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Lesson Plan #: AELP-ANM0203

Source: School Library Media Activities Monthly, (6:7, March 1990)

Grade Levels: 2, 3


  • Science/Animals
  • Information Literacy/Research Skills

Library Media Skills Objectives:
The student will use encyclopedias to locate information about marsupials.
The student will use periodical indexes and articles to locate information about marsupials. Curriculum (subject area) Objectives:
This activity may be used in connection with a science unit on animals.


Periodical Indexes such as Children’s Magazine Guide
Periodicals such as Ranger Rick, Nature, etc.

Instructional Roles:
With the help of the classroom teacher, the library media specialist may use this activity during one or two sessions.

Activity and Procedures for Completion :
The library media specialist may begin this session by using a large map of the world displayed on the bulletin board and entitled, Where Are the Marsupials? Students may discuss the word and talk about what they know about marsupials.

The library media specialist may explain that a first source for finding any kind of information is a dictionary or encyclopedia. In this case, the students want more than a definition, so they must turn to an encyclopedia. The library media specialist may show the students how to find the term in an encyclopedia. The outline of the article may be shared with the students and they can talk about individual animals of the species.

The library media specialist may explain that the students will may help identify geographical areas where various kinds of marsupials live. The students will use encyclopedias, atlases, and periodical articles to finish the display.

The students may be divided into small groups of three to five. The first step in the process is the identification of various kinds of marsupials. Each small group may use an encyclopedia to identify marsupials, and a composite class list may be recorded:

Caenolestes (South American rat opossums)
Feathertail glider
Honey possum
Gray kangaroo
Red kangaroo
Tree kangaroo
Marsupial cat or dasyures
Marsupial mole
Marsupial mouse
Marsupial rat
Opossum (about 65 species)
Common opossum
Water opossum
Ring tailed possum
Tasmanian devil

From the list, students may choose two or three animals which they would like to research. The library media specialist may explain that the purpose of the research is to identify the geographical habitat of the animal and to locate periodical articles and pictures. Once located, the articles will be opened and displayed with the bulletin board map. Markers will be placed on the bulletin board map to indicate the geographical habitat of the animal, and yarn may be use to attach the opened article about the animal to the corresponding markers on the map.

After the students have selected animals for research, they may first use an encyclopedia to find initial information about the animals. The library media specialist may introduce the students to the use of periodical indexes such as Children’s Magazine Guide, showing the students how the index is arranged and using an enlarged sample entry. A sample is usually included in the back of the issue, How to Read Children’s Magazine Guide. Each part of the entry may be explained.

The library media specialist may explain that the students must use each individual monthly index, even though not every index will contain an appropriate reference. Search terms may be identified (i.e., the term MARSUPIAL or the name of the specific animal). An example may be shown (e.g., the entry for WOMBAT in the March, 1989 index). The students may be shown the procedure for finding the article after they find a citation.

The students may work in groups, locate the encyclopedia article to identify the geographical habitat of the selected animal, use Children’s Magazine Guide, and locate an article related to the animal. The marker with the animal name may be place on the map and the article may be displayed.

Evaluation :
The student will use an encyclopedia and periodical index to locate information about marsupials.

The students may:


  • Locate additional articles for display.
  • Extend the study of marsupials to learn about the life cycles and habits of members of the species.

These integrated lesson plans and suggestions for teaching library and information skills in connection with various classroom subject areas are provided by LMS Associates and were originally published in School Library Media Activities Monthly. Lessons may be used for the non-commercial purpose of education. All materials are held in copyright by LMS Associates for the magazine, School Library Media Activities Monthly. For more information, contact, LMS Associates; 17 E. Henrietta Street; Baltimore, MD 21230 410-685-8621.