How Do Animals Move?

Michele Beitel
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Activity , Animation/Movie , Game , Informative Text , Lesson/Lesson Plan , Music
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be "fully aligned," the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



This 5E lesson addresses animal structures and how these structures function to help the animal survive. The Big Idea: RUN! JUMP! SLITHER! Let's move like animals and learn how to survive in nature!

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

1-LS1-1 Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.

Clarification Statement: Examples of human problems that can be solved by mimicking plant or animal solutions could include designing clothing or equipment to protect bicyclists by mimicking turtle shells, acorn shells, and animal scales; stabilizing structures by mimicking animal tails and roots on plants; keeping out intruders by mimicking thorns on branches and animal quills; and, detecting intruders by mimicking eyes and ears.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The teacher will need to access their students' prior knowledge about instinctive behaviors and reflexes before they begin this lesson. Students are using pictures, plastic animals, and videos to learn about animal structures (parts) that help them survive. Providing some text with information appropriate for first grade would also be helpful. A teacher-created assessment for the end of the lesson should include students designing an animal with structures that would help it survive. This could be done by drawing the animal and describing its structure and function in a science journal.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Student journals should be shared with the whole class. The teacher might want to use an online format such as Padlet or a document sharing site.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The focus in the lesson is on animal structures (parts) that help an animal to move and survive. Students write and draw in their science journals. An extension could be having students create a 3 D example of an animal with moveable parts.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
After students have chosen three animals to describe in their explore activity, they could think of other animals or plants that have similar structures (parts) that help them survive.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This is a complete lesson with many components that integrate the three dimensions of NGSS. The lesson sequence focuses on a Crosscutting Concept to make sense of the Disciplinary Core Idea and engages the students in various Practices.

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson sequence has students experience phenomena firsthand and through media representations. It includes suggestions for how to connect instruction to the students' home by sending home the "Organisms bag". It also includes a cultural component.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Student worksheets, journals, and teacher observation and discussion are used for formative assessment.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The video is a good addition to the lesson.