Animal Size


Preschool to 1st grade

Engage and Assess

Small groups of participants will each receive an object. Chaperones will ask their group to describe the object using five different words or phrases, recording each description. Each small group will then share with another group how they described their object. The facilitator will use the students’ descriptions as a needs assessment to help guide the rest of the experience for the participants.


  • Weighing and measuring
  • Estimation
  • Communicating

Science Concepts / Standards

  • Math Concepts / Standards
    • K.MD.A.1 Describe and Compare Measurable Attributes
      • Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.
    • 1.MD.A.2 Measure Lengths Indirectly and by Iterating Length Units
      • Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object.
  • Early Learning Expectation
    • Observation and Inquiry: Children develop positive attitudes and gain knowledge about science through observation and active play.
    • Geometry: Children build their visual thinking skills through explorations with shape and the spaces in their classrooms and neighborhoods.


  • 45-minute experience
  • Maximum of 35 students and five adults

Participants will explore sizes, weights and lengths of animal models. They will use nonstandard units of measurement as well as comparing and contrasting similar items. Students will explore a variety of stations and journal their data and observations. Stations include: comparing their height with that of a life-sized polar bear drawing, measuring model snakes, estimating weights of replica frogs, exploring how many chicken eggs can fit in an ostrich egg and more.

Celebrating and Saving Wildlife

For the safety and well-being of our participants and animals, plush and other animal models are used to create engaging activities in lieu of using live animals. Activities increase understanding and appreciation toward wildlife and wild places while ensuring animals living at the Detroit Zoo are thriving in their habitats and social groups.

Take Action

When you head home, you can continue to use observation and nonstandard measurement. Compare the size of animals in an image to other wildlife and discover the variety of sizes that exist in one area by using Snapshot Serengeti.

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