Mammals have certain characteristics that set them apart from other animals. Mammals, in contrast to fishes, amphibians, and reptiles, are warm-blooded animals, as are birds. The skin of most mammals is more or less hairy, in contrast to the scale-covered fish and the feathered birds. The young of most mammals are born alive, whereas the young of birds, fish, amphibians, and some species of reptiles hatch from eggs. After birth young mammals breathe by lungs rather than by gills as do the fish; for a time they are nourished with milk produced by the mother.
Great variations exist in the mammal group. Some of the typical animals in the mammal group which illustrate these variations are opossum, armadillo, whale, deer, buffalo, rabbit, mouse, woodchuck, mole, bat, bear, horse, cat, dog, and man.
Man has always depended a great deal on the lower mammal forms; he uses them for food, clothing, transportation, and numerous other purposes. Many forms are domesticated and have served as man’s obedient servants for many centuries. Some of the so-called game animals have suffered wanton destruction at the hands of “civilized man,” but in more recent years many laws and regulations have been passed to give these animals more chances to live. Even more stringent laws are needed and rigid enforcement must be exacted if wild animals in general are to be expected to increase in number. – Handbook Of Nature Study page 214
When most children think of animals they think of mammals. They picture furry creatures such as dogs, cats, and bunnies. They might, also, think of mammals found on the farm such as cows, horses, and pigs. People in general are drawn to warm, fuzzy mammals more often than the scaly snakes or crawling insects.
Studying mammals is a great way to teach children about God’s creation. Let them study the variations, the similarities, the habitats, and the interactions of mammals with other animals and their environments. This will help them develop an appreciation of nature and how it was created.
List And Categorize
Have your children make a list of all the mammals they can think of. When they are done, have them place each in a category according to where the mammal is found: pets, farms, in the wild. You might even want to go further and add continents as categories. Keep in mind that some mammals might belong in more than one category.
Study mammal tracks by getting an animal track field guide. Find the mammals that are native to where you live and then head out to their habitat to find their tracks. You and your kids can also draw animal tracks from a guide, or draw ones you find and create your own mammal track resource.
Field Trip To The Zoo
Head out to the local zoo or wildlife center. Keep a list and take a picture of all the mammals you see. Make a “mammals of the zoo” book. Record something interesting about each one.
Have your child choose a favorite mammal to write a report about. Use books, the internet, field trips, and videos as resource materials. The report can be a basic written report, power point, a multi-media presentation, play, or any other creative way to show what your child knows. You can use this free animal report printable as a guide.
Think about different habitats – forest, grasslands, underground, water, etc. List mammals found in those habitats. Create a model of one or more of those habitats. Get creative and make it come alive!
Research an endangered mammal. Where does it live? Why is it endangered? What can be done to save this animal?
Mammal Study Vocabulary Words:
Mammal – warm-blooded vertebrates that usually have hair and nourish their young with milk secreted from mammary glands
Habitat – the natural environment where a species lives
Endangered - A plant or animal species existing in such small numbers that it is in danger of becoming extinct
Vertebrate –animal with a backbone
Herbivore – animal that eats only plants
Omnivore – animal that eats plants and other animals
Carnivore – animal that eats other animals
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