Grades K-2 ActivitiesUse these activities to help your class explore mammals—what they look like, their shapes and sizes, and where they live. Theses activities and the Student Worksheet can be adapted to meet your students' interests and abilities.
BEFORE YOUR VISIT
New York State Science Core CurriculumClass Discussion: Introduce your students to the material covered in the Essential Questions section of this guide under What is a mammal? and What is extreme? Ask them to describe mammals that live in the water, on land, and in treetops.
Major Understanding LE 3.1a
Each animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.
Online Activity: Invite your students to explore the diversity of mammals around the world with this virtual tour of the Museum's renowned dioramas. In a group discussion, have them describe similarities between the mammals in the dioramas. Let them know that they will discover more about mammals when they come to the exhibition.
Classroom Activity: Download "What Teeth Tell Us" (pdf).
After they've completed the activity, ask your students to describe the two different kinds of teeth and what they are used for.
DURING YOUR VISITIN THE EXTREME MAMMALS EXHIBITION
Use the activities and guiding questions in Sections 1 and 4 of Teaching in the Exhibition in this Guide to help students in their exploration of the biggest, smallest, and most amazing mammals. Have them share which mammal in the exhibit they liked the most, and why.
Go to the Heads area and ask students to compare the teeth of living and extinct mammals. Use Section 4 of Teaching in the Exhibition for strategies to explore this area.
NOTE: Students can use the worksheet linked at the top of this page, to further explore these concepts. Provide chaperones with a copy of the Map of the Exhibition to help them find locations in Extreme Mammals.
IN THE HALL OF NORTH AMERICAN MAMMALS (First Floor)
Have students take a close look at the beaver, mountain lion, grizzly bear, brown bear, and caribou dioramas, and choose one animal to sketch or draw on the back of their worksheet. Ask students what they observe about its habitat. From what they can see, what about these animals do they think helps them live in this habitat? What do they think the animal eats, and why?
BACK IN THE CLASSROOMActivity: Have students create their own "extreme mammal," including features like horns, fur, bony plates, flippers, and prehensile tails. Have them name their animal, explain to the class why they chose these special features, and describe how these features would help their animal survive.
Activity: Take a bite! Have students sample a variety of foods (an apple, a sandwich, a snack bar, or crackers), and ask them to think about which teeth they use for each bite. Ask what kind of diet their teeth are adapted for.