American Humane Association is pleased to offer a series of informative, downloadable lesson plans designed to assist educators in incorporating current humane education topics into their everyday curricula. These materials are designed for use by classroom teachers, humane educators, home-school educators, after-school enrichment programs and more. There’s something here for children of all grades, from K–12!
Lesson plans are aligned to national education standards and also address the pillars of character, while considering the needs of a wide range of student abilities and learning styles. Our intention is to provide the educator with quality resources that will assist in supporting students’ knowledge of current, humane topics.
Grades: Pre-K-2; Ages 4-7 years
This is the first lesson plan from the American Humane KIDS™ dog-bite prevention program. This lesson is intended to not only introduce you to the KIDS™ materials, but also to provide a fun and easy way to teach children about taking an empathetic perspective toward dogs. Students are given opportunities to develop empathy by identifying what a dog needs in various situations and recognizing that dogs have feelings. The standards addressed include English/Language Arts, Science and Applied Learning. Children will identify the character pillars of respect, responsibility and kindness.
Grades K-2; Ages 5-7
In this lesson, students will learn about some of the things dogs need in order to be happy, healthy and comfortable. Children who experience such lessons may become more empathetic adults who care not only about animals, but also about each other and the environment. The standards addressed include English/Language Arts and Science, and students will experience the character pillars of responsibility, kindness and citizenship.
Grades K-2; Ages 5-7
By creating an awareness of various issues surrounding pet identification and practicing some simple steps to create ID tags, students can become more empowered to keep their own dogs -- or a dog they know -- safer. In this lesson, students will participate in a concrete method of experiencing the character pillars of responsibility, citizenship, kindness and respect. This lesson also provides a chance for students to acquire the knowledge necessary to become responsible adult pet owners. The standard that is addressed is English/Language Arts.
Grades: 2-3; Ages 7-9 years
In this lesson, students will develop their knowledge about the various types of animals living around them, not only in their own communities, but also in the rest of the world. Introducing students to research skills will help build a foundation for the ability to disseminate knowledge to others, and learning about animals may evoke more humane behaviors that will benefit animals, the environment and other humans. The standards addressed include English/Language Arts, Science and Applied Learning. Students will experience the character pillars of citizenship, respect and responsibility. This lesson includes an evaluation form to assess the students’ work.
Grades 3-5; Ages 8-10
In this lesson, students will have with the opportunity to reflect on the many factors families must consider when they think about adding a pet to their home. By considering such factors, students will engage problem-solving skills to learn about what it takes to be responsible pet owners. The standards addressed are English/Language Arts and Mathematics, and students will experience the character pillars of fairness, responsibility and citizenship.
Each unit consists of a series of lesson plans, intended to be presented as a complete unit. The time frame for each lesson plan can be modified to fit your schedule, and some lesson plans may be used in isolation depending on your needs.
Grades: 4-5; Ages 9-11 years
This unit consists of four lesson plans. Students will research information about a particular animal and then apply that information in the development of a persuasive presentation. The ultimate purpose of this lesson is to create awareness of the value and many benefits that come from the presence of animals in our lives. The standards addressed include English/Language Arts and Applied Learning. Students will experience the character pillars of kindness, citizenship and respect. Worksheets and an evaluation rubric are included.
Grades 6-9; Ages 11-14 years
This unit consists of a series of four lesson plans. Students will research the topic of pet overpopulation, interview animal care professionals and ultimately develop an infomercial to demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge. Lessons are intended to increase students’ awareness of issues concerning animal overpopulation and ways to address overpopulation, as well as assess the impact of pet overpopulation on the community and environment, and develop team-building skills. The standards addressed include English/Language Arts, Science and Applied Learning. Students will experience the character pillars of kindness, responsibility, fairness and respect. An evaluation rubric is provided to help the instructor assess the infomercial.
Grades 6-9; Ages 11-14 years
This unit consists of six lesson plans in which students research a variety of pet-related expenses, calculate those expenses for multiple time periods throughout the pet’s estimated lifetime, estimate the time commitment involved in owning a pet, and plot the data into graphs. The ultimate goal of this unit is to help students make an informed decision about whether they and their families are ready for a pet and what type of pet would be best for their lifestyle. The standards addressed include Mathematics, English/Language Arts, Science and Applied Learning. Students will experience the character pillars of responsibility and fairness. Self-evaluation and teacher evaluation tools are provided.
Grades 9–12; Ages 14-18 years
This unit consists of six lesson plans in which students will research issues that both support and oppose cosmetic testing on animals. Students are expected to identify several cosmetics companies, research forms of animal testing and alternatives to animal testing, and assess the environmental impact of various companies. Students will then present their findings in PowerPoint presentations, participate in a debate and develop avenues to share their acquired knowledge with others. The standards addressed include Mathematics, English/Language Arts, Science and Applied Learning. Students will experience the character pillars of citizenship, kindness, respect and responsibility. Resources for evaluating PowerPoint presentations and a debate evaluation rubric are included.