K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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  • An integrated lesson comparing the butterfly and frog life cycles: Students will build on their prior knowledge about the butterfly life cycle to compare and contrast the life cycles of butterflies and frogs. Students will locate butterflies on the school grounds and create pictographs and models of fractions to explain their findings mathematically. Students will also use a variety of resources to read about and study the food, space and air needed by butterflies and frogs to grow. They will create visual and written products to demonstrate their findings.
  • Using a Venn diagram to illustrate that bears and humans are both mammals.: Students use their collected information on bears to compare them to humans through a Venn diagram, as preparation for an introduction to mammals.
  • Animals movin' on up: Children will explore animal body parts in animal pictures using the inquiry method. They will discuss their functions in movement and eating. They will also discuss the idea that classifications of animals have similar body parts.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • discuss the ways that animals move
  • accurately represent animal movement
  • create a graph of animal movements
  • sort the animals by the given trait (type of movement)

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

3 hours


  • chart paper
  • markers
  • movement cards
  • animal picture cards
  • floor graph or large pocket graph


  1. Discussion: “Let’s see all the different ways we can move.” Allow a few minutes for free movement. “Now pretend you are an animal and move as that animal would.” Choose a student to model a movement. Have the other students copy the movement.
  2. Brainstorm and list all the different ways they know animals move. Introduce new terms at this time. Examples: walk, crawl, slither, gallop, jump, swim, leap and fly. Act out each animal movement listed.
  3. “Zip around the Circle”: Make cards with the movement words from step 2 written on them. Ask students to sit in a circle. Give each student one movement card. As students show their cards, the teacher reads the movement and the student will act out the movement and name an animal that moves in such a way.
  4. Discussion: How many different ways can a _______ move? Examples: duck, bird, bear, etc. In what ways can animals move that people cannot?
  5. Sorting: Have a bag filled with animal pictures and allow each student to select a picture from the bag. Without students knowing the categories, begin grouping them according to how their animal moves (fast or slow). Let the students observe the groupings, and discover the similarities and differences in each group. Discuss which group has more/less.
  6. Graphing: Using a floor graph, choose five ways that animals move and label the graph. Using the pictures from step 5, have students place their animal into the proper row that shows how their animal moves. Discuss which row has more, less, or the same. Which is longer, shorter, the same or equal? Which movement is common to more animals? Are there any animals which could go in more than one row?


  • Observe students choosing proper placement of their animal cards in step 6. Can they put their animal in the correct classification?
  • Do students demonstrate the correct movement when given the animal?
  • Do they demonstrate the movement according to the directions during step 3?
  • Can they read the graph to obtain information?
  • Can students create a graph using the information collected in step 4 and 5?
  • Can students identify the group of animals that has more, less or the same after sorting them out?
  • Can students identify the characteristic by which the animals are sorted?
  • Can they sort the animals by the given trait (type of movement)?

Supplemental information

  • Videos—Monkey Moves and How the Animals Move
  • Book—Pretend You’re a Cat by Jean Marzollo and Jerry Pinkney

  • Common Core State Standards
    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Kindergarten

        • Measurement & Data
          • K.MD.2Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has “more of”/“less of” the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.
          • K.MD.3Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.1

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Healthful Living (2010)
      • Movement Concepts

        • K.MC.2 Understand concepts, principles, strategies and tactics that apply to the learning and performance of movement. K.MC.2.1 Understand the meaning of words and terms associated with movement. K.MC.2.2 Identify one or more of the essential elements of correct...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Healthful Living Education (2006)


  • Goal 6: The learner will demonstrate competency in a variety of movement forms and proficiency in a few to gain competence towards lifetime physical activities (NASPE Standard 1).
    • Objective 6.01: Demonstrate non-locomotor movements using different parts of the body.
    • Objective 6.02: Demonstrate a variety of beginner locomotor and combination skills in a movement pattern.

Mathematics (2004)


  • Goal 4: Data Analysis and Probability - The learner will collect, organize and display data.
    • Objective 4.01: Collect and organize data as a group activity.
    • Objective 4.02: Display and describe data with concrete and pictorial graphs as a group activity.
  • Goal 5: Algebra - The learner will model simple patterns and sort objects.
    • Objective 5.01: Sort and classify objects by one attribute.