Lesson Plan Industry Sector
Agriculture & Natural Resources

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: Austin Large

Animal Behavior

Part of Unit: Animals: Their importance, Domestication, and Role

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

This is an overview lesson of animal behavior.  During the course of the lesson, students will define behavior, discuss anthropormorphism, and identify behaviors displayed by animals and their meaning/significance.

Lesson Time

1 Block Period
90 Minutes


Objectives and Goals

  • Students will define "anthropormorphism".
  • Students will discuss how the use of anthropomorphism may interfere with making accurate observations of livestock, and give examples of appropriate observations.
  • Students will discuss various animal behaviors and the times of occurrence including: nest building, mating behavior, and post-partum behavior.

Activities in this Lesson

  • Emotion Gallery Hooks / Set

    As students enter, encourage them to find their seats.

    Good morning everyone! Have any of you ever seen those posters that hang up in sometimes classrooms or Dr.'s Offices, they say "How are you feeling today?" and they have a bun of little cartoon characters with different faces showing the emotions? Well today, some of those crazy characters have visited our classroom.  In a moment, we will be traveling around the room to identify how our friends that are posted on the wall are feeling today.  For this activity we will need a writing utensil, get that out now, and then focus your attention back this direction.  Great, when I say "go", you will have three minutes to move to the faces posted on the wall, and on the paper below them, write the emotion or behavior that best describes that face.  Once you have roatated to each, make your way back to your seat, and focus your attention back to me.  What questions are there? "GO"

    Allow students to rotate to each face, and monitor the emotions and behaviors that are being identified.  If anything is inappropriate - take a heavy black marker and black it out.

    Great! It looks like we have done a bang-up job of getting those emotions pegged down!  Here is what they really were. Show the students the acutal emotion/behavior of each of the faces. After you have gone through each face, ask the following series of questions.

    What did we just do?

    How did we know what emotions the faces were showing?

    Why is it important to be able to identify how people are feeling?

    EXACTLY! Our observations of people and their emotions and behaviors dictate how we approach and interact with them!  For example, if I see that _________ is really angry, I am most likely not going to poke fun like we normally do.  I have used my observation of his emotion, and analyzed his behavior to better interact with him.  Folks, this goes for animals too!  As people who are around animals, we need to be able to analyze their behaviors, to make the safest and most positive interactions with them. 

    Today, we are going to learn how to accurately observe animals and their behaviors, and we are also going to take a look at common behaviors displayed by animals during certain situations.

    Resources and Materials

    • Emotion Poster Half-Sheet [ Download ]
  • After the hook - you will facilitate your students in creating their "Know Books" for the day's lesson, where they will capture down all of the information that is being covered.  Allow them time to dress up the cover...the more time they put into it, the less likely they will be to toss it in the garbage when the lesson is over.

    Alright cats, it's time for us to gear up our artistic minds, and let the creative juices flow! We are going to spend the next few minutes becoming the publishers of our very own "Know Book". Here's what needs to happen, when I say "create" you will grab two sheets of plain white paper and return to your seat.  You have 45 seconds to complete this task.  "Create".  As students are getting their paper, distribute crayons, colored pencils, or markers so that the students can create the covers of their "Know Book". That was record time! With your paper in hand, fold both of those sheets "hamburger style" to make the shape of a book! GREAT! Now, when I say "draw" you will have 3 minutes to decorate the cover of your "Know Book".  You will get the chance to be as creative as possible with the art supplies provided, but there are a few standard things that need to be on the cover: 1) is the title, it should read "My Animal Behavior Know Book", 2) Your name, and 3) Your class period!  These will be turned in to me today, so make sure to do your best work!  What questions are there? DRAW!

    Allow students the opportunity to craft and decorate.  Again, allowing them to personalize, means they are less likely to toss! At the end of the three minutes, refocus their attention and move on with the lesson.

    What beautiful books! You should all be proud!  These "Know Books" will be essential to us today as we uncover some information about animal behavior that needs to be captured down!  Here we go! On the back of your cover, draw a line through the middle of that page horizonatally...that's left to right, not top to bottom.  On the top half of that page, you will need to capture down some observations about a picture that I am going to show you.  In just a moment, we are going to become "ethologists" which are scientists who study the behavior of animals in their natural environment.  We are going to record and discuss and evaluate the behaviors of animals, starting with this picture.  Show the students the picture of a bull obviously being threatened. During the next two minutes, write down every observation that you think is applicable to this photo.  Be ready to share when you are finished.  Questions? Begin!

    Give students the opportunity to capture down some observations of the bull in their "Know Books"

    Wrap up that last thought....who will share one of their observations? Give students and opportunity to share what they captured down, and faciliate a discussion about valid observations, i.e. "The bulls head is down, the bulls eyes are wide open" as opposed to non-valid observations i.e. "someone made the bull mad". 

    Wrap up the discussion using the attached PowerPoint, and completing your first two objectives.

    Resources and Materials

  • Whew! Nice work capturing down that information! You see, it's important that we are able to understad how to accurately observe animals, as opposed to just project human emotions to them!   It's time that we switch gears now, and really take a look at certain behaviors animals display during certain instances.  We as a group are going to take a look at nesting, mating, and post-partum behaviors of several livestock species! Here's how this is going to look! In a moment we will be broken into groups.  In our groups, we will have 5 minutes to create a poster that highlights the behaviors of animals during certain points in time.  At the end o your five minutes, your group will need to be prepared to share your findings, so that the rest of the group can capture the information down in our "Know Books". What questions do you have? Here are our groups...group 1, 2, 3, 4.  Here are your materials, let's get to work!

    After you have broken the students into groups, give them an animal behavior handout...one behavior per group.  After they have completed their posters, shared their information, and been given and opportunity to capture information in their know books - move into the application of the lesson.

    Resources and Materials

  • Great work on those posters ladies and gents! You are quite a talented bunch! Quick re-cap: We started this lesson off today talking about how to properly and objectively observe animal behavior.  And, just a few moments ago - we heard about some pretty common behaviors that animals display during instances of nesting, mating, and after they give birth! Now, it's time to take all of that knowledge that we have, and put it to good use! Grab your "Know Books", because we are going to take a trip out to the school farm, and make observations about our very own animals!  Remember that we need to be objective, not use anthropomorphism!

    If you have a school farm with animals, take your students on a trek to make some valid animal observations.  Have them record what they observe in their "Know Books".  If you do not have a school farm, deliever the following set of directions for your application activity.

    Great work on those posters ladies and gents! You are quite a talented bunch! Quick re-cap: We started this lesson off today talking about how to properly and objectively observe animal behavior.  And, just a few moments ago - we heard about some pretty common behaviors that animals display during instances of nesting, mating, and after they give birth! It's time for us to harness our dramatic personas, because in just a moment we are going to be conducting skits about animal behavior.  In your groups, you will have 7 minutes to create a skit that shows the behavior of animals during nesting, of males during mating, femals during mating, and post-partum behaviors of females.  All members of your group must participate, and they must be school appropriate.  The group that had nesting will create a skit on male mating behavior, the male group will do female mating behavior, the females will do post-partum behaviors, and post-partum group will take nesting!  You have 7 mintutes, let's get to work!

    Allow the groups to use their "Know Books" and the posters for the material of their skit.  Float and make sure that everything is school appropriate. At the end of the seven minutes, have the groups share their skits with the class as a whole. Process each group once they finish to fill in any information that they might not have demonstrated.

  • It is no wonder that our drama department here in campus is so good! You are a talented group of thesbians! We are going to stretch that creativity as far as it can go today, because our final activity is an acrostic.  On the back over of your know book, write the word "behavior" vertically down the center of the page.  Using this word as your backbone, you will fill in each letter of the word with behaviors and other terms that we covered during our lesson today.  No, the words do not all have to start with the those letters, they can be located anywhere within in the word.  We will have 5 minutes to creat our acrostic, and when we have finished, we need to be prepared to share.  What questions are there? Go!

    Wonderful! Those are some beautiful acrostics! Turn to someone sitting next to you, and share with them what you put down!

    After the students have completed sharing their acrostic with a partner, have them turn in their "Know Books" for credit.

  • Nice work today ladies and gents, we have made a TON of progress today! We started off not knowing much about animal behavior, but now we are experts and know how to make quality observations of animal behavior, and have identified some common animal behaviors during mating, nesting, and after birth.

    This information is going to be vital as you continue to work with animals! It is important to make quality observations, and understand animal behavior, for your safety, and the safety of the animal that you are working with!

    Let's give ourselves a round of applause for the hard work that we have put into today!

  • - Emotion Posters/Paper Underneath to caputre the students observations

    - PowerPoint/Projector

    - Blank Paper (2 sheets per student for their "Know Books")

    - Markers, Colored Pencils, Crayons, etc. for "Know Books" and posters

    - Animal Behavior Handouts (1 per group)


Assessment Types:
Projects, Writing Samples, Observations,

The general assessment for this lesson is focused on students producing the items being created throughout the lesson and the "Know Book" in particular. Despite simply collecting and grading the materials students produce above, it is important to check in with them periodically throughout the lesson to make sure everyone is progressing by making casual observations while you move about the room during the activities.

The final student product represents their comprehension based on the project itself and the samples of writing it contains covering the information presented for the day.