What is an amphibian, and how is it different from a reptile? Which animals are mammals like you? A Wide World of Vertebrates introduces you to the amazing diversity of vertebrate animal life on our planet. In the interactive story-based lesson, Devi the Dolphin learns how her backbone allows her to do backflips. Kids learn the different features of the five vertebrate groups and practice distinguishing them. What could be more fun than reinforcing this knowledge through physical activity in Vertebrate Twister and Critter Charades? Finally, the beautifully illustrated BONES Bingo game and Mobile Vertebrate art project will delight all of those hands-on learners out there!

Mini-course is provided as a 37-page PDF including a Science Tool Kit page to collect your badges.

Prefer a printed mini-course?  A Wide World of Vertebrates is also available as a beautiful workbook here on Amazon.com.

 Course Contents

  • Story: Devi the Dolphin. Devi learns how having a backbone helps her jump. Fill in your chart along with Devi as she learns the traits of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
  • Activity 1: Mobile Vertebrate. Make a mobile of your favorite mobile animal group! Make more than one with these beautiful illustrations and add a sketch of your favorite animal as you go.
  • Activity 2: BONES Bingo. Think you can win at BONES Bingo? If so, you’ll need to understand all the neat features of fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
  • Activity 3: Vertebrate Twister. Twist, stretch, and think. Can you figure out which animal group was just called?
  • Activity 4: Critter Charades!. Can your friends and family guess which animal you are acting out? Make sure to give them a hint by making the sign of the right animal group.
  • Curiosity Connector. Use these neat online resources to explore more differences between the five vertebrate groups.
  • Tools for Your Tool Kit. See if you can answer all the questions about birds, fish, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians to earn Tools for your Science Tool Kit.
  • Glossary. Expand your vertebrate vocabulary.


Materials Needed

Scissors, string, hanger, hole punch, colored pencils, crayons, or markers, pennies, M&Ms, Cheerios, dry beans, buttons (or similar), brass fastener, glue, paper plate or cardboard, paper clip, 5 colors of chalk, timer (up to 2 minutes)


Concepts and Ideas

A Wide World of Vertebrates includes the following Disciplinary Core Ideas as described in the Next Generation Science Standards: 

Structure and Function (LS1.A).

Scientific Expert Tucker Hirsch.

Illustrations by Rachel Caauwe.