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Science Projects: Animals and Zoology

This article has information and ideas for science projects involving animals and zoology for elementary students, middle school, and high school students. Consider these animal and zoology projects for your next science fair.

Science projects can assist in getting learning out of the classroom and getting the student beyond the textbook. This set of projects focuses on animals and zoology. It may be helpful to consider these projects as jumping off points that you can modify for curricular reasons of to better suit your child’s development or interests. Projects listed for one grade range can be adapted for another, or repeated with the criteria or description changed to suit the child’s new skills and understanding.

1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Grade

Tips: Practicing observation skills and using simple measuring devices are typical approaches for elementary science projects. Students may require some assistance in recording their observations and/or tracking their progress. Calendars and reminders may be helpful.

  • Go to a zoo, aquarium, garden, park, or preserve. Describe animals that you see using elements such as: hair/fur/scales/shells/feathers; arms/legs/fins/tails/wings; crawling/walking/hopping/swimming/flying/jumping/swinging; etc.
  • Pick an animal that is present in your area. Observe until you see five of them, noting for each one (as best you can) color, size, behavior, where it came from, where it went to. Compare and contrast the five.
  • Observe a given area to discover the most common wild animal (i.e., not a pet).
  • Identify the effects of day/night and seasonal changes on animals.
  • Identify changes in animal behavior in a particular location as the seasons change.
  • Investigate animals that can be used to identify different environments when they’re in their natural habitat (e.g., penguins, marsupials).
  • Make a poster to illustrate the life cycle of a several animals. Include an insect, a rodent, a marsupial, a bird, and a fish.
  • Make a matching game for animals and places or origin.
  • Make a matching game for animals and their homes or habitats.
  • Illustrate an animal’s life cycle.
  • Make a model of an animal in its natural habitat.
  • Find and categorize different types of animal camouflage.
  • Choose an animal and explain its place in the food chain.

5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade

Tips: Intermediate students may or may not require support, depending on the student and the subject being pursued.

  • Make a model showing the part of an insect.
  • Go to a zoo, aquarium, garden, park, or preserve. Identify animals that you see by categories. Categories can be chosen as appropriate, but might include: mammal/fish/bird/insect/reptile/amphibian; cold-blooded/warm-blooded; hibernating animal/estivating animal; carnivore/herbivore/omnivore; wild/domesticated; etc.
  • Use a plant you’ve found to demonstrate plant parts.
  • Compare and contrast the reproductive cycle of a turtle, a platypus, a mouse, and a fish.
  • Make models to show the similarities and differences in plant and animal cells.
  • Make up your own classification system for animals. Try it out. Compare it to the standard system and explain the benefits of each.
  • Create an illustrated guide to animal defenses, showing the various mechanisms animals use to protect or defend themselves.
  • Given the needs of various animals, compare how they get their needs met in the wild vs. in captivity or living as pets or living on a farm or ranch.

9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Grade

Tips:  For the most part, high school students, will independently manage their projects, but for long-term projects, periodic check-ins are a good idea..

  • Compare and contrast animals and plants in terms of a) their needs and b) their interactions with their environments.
  • Choose an animal that is important to people for some reason and predict the effects of its disappearance. Sample choices are chickens, cats, honey bees.
  • Write the history of an invasion or introduction of an alien animal species and its long-term effects on a particular area.
  • Explain the importance of fruit flies in experimental science.
  • Identify and research a protected animal, explaining the process that led to it needing protection and the process that led to it being protected.
  • Report on the variations in an animal species for which you have access to do thorough observations, including measurements.
  • Make a poster with illustrated examples of different animal relationships: predator/prey; symbiosis; parasitic; commensalism, and mutualism.