"How Scientific"

Becoming a Mammal Expert

Created by: Julie Young
Irvine Unified School District


I am an endangered mammal who lives in the rain forest

, but since I live in the zoo my expected life span is about 37 years.  Not all gorillas like me live here in the zoo with me.  Most of them live in Zaire, Rwanda, and Uganda. Four to thirty gorillas live together in troops.  They build nests on the ground or up in trees. They like to eat leaves, shoots, and buds.  Well, enough about me. 

I am really excited about our time together.  Before we get started, make sure you grab paper, a pencil, and a positive attitude.

Are you ready? 

Put on your safari hat 

and let the adventure begin!!!

First, there is someone special that I would like you to meet.  Her name is Zany Zoologist.  She is absolutely crazy about working with animals.  She especially likes working with mammals.

Hi Zany, how are you today?

Great!  I'm so glad that you have come by today, Gus.

Zany, can I ask you a question?

Well of course, anytime!

How many species of mammals are there in the world?

Oh Gus, there are too many for us to count today, but you are a mammal.

I know that Zany, but I have already told our visiting zoologists about me.

Do you have a couple of minutes, Gus?

Sure, I always have time for you Zany.

Well then, let's go meet a couple more mammals.

Are you ready zoologists?

Let's go!

Our first stop.

This is my friend Common Zebra. 

He normally lives in Eastern and Southern Africa in the subdesert, arid, bushed grasslands.  Zebras like him live in herds.  They eat grasses.

Wow, he is cool.  Are we going to meet any of your other friends?
How about one more and then I will let you do some discovery on your own.
Sounds great.  Thanks, Zany.

Come with me.

This is my friend Red Kangaroo. 

 If you look closely, you can see her joey in her pouch.  Female kangaroos are grey and males are reddish brown.  They live in New South Wales, Queensland on the inland plains.  They love to eat grasses and leaves.

Well zoologists, I happen to have 4 other very special mammals close by.  I would love for you to take the time to get to know them.  Why don't you take a look below and choose one of the mammals to study closer.  Have your paper nearby so you can jot down the facts you learn.  When you are done you will be the expert for that mammal.  Have fun!!!

Have fun, zoologists!!!

Bear Sounds

Elephant Info

Tiger Info

Whales Sounds

I hope you learned a lot of new information that you can now share with your friends.  If you would like a picture of your mammal, click below.

Bear printout
Elephant printout
Tiger printout
Whale connect-the-dots

For some unbelievable mammal facts, click on the slide show below.

Interesting Mammal Facts Slide Show

I think you might also like to visit these sites sometime too.  Create your own adventure!

I have enjoyed our time together and hope you have too.  Please visit me again soon.

A special thanks to the Smithsonian Institution.

A Few Internet Resources:


Created August 18, 2000
Last Revised August 5, 2002

Teacher Notes

Suggested Grade Level: 1-3

Grade 1 - Life Sciences and Investigation & Experimentation

2.  Animals meet their needs in different ways.

 a. different animals inhabit different kinds of environments and have external features that help them thrive in  different places     

 b. animals need water and food

 c. animals eat plants or other animals for food and may also use plants or even other animals for shelter and nesting.

4.  Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations.

     a. draw pictures that portray some features of the thing being described.

     b. record observations and data with pictures, numbers, and/or written statements.

Grade 2-

S.C.O.R.E. Lessons Standards Search by Grade and Subject
S.C.O.R.E. Standards and Framework
California Content Standards Grades K-12
California Content Standards Grades K-12 - Science - PDF Format


Students need to have some experience working with the internet.  A great resource for how to teach children the basics of the internet is at


Basic computer literacy & internet knowledge.


There are a number of ways that a student's understanding of their learning can be assessed. 
The mammal discovery sheet
An oral report given by the mammal expert
Students can draw their mammal on the computer or paper.  Then they can write about their mammal.


Have students explore an additional mammal.
Have students explore the additional sites provided on the student page.
The students can share their knowledge of their mammal with their peers as "experts."