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Verterbrate Classification
Goal: To Learn the different broad categories of Vertebrates, e.g., fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and Mammals.
Grade Level: 2-3
Author: JungleWalk

You can use the information here to dilineate the differences between the various kinds of vertebrates


Fishes are vertebrates, they
  • have backbones and streamlined bodies;
  • they live in water;
  • they lay eggs and don’t give birth to babies like mammals;
  • they have fins that help them to swim;
  • they have gills that help them to breathe under water.

Show pictures of different kinds of fishes and explain their different body parts. Note that some kinds fishes, e.g., sharks and rays, do not have any bones at all, only cartilage.

View Slide Show

  • Watch a video of migrating hammerhead sharks

  • are vertebrates (they have a backbone)
  • they live in water and land;
  • their babies hatch out of eggs;
  • they are cold blooded animals, so the body temperature varies with the climate.

Show pictures of frogs, toads, and salamanders. Salamanders are group of amphibians that have tails. Some of them live on trees and some of them spend most of their lives in water. Watch the video of a marbled salamander (University of Georgia)

View Slide Show

  • Marbled Salamander (University of Georgia)
  • Frog croaking in water

Spotted Salamander


  • are cold blooded vertebrates, i.e., their body temperatures vary with environment;
  • mostly live on land;
  • babies hatch out of eggs;
  • have scaly skin;

View Slide Show

  • Coral Snake
  • Sea Snake
  • Tortoise Walking
  • Observe the tortoise gait
  • Alligator Walking
  • Alligators yawn like humans too!

  • are the only animals that have feathers
  • have wings that help them to fly, although not all birds fly
  • are warm Blooded, so body temperatures remain even
  • lay hard shelled eggs
  • parents stay with young for a while to help them survive
  • have hollow bones to keep them light for flight
Just like human beings birds live in different areas and show different preferences, there are:

View Slide Show

Bald Eagle


Cape Fur Seal
The common features of Mammals:
  • give birth to little ones;
  • babies grow inside the mothers until they are born;
  • have fur or hair on their body;
  • can live on land or in water;
  • they can be active in the day(diurnal) or at night (nocturnal)

Please continue with the next plan on mammals for more information.

Netrikon Designs, Inc., 2002-5