Teaching guide

See how you can use the Jr. Animal Scientist program in your classroom.

Vocabulary and spelling lessons

Download the Jr. Animal Scientist Teaching Guide

Every article in Jr. Animal Scientist magazine has bold vocabulary words. This is done so students can learn about the word through both context and definition.

For example: “Many animal eyes have a special part called a tapetum lucidum. The tapetum lucidem helps with night vision. It is made of thick reflective cells and is beneath the retina.”

You can use these vocabulary words by having students read the articles out loud. Stop at the vocabulary words and ask students to write them down. This way, they can compile a list of new words.

Have students go online or use an encyclopedia to learn more about the words. For tapetum lucidum, students could look up which animals have a tapetum lucidum. If students work in groups, they can work together to give an oral report and share what they learned during their research.

Collect words for a spelling test or vocabulary test. Your students could use a vocabulary word in a sentence. In some cases, they could even draw it!

Zoo and farm tours!

Inspired by Jr. Animal Scientist? Take students to see animals in real life!

Some local farms welcome tour groups. Your local 4-H group could also help you identify places in your area to see and learn about animals. Zoos and aquariums often have special educational tours just for elementary and middle schools. For more information on farm and zoo tours, visit AnimalSmart.org/animaltours

Activities and observations

Jr. Animal Scientist magazine has a special “Try it!” section in every issue for teachers to use in the classroom. These activities are simple and often require no extra supplies, making them ideal for the classroom.

For example, the Jan. 2013 issue features an activity where students study how the size of the pupil changes in response to light. You can use this activity to show students how science really works. Have them practice forming hypotheses (“When I open my eye, the pupil will get smaller”). Help them record their observations (“When I looked in the mirror, I saw my pupil get smaller very quickly”). Did students observe different things? Why? Why not?

These are the kinds of activities that students will want to take home and share with their parents and siblings!

"Farm to fork" tracking!

Many animal scientists study food products like meat, milk and eggs. Your students can do this too. Ask students about their favorite foods. Do they like pizza?

You could use the Nov. 2012 issue of Jr. Animal Scientist to learn how dairy cows make the milk for cheese pizza. And the Jan. 2013 issue shows how research is important for making hamburger meat and spaghetti meatballs.

Applying science to food production shows students how animal science is important in everyday life. It also shows that animal scientists have many different careers. Some animal scientists work with animal-based foods, some become veterinarians and some even become science teachers!

Web resources

The content in Jr. Animal Scientist magazine is designed to complement the Jr. Animal Scientist program e-newsletter and the resources on AnimalSmart.org. Check your inbox at the beginning of every month for the email containing new articles, activities and even contests. Explore the AnimalSmart.org Kids’ Zone with your students!

Not a member of the program? Go to AnimalSmart.org/JrAS to sign up and begin sharing animal science with your students.