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        3-5, 13+

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        Part of WGBH
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        Animal Mouth Structures

        In this lesson, students observe several animals' mouth structures and explore how these structures help the animal obtain, handle, and eat food.

        Lesson Summary


        In this lesson, students gather evidence to understand features that enable them to meet their needs. In particular, they examine the mouth structures of different animals to help them understand how animals are adapted to obtain food in their environment.


        • Understand that living things have features that enable them to meet their needs
        • Understand that specialized mouth structures enable animals to eat certain types of foods

        Grade Level: 3-5

        Suggested Time

        • Two 30- to 40-minute blocks

        Multimedia Resources

        The Lesson

        Part I

        1. Animals have specialized mouth structures that help them capture, handle, and eat the food available to them in their environment. Have students examine the Bird Food stills, which show different types of birds eating different types of food. Ask:

        • How do different beak shapes help birds eat different kinds of food?

        2. In pairs, have students look at the Bird Beak Gallery stills and guess what type of food each bird eats. Have them draw each bird beak and record their predictions on a piece of paper, then share them with the class.

        3. Show students the Unhinged! video, which compares the mouth structures of humans and snakes. Discuss how the mouths of these organisms are specialized for eating certain types of food.

        4. Have students look at the Animal Mouths stills and consider how the mouths of these animals are specialized to catch, chew, and swallow particular foods. As students look at each picture, have them imagine what kind of food that animal eats. Tell them to look at the shape, for example, of the mouth, tongue, jaw, and teeth for clues.


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