Let's Learn about Animals: 1. Where Do They Live?

Submitted by Dayna Laber

Language: Any (examples in Spanish)
Unit Cultural Theme or
Academic Content Area:

Cultural Contexts (Animals & Environment)

Target Audience:

Immersion Elementary
Grade: 1

Proficiency Level:

Novice Low



1.1, 1.2, 1.3






Lesson Timeframe:

3 activities, 30 - 60 minutes each
The entire "Let's Learn about Animals" unit consists of 15-20 lessons of approximately 30 minutes each.

Lesson Overview:

As a basic introduction to an animal unit, students will learn the names and locations of the seven continents of the world and six different biomes where animals can live. Students will also locate these biomes on the continents and classify animals according to their habitats.

Lesson Context:

This lesson is part of the "Let's Learn about Animals" unit which can be found on the CoBaLTT website. The unit includes endangered animals, their habitats, diets, physical characteristics, methods of locomotion, and sounds, as well as a research project, an oral assessment, and a virtual visit. This first lesson introduces the names and location of the continents.


Students will...

  • identify the geographic location of each continent.
  • identify the continental location of six biomes.
  • develop a beginning understanding that animals are unique to their habitat.
  • begin to classify some common animals according to their habitats.
  • practice their coordination of the mouse while drawing animals and their habitats

    Students will...

  • identify the continents where the target language is spoken

    Language: Content Obligatory
    Students will...

  • use the following terms
    el continente Norteamérica Sudamérica Europa Asia Africa Antártida Australia
    el animal vive en el océano la selva/jungla el desierto la savana el bosque la tundra
    (animals which live in these habitats depending on which ones are more popular with the class) eg.
    el oso el tigre el león la jirafa la zebra la serpiente
    el oso polar el cocodrilo el lagarto la rana el mono

    Language: Content Compatible
    Students will...

  • use "¿Dónde está?" to ask about location of continents.
  • use "¿Dónde vive?" to inquire where an animal lives.
  • use "vivir" to describe where an animal lives. (Vive en _____.)
  • use and respond to "¿Se habla español en ______ ?" to ask whether the target language is spoken on each continent.

    Learning Strategies / Social and Skills Development:

  • Time Frame:

    3 activities, 30 - 60 minutes each
    The entire "Let's Learn about Animals" unit consists of 15-20 lessons of approximately 30 minutes each.

    Materials Needed:

  • L᠌arge map of the world or globe
  • Pictures representing six different biomes: ocean, jungle, desert, savannah, forest, tundra
  • Multi-colored construction paper
  • Large blue construction paper to make circles for student activity
  • Glue, markers, and scissors
  • Small pictures/drawings of animals to place in a paper bag
  • Chalk or large paper from rolls to draw continents on
  • Plastic or wooden animals
  • Kid Pix (computer software)

  • Description of Assessment (Performance Project):

    *** Activity #1: Continents of the World ***

    The teacher asks for a volunteer to locate Minnesota on the world map.
    The teacher asks the children on which continent Minnesota is located while tracing over all of North America. If the children are unable to answer, the teacher proceeds to teach the names of all the continents and asks again once the names have been taught.

    The teacher sits with the children facing the map of the world. The children are asked to use their hands to show the location of each of the continents (see below) while chanting the names of the continents with an echo. The teacher starts by asking the children to reach up high with their left hands and repeat, "Norteamérica." The teacher continues to show "Sudamérica" by pointing down low with the left hand. The class continues chanting the names of all the continents while pointing out where they are located.

    Norteamérica: Left hand reaches up high
    Sudamérica: Left hand points down low
    Europa: Right hand reaches over to the right
    Asia: Right hand reaches over to the right
    Africa: Right hand points down towards the front of you.
    Antártida: Both hands move back and forth indicating the location of the continent.
    Y no se les olvide Australia: Shake your finger (left hand) meaning "no". Then (right hand) point down low, to the right.

    The class repeats this chant various times until the children seem fairly confident. The teacher asks for volunteers to point out the different continents on the map. The teacher once again asks the class on which continent Minnesota is located.

    The teacher points to her/himself and says "Hablo español", repeating the phrase a few times. Then the teacher points to an individual student and asks "Hablas español?", to which the student responds "." The teacher points to more students asking the same question, and ends by concluding "Hablamos todos español en la clase". The teacher then points to North America on the map or globe and asks if Spanish is spoken there. The class should be encouraged to respond positively, and the teacher reinforces by naming Mexico and the US, emphasizing states where Spanish is widely spoken. Then the teacher asks if Spanish is spoken in Minnesota; again a positive response is encouraged. The teacher continues in this manner with the rest of the continents, naming countries where Spanish is the predominant language. If desired, the last continent can be Antarctica, and the teacher can tell the class "Los pingüinos no hablan español!"

    Task setup:
    The class counts the number of continents. They look at a globe and talk about its shape (round) and locate all seven continents on the globe also. The students are shown a blue circle (ocean) cut out of construction paper. The teacher explains to the class that they need to use colored construction paper to create the seven continents by cutting, gluing and labeling the continents onto their own blue oceans.

    During task:
    The teacher circulates throughout the class to check for progress and understanding of the assignment. As the students finish, they individually point out and name each continent on their map and tell whether or not Spanish is spoken there.

    Post task:
    Volunteers share the map they made with the rest of the class. The teacher reviews the chant with the class and asks for volunteers to lead the chant and point to the continents on the map.

    *** Activity #2: Animal Habitats ***

    Task set-up:
    The teacher hangs pictures of six diferent biomes in different locations around the room, somewhat separated from one another. The teacher then tells the class they will take a trip around the world to see what the continents look like.

    During task:
    The teacher leads students to one of the biome pictures and they sit down near it. The teacher names the biome and asks the class where they would find this habitat. Students are encouraged to point to the map or globe to locate and name the continent(s) on which this biome could be found. If necessary, the teacher can assisst the students by asking yes/no questions. When finished, the teacher summarizes by pointing to the appropriate continents as the class recites where the habitat is located. Then the group stands up and "travels" to the next biome picture, where the process is repeated.

    After all the biomes have been "visited" and located, the pictures are collected and placed in the center of the students. The teacher then gets out the plastic animals, chooses one, and asks the class where the animal lives (¿Dondé vive _______?) Individual students suggest answers. The teacher reinforces correct guesses by repeating the phrase and allowing the student to place the animal on the picture of the correct biome.

    After several examples, students may choose an animal and ask the question to their peers.

    *** Activity #3: Creating an Animal and its Habitat Using Kid Pix ***

    The class makes a list or graph of their favorite animals and where they live.

    Task set-up:
    The teacher chooses his/her favorite animal and uses Kid Pix to demonstrate how to draw the animal and its habitat, leaving room to write the name of the animal and where it lives.

    During task:
    This activity needs to be completed based on accessibility to a computer. The students can take turns using Kid Pix to complete this task or if there is accessibility to a computer lab everyone may draw their animal at the same time. Once the activity has been completed, the teacher or a parent volunteer can print each page so that the students may color in what they have created, and a class book can be made for everyone to see.

    The class reads the finished booked together and discusses it.

    *** Activity #4: Habitats of the World ***

    This third activity is intended to take place as a culminating activity during a unit about animal habitats. It can also be used as an evaluation once different animals and their habitats have been discussed.

    As a whole group, the class reviews different habitats of the world by calling on students one by one to choose pictures or photos of animals from a bag. The class discusses on which continent and in which habitat that animal can live. The student who chose the animal then tapes it on the map. The teacher continues to call on students until the map includes animals from many different habitats.

    Task setup:
    Depending on time constraints and the amount of open space in the classroom, there are two ways to complete and assess this activity. If enough open space is available, use chalk to draw an outline of the continents on the floor prior to beginning the lesson and have the class identify where each continent is located in the room before the students begin the activity.

    If space is limited, make a class mural where the students can attached the props they make to the correct continent.

    The students are divided into five groups representing different habitats of the world (rain forest, desert, tundra, savanna, and forest). They are asked to work together to create the natural environment (fauna) found in their habitat. Students can either previously be asked to bring materials from home to help recreate the environment their group is to work on or they can be provided with materials to use from the teacher. They are provided with animal props to include in their habitat.

    During task:
    Students work in their groups to create their habitats. Once they have finished making their props, they need to correctly place what they have made on the correct continent drawn on the floor. They may play cooperatively with what they have created until other groups have finished. Another possibility is to have students rotate between each group in order to interact with other habitats on other continents. If the class makes a mural, the students can attach the props they make to the correct continent as they finish working.

    Each group is asked to describe their creation with the rest of the class as a way to review the animals and their habitats.


    Informal assessment occurs throughout each activity.

    During activity #1:Students are assessed on their understanding and ability to finish the assignment successfully as they show the teacher their maps of the continents. The teacher takes note when a student is unable to recall the names of the continents and correctly place seven continents on their map. Assessment also takes place during the post-task when students are sharing their maps with the class and pointing to the continents on the map. This activity also gives the teacher an opportunity to assess the child's fine motor skills for cutting and writing.

    During activity #2:Students are informally assessed on their ability to ask and answer questions regarding which habitats are located on which continents, and where various animals live.

    During activity #3:Students are assessed on their ability to use the mouse with ease to create their favorite animal. They are also assessed on their ability to copy or write the words needed to complete the assignment.

    Activity #3: This creative task gives students the understanding that animals are unique to their continents. They are assessed on their ability to follow directions in a group and successfully create a habitat where their animals can live. Assessment also takes place during the post-task when groups are sharing their habitats with the class.

    References and Resources:

    Carrero, David and Fermin Bernaus. "Animales Salvajes" and (October 11, 1999)
    These sites have large photos and information in Spanish about animals around the world. These photos can be used during activity #3. The written Spanish is advanced.

    CD-ROM: The San Diego Zoo Presents the Animals! 1992-1993
    This CD takes a tour of the San Diego Zoo and includes lots of information about the animals that are found there. It also explains the 10 different biomes or environments in the world in kid's terms.

    CD-ROM: Kid Pix Studio Deluxe by Broderbund 1998.

    "México Para Niños: El Balero y Sus Amigos" (June 27, 2000)
    This is an excellent site for children including most aspects of Mexico. Most importantly, it includes a section on Mexico's regions and their animals that inhabit those regions.

    "Zoo Aquarium Madrid" (June 27, 2000)
    This site also includes information and photos of animals and their different habitats.


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