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Name that Animal

Three of the original ART-I-SAN "My Namibian Friend" dolls: Makena Mongoose, Lele Lion and Gili Giraffe.

This lesson plan engages students to illustrate the vast diversity of adaptations that animals use for survival, delineating how and why form fits function.


To show how animals are adapted to their environments and lifestyles


  • Slips of paper with animal traits
  • Bags or bowls
  • Paper
  • Crayons, colored pencils, or markers


  1. Beforehand, choose three or four different categories of animal characteristics and designate a bag or bowl for each. Possible categories include habitat (e.g., forest, ocean, desert, grassland, tundra, jungle); how it moves (e.g., gallop, swim, fly, walk, climb); type of skin (e.g., slimy, feathers, exoskeleton, fur, scales); how it protects itself (e.g., teeth, venom, shell, camouflage, ability to escape, making noise); how people use it (e.g., food, pet, hunting, skin, as enjoyment, as a symbol); and/or how it gets food (e.g., dig, hunt, decompose, lure, depend on humans).
  2. Write the different traits of each category on small slips of paper, and place them in the appropriate bags or bowls.
  3. Begin the activity by introducing and explaining the idea that animals have developed different physical traits to adapt to different lifestyles and environmental conditions.
  4. Ask the kids to take one slip from each category and draw an animal that features all of them. This animal may be real or imaginary—even silly. In addition to drawing and coloring their new animals, the kids should label the special traits of their animal and give it a name.

This lesson plan is an activity from the Environmental Activities for Youth Clubs and Camps, a resource developed by the Peace Corps Office of Overseas Programming and Training (OPATS). It was contributed by Peace Corps/Mexico.