Animal characteristics - legs, bones and how they move

Sort animals by whether they have bones and/or legs into a Venn diagram, and how they move in each case.
Science content
Biology: Features, Adaptations of Living Things (K, 1, 3, 7)
Biology: Sensing, Organ Systems (4, 5, 6)
  • petri dishes, 5 per student pair
  • pond water/water with chlorine dissipated, for worms and wood bugs in dishes
  • tissue cut out for wood bug dishes
  • worms, one per student pair
  • wood bugs, one per student pair
  • picture of a horse, one per pair
  • picture of a person, one per pair
  • picture of a snake, one per pair
  • string loops, one of each colour per pair, each labelled with legs/bones

Make a circle with the brown string.
Put all the animals that have legs inside the circle, and those that don’t outside.

Now make a new circle with the white string.
Move all the animals that have bones inside the circle, and those that don’t outside.

Now take all the animals out and arrange the circles so that they are overlapping. Animals that have both legs and bones in here, so it is in both. A person would go in here. Animals that have legs but no bones go in here. Animals that have bones but no legs go in here. Animals that have neither bones nor legs stay outside both the strings.
This is called a Venn diagram and is a way to show which characteristics are shared, so how things are similiar and different.

(We could add a third circle - maybe whether they have eyes or not.)

Even though some animals have legs and some don’t they can all move. They move using their muscles. For the animals that have bones, the muscles work by pulling on the bones.
Look closely at each of the animals to see how they move with and without legs or bones.
When scientists want to learn more about something, the first thing they will do is to look at it carefully.

Wood bug: legs, no bones. Muscles lift legs up one at a time and push the ground.
Worm: no legs, no bones. Muscles contract and expand to make the worm stretch. Bristles.
Snake: no legs, bones. Muscles attached to the bones bend the body and grip the surface.
Person: muscles connect to the bones. When the muscles contract the leg lifts up.
Use your muscles, bones and legs to move to the window and look at the horses.
Horse: legs and bones, like us, but they have 4 legs.

Grades taught
Gr 1
Gr 2
Teaching site
Horse riding stables, Richmond