Objectives ZecatExpand students' knowledge of animals and develop critical thinking skills.

Engage students in the creative application of that knowledge, as information about the characteristics of animals and their habitats is used to describe imaginary creatures.

Increase students' comfort level with the Internet and develop research skills.

Overview Students will
1) Navigate through an interactive Web site to create imaginary animals by combining different parts of real animals.

2) Choose one of the combination animals, conduct research on the animals that make up the combination and write a field report.

3) Share the report with other students by printing it or adding it to a class Web page.

Materials Switch Zoo Web site ( and other sites about animals.

Word processing program to write the report and add a picture of the animal.

Web publishing program to create a page about the animal. (optional)

1) Visit Switch Zoo as a group and discuss the animals’ attributes before making any combinations. Consider factors that influence animals’ characteristics and behavior, such as biome, physical characteristics, diet, etc.

2) Direct the students to make various animal combinations and each choose one of them to be the subject of a "field report."

3) Provide a list of factors to be explored in the stories, for example:

  • What does the animal eat (is it a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore)?
  • What physical characteristics (such as trunk, long legs, etc.) influence its behavior?
  • In what environment or biome would the animal live?
  • What kinds of sounds would the animal make?

The report should include a name for the animal, and support its conclusions by providing facts about each component animal, obtained through online research.
Facts about all of the animals in Switch Zoo

4) Assist the students in putting a picture of the animal and the field report together on a page, either to be printed or published as a class Web page.

Assessment Read all of the field reports together as a group, then ask each student to choose one that they enjoyed and explain what made it interesting to them.