HELPING TEACHERS INSPIRE COMPASSION FOR ANIMALS, PEOPLE & THE ENVIRONMENT

Character Education

Division 1: Kindergarten - Grade 3

Below are discussion questions and activities to spark curiosity in and foster compassion for animals, people, and the environment. Both the discussion questions and activities are part of the ‘Stay Curious’ character education theme for the 2019-2020 school year! To see other character building themes, click here!

Discussion Questions:

  • What does it mean to be curious?
  • Why is it important to ask questions?
  • What are different ways we can find answers to our questions?
  • Look at the poster, do you think the bird looks to be curious? Why or why not?
  • Can you tell how an animal is feeling by just looking at them? What are some examples?
  • Do you think all animals are curious? If so, how can you tell?
  • Do you think being curious and learning about others and nature helps you to be kinder? Why or why not?
  • What animals are you most curious about? Why?

Activities:

1. Stay Curious

Ask students: What animal are you most curious about? Why? Where does this animal live? (house, farm, wild) Have students create a list of five things they know about the animal (this could be completed as a class or in small groups). Next, ask students what else they want to
know about the animal. Using this template, have students create a poster that includes a picture and question about that animal. Display the posters in your classroom!

2. Needs of Animals

As a class compile a list of everything required to care for a pet budgie (see solutions). Next, ask students to choose an animal they are interested in, andindividually or in pairs, make a list (or draw) everything needed to care for that animal. Have students compare their list to the list made for the budgie. Have students present to the class one similarity and one difference. For a short video on meeting the needs of dogs watch “Life with Louis” (1:30).

3. Observing Animals

We use observation to learn more about animals and the natural word. As a class, watch the PBS video “Leave it to Beavers” (2:32).

  • Post Video Discussion Questions
    • What are some visible characteristics of the beaver?
    • How do some of the traits help the beaver survive?
    • What was the beaver doing? Why?
    • How does the beaver use the habitat to meet their basic needs?
    • What is the beaver’s relationship with other living and nonliving things? Is this helpful or harmful to the environment?

Have students observe an animals (insects, local wildlife, or pets), and have them complete the Observing Animals activity sheet. Encourage students to share any questions they have about their observation.

ADVISE STUDENTS: While observing wildlife, it is critical to not disturb the animal. Remind students to be respectful by giving the animal space, being quiet and observing from a distance. Never touch or feed wildlife as this can result in injury to the animal and person.

Curriculum

Science

General Learner Expectation

Students will

1-4 Demonstrate positive attitudes for the study of science and for the application of science in responsible ways

Specific Learner Expectations

Students will show growth in acquiring and applying the following traits:

  • Curiosity
  • Respect for living things and environments, and commitment for their care

General Learner Expectations

Students will

1-11 Describe some common living things, and identify needs of those living things

Specific Learner Expectations

Students will:

  1. Observe, describe and compare living things.
  2. Classify some common local plants and animals into groups on the basis of visible characteristcs: e.g., adaptations for survival, such as claws, beaks, prickles
  3. Identify the requirements of animals to maintain life: ie., air, food, water, shelter, space; and recognize that we must provide these for animals in our care.
  4. Give examples of ways in which animals depend on plants and ways in which plants depend on animals; e.g., particular plants may serve as a source of food and shelter, animals may help spread pollen and seeds.
Language Arts

1.1 Discover and Explore

Express ideas and develop understanding

  • Talk with others about something recently learned
  • Make observations about activities, experiences with oral, print and other texts

3.2 Select and Process

Use a variety of sources

  • Find information on a topic, using a variety of sources, such as books, concept books, people and field trips

3.4 Share and Review

Share ideas and information

  • Share ideas and information form oral, print, and other media texts with familiar audiences
Science
  • General Learner Expectation: Students will
    • 1-4 Demonstrate positive attitudes for the study of science and for the application of science in responsible ways
    • Specific Learner Expectations
      • Students will show growth in acquiring and applying the following traits:
        • Curiosity
        • Respect for living things and environments, and commitment for their care
  • Topic E: Small Crawling and Flying Animals
    • General Learner Expectations: Students will
      • 2-10 Describe the general structure and life habits of small crawling and flying animals; e.g., insects, spiders, worms, slugs; and apply this knowledge to interpret local species that have been observed.
      • Specific Learner Expectations: Students will:
        • 6. Identify and give examples of ways that small animals avoid predators, including camouflage, taking cover in burrows, use of keen sense of flight.
        • 6. Describe conditions for care of a small animal, and demonstrate responsible care in maintaining the animal for a few days or weeks.
Language Arts

1.1 Discover and Explore

Express ideas and develop understanding

  • Contribute relevant ideas and information from personal experiences to group language activities

3.2 Select and Process

Use a variety of sources

  • Find information on a topic using a variety of sources, such as simple chapter books, multimedia recourses, computers and elders in the community

3.4 Share and Review

Share ideas and information

  • Share, with familiar audiences, ideas and information on topics

General Learner Expectation

Students will

3-4 Demonstrate positive attitudes for the study of science and for the application of science in responsible ways

Specific Learner Expectations

Students will show growth in acquiring and applying the following traits:

  • Curiosity
  • Respect for living things and environments, and commitment for their care

General Learner Expectations

Students will

3-10 Describe the appearances and life cycles of some common animals, and identify their adaptations to different environments.

3-11 Identify requirements for animal care.

Specific Learner Expectations

Students will:

  1. Classify a variety of animals, based on observable characterists; e.g., limbs, teeth, body covering, overall shape, backbone.
  2. Demonstrate awareness that animals require different habitats in order to meet their basic needs of food, water, shelter, and space.
Language Arts

1.1 Discover and Explore

Express ideas and develop understanding

  • Explain understanding of new concepts in own words
  • Explore ideas and feelings by asking questions, talking to others and referring to oral, print and other media texts

3.2 Select and Process

Use a variety of sources

  • Find information to answer research questions, using a variety of sources, such as children’s magazines, CDROMs, plays, folk tales, songs, stories and the environment

3.4 Share and Review

Share ideas and information

  • Organize and share ideas and information on topics to engage familiar audiences

 

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