Vertebrates and Invertebrates Animals

Lesson Plan of Vertebrates and Invertebrates Animals

 Vertebrates and Invertebrates Animals

Students` Learning Outcomes

  • After studying this lesson, students will be able to:
  • Differentiate between vertebrates and invertebrates according to key characteristics.
  • Classify vertebrates into mammals, reptiles, fish, birds and amphibians on the basis of their characteristics.
  • Identify key characteristics of worms and insects.

Science Process Skills

Observing, Classifying, Communicating, Inferring, Predicting

Information for Teachers

  • Animals can be classified into two large groups: vertebrates, which have backbones, like humans; or invertebrates, which do not have a backbone

Vertebrates and Invertebrates Animals


Vertebrates have an internal skeleton made up of bones;
these animals are classified into five large groups, such as; Fish, Reptiles,
Amphibians, Birds and Mammals. Bodies of these animals are divided into head,
trunk, and limbs.


Within the invertebrates we find animals from the

groups; Protozoa, Echinoderms, Annelids, Mollusks, Anthropoids, Crustaceans,

Anarchids, Insects and Cetaceans. Consequently, within vertebrates we can

mention the groups: fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, marsupials,

primates and rodents.


Material / Resources

Writing board, chalk / marker, duster, flashcards of animals, textbook


  • Explain to students that scientists classify animals according to features they share and that animals can be classified in a number of different ways. For instance, they can be classified according to where they live, by what they eat, and by their body structure.



  • Show an animal skeleton or a chart to the students to give a clear understanding of the backbone of the animals.


Activity 1

  • Let the students (Class IV) that animals were divided into three groups (herbivores, carnivores and omnivores) on the basis of the food they eat. Explain that animals are also classified on the basis of structural features. The presence or absence of a backbone is one such feature.
  • Let the students recall again. They have learnt the basic parts of the human skeleton in Class IV. Let them recall the location of back bend in human beings. A chart showing the human Skeleton can be used for this learning or they can feel their own or their friend`s backbone.
  • Use the previous knowledge and introduce the terms “vertebrates” and “invertebrates” and point out that some animals have a backbone whereas other don`t.
  • Make them understand the difference between vertebrates as animals with backbones and invertebrates as animals not having backbones.
  • Use charts like the one given below to explain the idea of the presence of a backbone and its location in different vertebrates.


  • Further clarification of the classification of animals into vertebrates and invertebrates can be made by using the charts like the given below.


Activity 2

  • Ask children to name animals that they think are vertebrates and prepare a list on the board.
  • (This list should contain the names of birds, crawling animals, and other known animals like water and land animals.) if children name insects for the list refer them to previous activity where they saw through pictures, that insects don`t have backbone.


  • Now divide the class into groups and ask the groups to look at the list and see how many groups they can further classify these animals into.
  • Let the children come up with the groups and the reason for the grouping.
  • Now based on the students` presentations explain that vertebrates are further classified into five groups- Mammals, birds, fish, amphibious and reptiles.
  • Help the students to rearrange the names according to the 5 groups on the board. compare it with the lists that the groups made.

Activity 3

  • Leave the names of the animals classified into the 5 main vertebrate group on the board.
  • For each group find one or two and display them on the board with the list.
  • Ask students to observe the pictures of vertebrates very closely to find the differences.
  • Divide the class into 5 groups.
  • Give each group one of the categories into which the animals are divided and ask them to observe carefully to write down the characteristics of animals in that category.
  • Conduct an interactive session in which different students explain their observations about the distinguishing characteristics which they see in the pictures.
  • Write the observations of students on the board and then summarize the session by drawing a chart (table) on the board, showing the distinguishing characteristics of vertebrate groups.

Activity 4

  • Show pictures of some animals belonging to each category of the vertebrate group.
  • Ask children to write for each animal as;

i)                    The group in which they belong

ii)                  A characteristic of the vertebrate.

Activity 5

Project / Assignment

  • Ask the students to get pictures of different vertebrates and paste them on big chart papers. Each picture should have a caption mentioning the name of the vertebrate and the group to which it belongs i.e. fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, or mammal. The chart should be displayed in the classroom and the student with best chart should be awarded.


Activity 6

Worms and Insects (Invertebrates)

  • Introduce two important groups of invertebrates to the students. The beginning of this learning demands an interactive spell in which you should ask about their observation, particularly about the cockroach, housefly, honeybee, earthworm etc.
  • Divide students into groups and distribute the pictures of insects and worms among them.
  • Tell the students that these are two types of invertebrates. Ask them to find the major differences between the two types.
  • Ask the students groups to separate the pictures on the basis of observed differences.
  • Explain (by writing on board) the main characteristics of insect (jointed legs, wings, body shape,) and of worms (body shape, no lets etc.)
  • Use the following chart and pictures to assess what has been learnt after this activity. Students should be able to point out the insect and the worm.

Sum up / Conclusion

  • Conclude the lesson briefly to refresh the concept of vertebrates and invertebrates animals.

Vertebrates and Invertebrates Animals


  • Use the charts and assess students for the learning outcomes.

1.      Ask them to differentiate between vertebrates and invertebrates according to key characteristics.


2.      Ask them the names of major groups of vertebrates.



3.      Ask them to differentiate between these groups on the basis of their characteristics.

4.      Ask them to identify worms and insects from the shown pictures and different site between them, such questions can also be framed: “Which animal does n`t fit into each group?”

(Expected answer would be as;

1.      Vertebrates: Cat, hen, butterfly, horse, fish. 2. Invertebrates: Mosquito, Snake, Worms, House fly)

5.       Draw a table and write the characteristics of all the vertebrate groups e.g., do the same activity for the invertebrates)

Follow up

  • Students should make charts with pictures of worms and insects. The chart should be displayed in the classroom and the student with best chart should be rewarded.



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