo animals.

3. With the students, list the animals that should be included in the zoo.

4. Have children decide which animal they would like to work on. Depending on the number of animals chosen to be in the zoo, two - three children could work on each animal. Make a chart listing the animals and number two spaces after each. Children will then sign their names after the animal they choose to work on.

5. Use the zoo animal books and the Mammals CD-Rom to -research- each animal. (Research at this level is focused on interpreting pictures and seeking information from others. The children may also ask the teacher, parent volunteers and older students to help them by reading the material to them or by helping them run the Mammals program on the computer.)

Discuss with the children what they should focus on in their -research.- Brainstorm with the students to arrive at the following:

I can tell at least three facts about my animal, including:
-describing the animal (skin covering, eating habits, etc.)
-telling about the animal's offspring or parent
-knows where the animal lives in the wild

Allow time for the children to conduct their -research.-

When students find their information, make a chart listing the information about each animal. Have the children dictate information they have gathered in their -research.- Typical -research- might include - The lion is a big cat that lives in Africa. It is a meat eater. The baby lions are called cubs. Hang the charts around the room so that they are easily seen. You might want to include a picture of the animal on each chart.

6. Have the groups create displays for the animals. Have each group brainstorm how they will create a display for their animal. List the materials each group will need to create their display. Provide time for the groups to work on their displays.

7. Students will create animals to place in their displays, using paper plates, crayons, paint, and paper.

8. Have volunteers (students, parents, or older students) create a sign for the zoo.

9. Provide time to meet with each group to go over the information they will present at the zoo. Practice using a clear speaking voice at a volume that is easily heard. The mock audience practices their listening skills as well. Make sure that each child has a part in the descriptions.

10. On the day before the zoo opens, practice giving short descriptions of the animals in front of the class, remembering to speak clearly and loudly enough for every one to hear. The class audience will also practice their listening skills.

11. Set up the displays the day before or early in the morning of the zoo opening. Make sure that there is enough room at each display for the visitors to be able to see and hear without crowding the next display.

12. On the day of the zoo opening, students will stand by their animal displays and give a short description of the animal, including its name, the name of its offspring, what it eats, what it looks like, and where it lives.

13. Provide rubric cards at each display for the teachers and parents to fill out and turn in when completed. (see Assessment)


Set up a checklist to be used when meeting with groups and when observing listening skills. Use a (+) or a (-) to indicate whether or not the student has achieved that skill. Skills that need to be observed include:

-I can name or show which reference material I used to find my information.
-I am quiet and attentive while others are speaking.
-I can speak clearly and audibly in a large or small group.
-I can tell at least three facts about my animal, including
-- describing the animal (skin covering, eating
habits, etc.)
-- telling about the animals offspring or parent
-- knowing where the animal lives in the wild

As an ongoing assessment, Goal 3 Standard - Cooperative Workers - can be observed as the children work on their displays; do the children work together with no disruptions, with few disruptions, or do they need to be redirected?

The rubric cards to be used by the teachers and parents at the zoo should include the names of the students at the display, the skill to be observed, and a happy/straight face to be checked when completed. For example:

I spoke clearly and audibly.
Name_________________ Name_________________

Happy Face/Straight Face Happy Face/Straight Face
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