Life Cycle - Organisms (1B)
Pre Lab 

  • Comparing animals with and without backbones.
  • Discovering animal habitats.
  • amphibian
  • bird
  • fish
  • invertebrate
  • mammal
  • reptile
  • vertebrate
  • animal puppets
  • Animal Globe
  • worksheet
  • Activity - Coloring book - A  and B

Students use puppets to compare different organisms.


This unit emphasizes different types of animals which, can easily become a week long project. Children like to talk about animals, and the more information you give them, the more they want. In this series of animal activities, introduce your students to the different puppets that they will use in lab. This is background information on some of the puppets.

PENGUIN - This is an emperor penguin the largest and most colorful of all the penguins. The emperor penguin which stands nearly four feet high, is the giant of all present-day penguins. The female lays her egg and then abandons her egg to her partner. The male incubates a single egg by carrying it on its large feet. The female returns after the egg hatches and takes care of the chick. A penguin's body is streamlined and this helps it to swim with remarkable skill. Penguins hunt while swimming, catching fish and other small sea creatures. They can obtain a height of 1.35 m (4 ft) and weight up to 22 to 45 kg (50-100 lbs).

BLUE WHALE - The blue whale is the largest and heaviest animal of all time. It can weight up to 508,000 lbs and reach a length of 110 feet. It is a strong mammal that can travel at 25 hours per hour. At birth it can weight 6,600 lbs and be 7 meters (25 feet) in length. The blue whale is a filter feeder, meaning that it has "baleen" filters in its mouth where plankton (small floating organisms) are trapped. The sound of a blue whale is awesome, a high pitched sound can be heard 530 miles away.

SHARK - You can use this puppet to describe the Great White Shark or the Sand Shark, depending on whether you want to describe a monster or benign member of a very primitive fish family. The sand shark is found in the Atlantic Ocean. This shark is not normally dangerous to humans. It eats fish and mollusca. The babies are born from the mother. They can weigh up to 170 kg or 375 lbs and can be up to 3.2 m or 10.5 feet in length. The Great White Shark is a very large fish with a terrifying mouth. These saw-toothed edged teeth are as sharp as razor blades. The shark inhabits all the world's seas. The Great White tends to attack everything that looks like food. It eats absolutely everything and the stomach of many Great Whites include dustbins, tins of jam, and thousands of metal objects. The adult length is up to 10 meters or 33 feet.

STINGRAY - The rays are primitive fish related to sharks. Their skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. There are about 90 species of stingrays which range in size from one to seven feet across. They live on the bottom of the sea floor.

HERMIT CRAB - Hermits crabs are related to crabs and lobsters. Most live in tidal areas or deeper in the ocean. A few are even land dwellers. A Hermit crab has two large pincers and two pairs of walking legs. When threatened, it pulls entirely into its shell.

SCALLOP - There are over 300 species of scallop that live throughout the marine world. The scallop can "swim" in the water, by using a propelling motion as they open and close their shells. Scallops have tiny bright blue eyes all along the edge of the shells. These eyes are highly sensitive to light and dark.

DUNGENESS CRAB - The Dungeness crab ranges from Alaska to California. It lives in sandy areas from the low tide line to 300 feet deep. The dungeness crab can live eight years and be 10 inches across. To grow the crab sheds its shell or molts, before the new shell hardens. The Dungeness crab has 10 legs, the front pair are modified into piners with which it catches small fish and shellfish.

OCTOPUS - There are over 150 species of octopus which belong to the mollusk family. They are found throughout the world’s oceans, most commonly in warm seas.Octopuses range in size from two inches to a giant 32 feet across the arms of the Pacific species. Octopuses are masters of camouflage. They can change color, shape and skin texture. The octopus’ well-developed eyes enable it to see all around itself.

DOLPHIN - This is a mammal, although there is a fish by the same name. They live in the open ocean, but visit the coastal areas as well. They tend to live in warmer waters.

LOBSTER - Lobsters belong to the invertebrates grouping of animals. They are related to crabs and other jointed critters, like insects. They have two well developed pinchers which they use to eat and defend themselves.

The following vertebrates listed below may be included in your set. Remember, if you have puppets, you may want to include them.







blue whale








hermit crab


dungeness crab



  1.  Enclosed are several coloring exercises which may help you illustrate the lifestyle of the various puppets. You may also want to use various storybooks to read to your students. The recommended books are only a few of the many available.
  2. In lab you will ask the children to pick a puppet and relate a story about that animal. You may want to give a "homework" assignment that allows the student to bring a puppet or stuffed animal from home and then to tell the class a little something about how that animal lives. This way you will get the parents involved. Suggest going to the library, or just asking people about animal stories. Below is model information on the some of the puppets.
  3. If your set is different refer to reference books for more information. The type of puppet is probably different than your set, because each year this manufacturer replaces puppets with new models. The puppet set also includes invertebrates which are not needed for this activity. For this activity only, show students the puppets they will use in the "Lab."
  4. Use the Inflatable Animal Globe to show students where the different vertebrates live. You may want to mention that zoo animals are not necessarily found together. For instance, a polar bear and penguin are usually near each other in a zoo because they require cool climates. In the wild however, the polar bear is found only in the Arctic and penguins are found in the Antarctica.
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