Cultures, Critters, and Communities Curriculum Unit

Lesson 4: All Animals Matter

North Carolina Essential Standards

K.C&G.1.2 Explain why citizens obey rules in the classroom, school, home and neighborhood.

1.L.1 Understand characteristics of various environments and behaviors of humans that enable plants and animals to survive.

1.E.1.3 Explain how supply and demand affects the choices families and communities make.

1.C&G.1.1 Explain why rules are needed in the home, school and community.

1.G.2.2 Explain how people use natural resources in the community.

2.G.2.2 Explain how people positively and negatively affect the environment.


Prerequisite Knowledge

Students should know some of the wildlife that live in South Africa and understand the demand for animal products, such as skins, hides, tusk, based on its consumer wants.


Students will be able to:

  • understand ways they can make a positive or negative difference in the lives of animals
  • explain why citizens should obey rules in society such as laws that protect animals.


  • Teacher observation, student participation in discussions, answers to written questions and Venn diagrams.



Time for Kids - Helping Elephants - Edition 2 Mammals Dec.2016/January 2017 -Vol. 7 - No. 10

Time for Kids - Protecting Elephants - Edition 2 Mammals Dec. 2016/January 2017

Grassland Greats - by Janine Scott

Africa - Amazing Animals, pp. 14-19, by Mel Friedman

Countries of the World-South Africa - Protecting Wildlife, pp. 18-25, by Virginia Mace

Giraffes by Catherine Ipcizade

Cheetahs by Deborah Nuzzolo

Zebras by Cathering Ipcizade

Lions by Catherine Ipcizade

Elephants by Sydnie Meltzer-Kleinhenz

Online resources:

Photographs of Samrec Penguin Rehabilitation and Education Center in Port Elizabeth, South Africa   

Photographs of Addo Elephant National Park in Port Elizabeth, South Africa 

Kidzone: African Penguins


Venn Diagram (1 copy  per student)

Large poster board (1 poster board per group of  4 students)


Prior Preparation

  • Print Penguin and Elephant note taking paper for each student (1 copy per student)


  1. Students have learned that animals are endangered because of the increased global demand for products such as hides, furs, and tusks.
  2. Animals need to be protected from poachers who kill animals to satisfy the market and demand for products.
  3. Explain that diversity exists among all species in the animal kingdom, not just humans.
  4. Today we will explore the beautiful, awe-inspiring diversity that exists among South African wildlife! Unfortunately, some animals are being negatively impacted by human behaviors. We will learn ways that all people, including children, can take action to protect the lives of animals at home and globally.

Guided Practice

  1. Read Africa - Amazing Animals.
  2. Say: All animals are an important part to our ecosystem  and despite a ban on the international trade of tusks. For example, elephants are being killed every year for their ivory tusks. However, they are not the only animals at risk.
  3. Share the Samrec Rehabilitation and Education Centre websites with students. The mission at Samrec is to rescue tired, dehydrated, and injured marine penguins that become stranded on their shores. They try to bring the penguins back to full health so they can release them back into the wild as soon as possible.
  4. Share the Addo Elephant National Park website with students also. Addo is the 3rd largest National Park in South Africa. Addo is home to the  largest population of elephants in the world, however, it also includes lions, hyenas, leopards, the endangered Cape buffalo and Black rhino, as well as zebra, jackal, warthog, meerkat, and many species of antelope. Both organizations strive to educate people about the ways they make a positive or negative impact in the lives of  animals.   
  5. Students will view Samrec Rehabilitation Center and  Addo National Park websites and discuss the reason these organizations exist.  Ask students, “Why are these organizations  important? Students will discuss the difference these organizations make and how they educate people about the positive and negative impact humans have on animals.
  6. Ask students,“Why do you think humans abuse or kill animals?” and “ Do you think there should be rules and laws  to protect animals?” “What rules and laws do we have to protect animals from being abused or killed?”  “What are the consequences for people who break these rules and laws? For example it is illegal to kill elephants for their tusks. There are also many laws pertaining to animal cruelty, animal control, laboratory animal welfare, and product testing on animals. “
  7. Students will read two passages in Time for Kids - Helping Elephants and Protecting Elephants, which are about thousands of elephants being killed  each year for their tusks and how organizations  work to protect them.
  8. Students will read  and answer questions about ways people make a positive or negative difference  in the lives of animals. Students will make a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the stories.


  1. Students will “think/pair/share” with a partner about ways they can make a positive impact on animals (e.g., donate to an organization such as Samrec or Addo, adopt a homeless animal, have your pet spayed or neutered to control the pet population, and protect the environment to avoid accidental harm to animals, etc.)
  2. Students will make a poster of the ways they can get involved and make a positive difference in the lives of animals in N.C. Click here for an example.
  3. Students will watch the “Change the World” campaign.
  4. Students will understand that everyone of us is part of this world, and so what we do, or don’t do, has an impact on the world around us.  We can ALL do small things, and ask our parents to do small things too.  


  1. An extension to this lesson is through additional research on endangered animals.
  2. Students will choose an animal on the endangered list and research the cause of its endangered status.
  3. They will take notes on the information and create a timeline of the chronological order of events that have led to the animal becoming endangered.
  4. Students may also create a poster about our class adoption of “Bubbles,” a penguin we adopted and are sponsoring while he recuperates before returning to his home in the wild. They can reflect on ways we are making a positive difference in the life of “Bubbles” and illustrate it on a diagram.