Resource Type
Completion Time
About 1 period
Elementary and Up
Download and Share
Robyn Sweet
Related Members
Photo cards of animals (download complete lesson to view)
List of lengths of animals (download complete lesson to view)
Surveyor’s Tape measure or measuring tape (at least 50ft)
Masking Tape/ Marker
For younger students- stuffed animals
Tools and Methods
Organisms and Their Environments
Structure and Function


This lesson is intended to have the students think about the animals of the Arctic and which ones they think are the largest. This will help with misconceptions of some animals being smaller than they think and you sneak in the scientific method and measuring skills while doing this lesson. Students will love actively participating and comparing themselves to see where they measure up.


  • Students will be able to organize Arctic animals from the smallest to largest in length.
  • Students will understand the basics of inches and feet.
  • Students will learn to use tools (measuring tape) for scientific exploration.


Be sure to have made enough sets of the animal cards to have enough for each group based on your class size (Hint: printout as a handout for smaller sizes). For the preK-K, print out one set of the slides, so the entire class can put them in order on the board or hung on a wall.

Prior to the lesson, a good introduction to Arctic animals would be to watch a video or have a few books on the Arctic to read to your class. Students should have also been introduced to a lesson on measuring in inches and feet.


  1. Divide the class into groups based on how many sets of animal photos you have.
  2. Have them try to put them in a row from smallest to largest. For older students, have them write down guesses of how long they think each animal is onto a piece of paper.
  3. Choose a large location or move desks to one side of the classroom to begin to do the true measurements for each animal. Outside is also a great option.
  4. If you have enough measuring tapes, each group can begin to make measurements of the animals and also record each member's length. If not letting each group do their own measurements, have each mark a few of the animal's lengths will work. Be sure to have them write the name of the animal or classmate on the masking tape and place it at the right location.
  5. Be sure to have a discussion about what they thought was the longest and what animal really was the longest. Compare/Contrast similar animals and also where each of them measured up among their classmates.


An extension for an older group would be to take the measurements of each classmate's height and make a graph. This would reinforce graphing and math skills. Students could also search for the lengths of other animals and compare or choose a new biome and compare its animals with the Arctic's.


Student understanding can be seen through the activity of the lesson. A great follow-up would be a quiz on measuring. Older students could make their own graphs of their results and younger students could return to the classroom and correct their original hypothesis of the sequence of animals from smallest to largest.


Lesson by Robyn Staup Sweet. Please contact at rsweet [at]


K-4 5-8 Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry: Content Standard C: Life Science: a. Abilities b. Understandings a. Characteristics of organisms c. Organisms and environments Content Standard A: Science As Inquiry: Content Standard C: Life Science: a. Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry b. Understandings about scientific inquiry a. Structure and function in living systems e. Diversity and adaptations of organisms

Standards Other


Attachment Size
Download Lesson (PDF - 492.6 KB)492.63 KB 492.63 KB