Elephants and Their Young
Science and Math Activities for Young
Written by Jean C. Echols,
Jaine Kopp, and
Ellen Blinderman, with Kimi Hosoume
Elephants loom large in children's imaginationsand
for good reason! This fascination makes the educational experiences
in this book especially exciting. Children actively learn about
the African elephant's body structure, family life, and social
In a series of lively activities, children
make model elephants out of paper and cardboard, then devise
elephant puppets with sock-trunks. They create models of elephant's
ears, trunks, and tusks; make elephant sounds; and sing the
"Elephant Song." As they role-play, using their "trunks,"
foraging for food, and searching for water, the children gain
insight into how elephants live in the wild. They are also introduced
to the concept of conservation and encouraged to think about
commercial alternatives to ivory.
Mathematics is strongly integrated throughout the "main
trunk" of this unit, as the children compare themselves
to baby elephants in body size, foot size, and weight. Students
absorb basic physical-science concepts as they weigh objects
and explore several water-related activities. These activities
are an excellent way to introduce science and math concepts
to young children, building a strong foundation for future learning.
This book is filled with posters and reproducible graphics,
and, like all GEMS guides, includes connections to pertinent
children's literature and selected resources for students and
This guide was developed by the PEACHES program, a curriculum development and training program
for teachers and parents of children in preschool through first
grade. Other GEMS/PEACHES guides include Ladybugs,
Tree Homes, Eggs
Eggs Everywhere, Penguins
and Their Young, Mother
Opossum and Her Babies, and Ant
Homes Under the Ground.
Praise for Elephants
and Their Young:
"This book is a great way to incorporate mathematics and
language arts while teaching science concepts of life cycles
or communities. The book includes extensive background information
about elephants that can be shared with the children, songs
and games, suggestions for assessment, additional resources
(including websites), and a list of childrenís books about elephants.
This is a book that a teacher can use for many days and still
find more to do."
National Science Teachers Association Recommends
Comment on this GEMS unit.
What materials are needed to present this unit? See the full list.