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SCIENCE: Animal Growth and Change
ARTS: Mood Music, Visual Arts

These activities are taken from the curriculum of Educating Children for Parenting, which uses the model of regular parent-infant classroom visits. The lessons are designed to be integrated into these and other existing classroom subjects. Founded in 1978, this national nonprofit organization trains educators to implement a standards-driven parenting education curriculum in Grades K-8. It has now reached over 100,000 children.

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Change Unit – Lesson #1
Level: Primary/Intermediate

Language Arts
Lesson: Interviews

Time: 3 lessons, 45 minutes each

Objective: Students will be able to identify the terms ‘past,’ ‘present’ and ‘future.’ Students will construct interview questions, gather information and summarize responses. Students will also be able to compare and contrast life style changes from the past to the present.

Standards Connections: English Language Arts #1 through #5.

Materials: A copy of the children’s book Yonder by Tony Johnston, paper and pen/pencil, Worksheet #2a.

Introduction: Read aloud Yonder. Create a story map (Worksheet #2a) which maps the family tree. Discuss changes to the family and how it grew. How did the land change as the family grew? Finally, how did the tree that was planted by the first family change?


  • Write the words ‘past,’ ‘present’ and ‘future’ on the board. Ask students to explain what these words mean. Ask how they may be connected to the story.
  • Hand out a piece of paper and fold to create three columns. Label each column with the title ‘Past’, ‘Present’ or ‘Future.’ Invite students to make observations about how the inhabitants, the tree, and the land changed with time. Record observations in the ‘Past’ and ‘Present’ columns.
  • Allow time for students to share their observations. Draw students’ attention to the ‘Future’ column. Drawing on students’ prior knowledge of community changes and progress, have students make predictions about what will happen to the community in the story Yonder.
  • Discuss predictions.
  • Identify ways in which their neighborhood and family have changed in time.

Closure: Explain to students that they will be constructing questions to conduct interviews with neighbors or older adults to determine how our community has changed over time. Allow students time to brainstorm questions on their own. Bring students together to share their ideas for questions.

Follow-Up: As a homework assignment or independent activity, have students create their own Family Tree or Family History Profile.

Extensions: Take students to visit an local nursing home to gather information about the past. Create a class newspaper to share results or encourage students to display information in table or chart

Change Unit – Lesson #3
Level: Primary

Animal Growth and Change

Time: 45 minutes

Objective: Students will be able to identi~ and describe the stages of growth in various animals. Students will create an acrostic poem choosing the letters of one of the animal names.

Standards Connections: Science Content and Performance Descriptions #2 and #8.
English Language Arts #2 and #3.

Materials: Baby pictures of students brought from home; pictures of various animal babies; pictures of various corresponding adult animals; paper and pencil/pen; several books from the How They Grow collection; Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom DeLuise.

Introduction: Invite students to bring in baby pictures of themselves. Display pictures without names and have students try to match each picture with the correct classmate. Discuss how students and their needs have changed since they were born.

Procedures: ·

  • Display pictures of several baby animals. Identify the name of each baby, i.e., foal, puppy, caterpillar, kitten, chick, cub, kid, tadpole, joey, etc.
  • Discuss how each of the animal babies displayed was born. Sort the pictures into two piles: ‘hatched’ and ‘live birth.’
  • Explain that, depending on how an animal is born, it may have different needs.
  • Display various pictures of adult animals. Have students name the animals and match the offspring to the parent.
  • Identify the term, “life cycle.” Using the book, Pig from the How They Grow collection, identify the stages in a pig’s life until the cycle begins again.

Closure: Divide students into groups, giving each group another book from the series. Allow time for the groups to look at the pictures and discuss the stages of growth of their animal. Call on each group to stand and show their book, explaining how the animal changes as it grows.

Follow-Up: Take a closer look at the life cycle of a buttertly and frog. Create a mix and match puzzle of the stages of life to reinforce the concept of "life cycle". Read Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom DeLuis.

Extensions: Read the books, Chickens Aren’t The Only Ones and Animals Born Alive And Well. Create a Venn Diagram comparing animals from both books and the way in which they are born.

Change Unit – Lesson #6
Level: Primary/Intermediate

Mood Music

Time: 45 minutes

Objective: Students will listen to a variety of music and evaluate the mood the music induces. Students will illustrate each selection using various art mediums. Students will observe the effect different selections have on the baby visitor.

Standards Connections: Science Content and Performance Descriptions #4, #5 and #8.

Materials: Recordings of various types of music; crayons, chalk, paint, markers, and paper.

Introduction: Allow students to stand in their places. Play a Sousa march and ask students to show through their movements how the song makes them feel. Then play a selection from “The Nutcracker.” Again, ask students to move the music expressing how it makes them feel. Tell students to take their seats and explain in words what the music inspired.


  • Ask students to explain what attributes make the music express happiness, joy or sadness. Students should identify the speed, the loudness or softness, and the beat.
  • Identify and define the terms tempo, crescendo, and rhythm.
  • Distribute paper and various coloring tools. Invite students to listen again while different music elections are played. As they listen, ask students to create a picture to represent the music they hear.
  • At the conclusion of each selection, ask several students to share their illustrations.
  • Note the use of color and the subject chosen for each illustration. Ask students to comment on why they made the choices they did.

Closure: Ask students to consider why certain types of music are used for certain occasions. Have students choose selections to be included on a tape for the visiting baby. Include music for play, sleep and bath. Play the tape at the next baby visit and record observations.

Follow-Up: Have students choose a favorite song and change the words to send a message to someone celebrating a special occasion. Create a greeting card to accompany the song.

Extensions: Research various composers from various time periods. Identify the purpose of given selections and the audiences for which they were written. Discuss the moods created by certain pieces and the choice of instrument to enhance the mood.

Change Unit – Lesson #7
Level: Primary

Visual Art

Time: 45 minutes

Objective: Students will create (with a partner) outlines of themselves. Students will describe themselves within the outline and cut and paste pictures of things they enjoy outside the outline. Students will compare the size and measurements of their own outline to a previously made outline of the visiting baby

Standards Connections: Science Content and Performance Descriptions #2.
Mathematics Content and Performance Descriptions #2 and #7.
English Language Arts #2, #3 and #5.

Materials: Magazines, scissors, glue, large sheets of paper, pencils or markers, tape measures, crayons, and the Book Rainbow Crow by Nancy Van Laan.

Introduction: Call eight students to the front of the room. Separate them into two groups so that each member of each group has something in common with the other members of their group. Ask students to identify what is the common link in each group. Discuss the similarities and differences between all people.


  • Distribute magazines. Ask students to look through the magazine for pictures of “favorites:” favorite foods, favorite activities, or anything that represents an interest they may have. Cut out between 10-15 pictures. Students may need to look in several magazines.
  • Ask students to separate there collection of pictures into categories, such as, food, clothing, activities, etc. Encourage students to share their pictures and find others who share the same tastes.
  • Next, allow students to work in pairs. Distribute large sheets of paper, pencils or markers to each child (Students might need to attach two sheets of paper if the teacher wants a full outline).
  • Have students take turns drawing each other's outline.
  • Once each partner’s image is complete, have students write words and phrases that describe their personality and emotions. On the outside of the drawing, student should paste the pictures which represent their outward selves.

Closure: Have students compare their outlines to the previously made outline of the class's visiting baby. Distribute tape measures and allow students time to measure body length and arm and leg length on both outlines to make comparisons.

Follow-Up: Read the book Rainbow Crow by Nancy Van Laan. As a journal assignment, discuss Crow’s appearance at the beginning of the story and at the end. Discuss Crow’s personality and his sacrifice. Ask students to determine what was more important, they way Crow looked on the outside or they way he was on the inside?

Extensions: Look at outlines of various shapes. Determine if the shapes are symmetrical. Find the lines of symmetry.

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