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Species Charades

Trees Sprout Classroom Lessons Throughout the Year

Return to Wild and Wonderful Lessons About Endangered Species



  • Physical Education: Games
  • Science: Life Sciences: Animals


  • PreK
  • K-2

Brief Description

Introduce young students to the variety of endangered species with a game of charades!


Students will

  • identify endangered species.
  • mimic the behaviors of an endangered species.


Endangered species, animals, game, charades

Materials Needed

  • slips of paper with names of endangered species and/or pictures
  • container to hold papers

Lesson Plan

This activity makes a great introduction to a unit on endangered species.

Young children are often surprised to learn that their favorite animals from books and in zoos are not prevalent in the wild, the victims of environmental changes out of their control. In this activity, students become aware of the diversity of endangered species through a classic game.

Prepare a list of animals that are endangered (with or without pictures) and cut the list apart. Fold the slips of paper and put them into a container or paper bag so that students may draw from them. A few types of species that have members that are endangered include: alligator, whale, sheep, elephant, hummingbird, shark, eagle, wolf, panda, tiger, rattlesnake, grasshopper, fly, polar bear, rhino, gorilla, turtle, snail, panther, butterfly, dolphin, rabbit, frog, and iguana.

To begin this lesson, discuss the term "endangered species" and what students know about it. A simple explanation is included as part of a Web site created for the ThinkQuest competition on the page Definition of Endangered Species. What animals do your students recognize as "endangered"? What do they believe causes animals to become extinct?

Now point out that many kinds of animals your students find interesting are in danger of disappearing altogether. Tell students that they are going to pretend to be some endangered species and have their classmates try to guess what these animals are. As in the formal game of charades, students are not permitted to talk, but they may pantomime the behaviors of the animals.

If you have a large group of students, you may choose to separate the group into two teams and have individual students pantomime as their team members guess. If they cannot guess the name of the animal, the other team may try.

After the game, talk about the animals they acted out and why some of them are endangered. What animals on the endangered list surprised the students?


Teachers will observe students as they play the game of charades. Satisfactory participation includes active watching, listening, and logical and appropriate pantomiming as play progresses.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Cara Bafile

Find more great lessons for teaching about Earth Day issues on Education World's Earth Day resources page.

Click to return to this week's Lesson Planning article, Wild and Wonderful Lessons About Endangered Species.

Last updated 04/17/2017