Grade Levels: 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade,
Topics: Biology (General)
Knowledge and Skills:

· Can observe and document behavior and appearance characteristics of animals

Download the Teacher Guide PDF

Procedure: This project should be done by students individually.

Distribute the handout and discuss it. Ensure that students understand the two parts of the assignment.

Students can observe their own family dogs or those of neighbors or relatives. They can also observe dogs in movies.

As another option you might bring in a video of a movie about a dog and have the class watch it (in which case all students should be writing descriptions of the same breed of animal, and these could be compared).

Tell students that their descriptive words should not only apply to the way the dog looks but also to the way the dog acts. They should have both adjectives and adverbs on their lists.

Give students a schedule for working on the assignment and a due date.

School-to-Career Connection: Ask a veterinarian to visit your class and describe his or her work.


Shady Acres Kennels
To: Dog Handlers
From: K. Walsh, president

I need your help on a new project.

As you know, different breeds of dogs have very different characteristics: size, appearance, diet needs, habits, and so on. One of the things we try to do when a customer comes to any of our kennels to pick a dog is match the dog’s characteristics to what the buyer is looking for.

This is very important, because otherwise the dogs can be abandoned or taken to the pound just because the customer didn’t really know what he or she was getting into.

Here’s my idea: we are going to create a special form that the customer can use to select the characteristics he or she wants in a dog, and then tell him or her which dogs match those characteristics.

In order to do this, we need two things for each breed:

1) A list of words that describe the breed: size, appearance, intelligence, behavior, habits, friendliness, aggressive needs, and so on. For each breed I would like to have 30 descriptive words.

2) A 200 to 300 word written description of the breed that the customer can read.

I would like each of you to choose a dog, observe it, and produce both of the two items above for that breed. (It’s fine if more than one of you picks the same breed—it will be interesting to compare the descriptions).

By the way, I do understand that different dogs, even in the same breed, can have rather different personalities. However, this form will help us narrow down to the most suitable breeds.

Thank you for your help.