What our Venomous Snakes lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Venomous Snakes is a high-interest reading comprehension lesson plan. As such, students will practice various close reading and comprehension skills. In addition, they will learn about these snakes’ habitat, diet, and behaviors. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. Some of the materials you could use for the activity include paper towel tubes, yarn, clay, paint, and construction paper.
The paragraph on this page provides a little more information or guidance on what to expect from the lesson. It explains that you can teach this lesson in a whole-class setting or as an independent, small-group activity. You can use the blank lines to record any thoughts or ideas you have as you prepare.
VENOMOUS SNAKES LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
What Are Venomous Snakes?
The Venomous Snakes lesson plan contains three content pages. It begins by providing a box of background information about this animal. Snakes in general live in forests, swamps, grasslands, and deserts. They are reptiles and carnivores, meaning they only eat other animals. Their life span ranges anywhere between 20 and 30 years.
Everywhere in the world, except Antarctica, you can find snakes. There are over 3,000 types of snakes, and scientists are still finding new ones. Snakes are reptiles that have long, thin bodies but no legs. And while most snakes are harmless, some are venomous and quite dangerous.
Snake habitats range from forests to deserts and woodlands to oceans. But the most significant number of snakes can be found in rainforests, most specifically the Amazon rainforest. Snakes are cold-blooded, so their body temperature varies with their environment. Snakes love to live in tropical regions because they can use the sun’s warmth to keep their body temperature warm. But not all snakes live in warm areas. Some snakes live in colder climates and stay warm by reducing their activity during the winter months.
During the winter months, snakes will hide away in holes and dens. But they do not hibernate. Instead, they enter a state of rest called brumation. Before brumation occurs, they must eat more than usual to keep themselves alive during winter, just like bears. During brumation, snakes will remain still and slow down their metabolism, or the chemical reactions that change food into energy. Some species, like timber rattlesnakes, will share a den and huddle together for warmth. Sometimes you can find as many as 100 snakes huddled together in a den!
What They Eat
There are around 700 different species of venomous snakes, and 250 species are capable of killing a human with one bite. Venomous snakes have two grooved or hollow needle-pointed teeth called fangs. These fangs connect to glands that hold the poisonous venom. When a snake bites, the muscles contract and release the venom through the ducts in their fangs. This is how they inject venom into their prey.
Snakes are carnivores, which means they only eat other animals. Which animals they eat depends on the size of the snake’s body. Small snakes eat rodents, birds, and insects while bigger snakes eat deer, pigs, and alligators or crocodiles. Some snakes have special diets, and their bodies have adapted, or changed, to eat a specific type of food. One example is the egg-eating snake. Can you guess what it eats? That’s right—eggs!
In addition, snakes have a unique way of eating. They have stretchy ligaments that allow them to open their mouths wide enough to swallow their prey whole. They never chew their food! It can take a snake anywhere from a couple days to weeks to finish the meal they catch.
Snakes’ teeth also help them eat. The teeth are curved and can be pulled back into their mouths so they don’t catch while unhinging their jaw. The larger the snake, the longer the teeth. This is so they can puncture heavier animal hides or pierce through the feathers of their prey.
Other Interesting Facts
Snakes do not have taste buds on their tongues as humans do. Instead, they have a taste sensor on the roof of their mouth. When a snake flicks out its tongue, it picks up scents in the air. And when the tongue comes back into its mouth, the sensor picks up the scents. These taste sensors are organs known as Jacobson’s organs. This is how snakes literally taste the air around them to find prey or avoid predators.
Every species of snake can swim. They swim like the letter S. This is very similar to the way they move on land. However, some snakes prefer water more than others. In fact, sea snakes spend most of their life in the water and can spend up to an hour submerged in water.
Snake venom contains neurotoxins that attack the nervous system. The most common way to treat a venomous snake bit is with antivenom. Antivenom is an antibody that can disable a particular venom’s toxins. Suppose it is injected quickly after a bite. In that case, the antibodies can neutralize the poison, meaning it could save a person’s life or limb! Each antivenom must be made for a specific type of venom. The first one ever made was in 1895 to fight against the cobra’s venom.
Why Venomous Snakes Are Important
Snakes are great for the environment because they are a natural form of pest control. Without any predators, mice would reproduce too much too fast. This would be terrible for farmers and their crops. Snakes are the perfect way to provide free, easy, and environmentally friendly pest control. Without snakes, farmers would have to use chemicals to control all the rodents, which would pollute the environment and food. Some snakes even eat other snakes! The kingsnake preys on rattlesnakes because they are immune to rattlesnake venom.
Sadly, snakes are under serious threat. Threats to snakes include habitat destruction, city development, and disease, and people kill them as well. As a result, many snake species are endangered, and some are on the brink of extinction. While you may not love snakes, we must respect their right to live on the planet with us because they play an essential role in maintaining biodiversity.
Generally speaking, any time you encounter a snake, it’s best to avoid them. Unfortunately, it’s hard to always know when a snake is venomous. Usually, snakes try to avoid humans and only become aggressive if they sense they are in danger. So never try to pick up or capture a snake. Even a non-venomous snake can deliver a nasty bite when it feels threatened!
VENOMOUS SNAKES LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Venomous Snakes lesson plan includes two worksheets: an activity worksheet and a practice worksheet. Each one will help students solidify their grasp of the material they learned throughout the lesson. You can refer to the classroom procedure guidelines to know when to hand out each worksheet.
MAKE A SNAKE ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
For the activity, students will first pick a venomous snake to research. There are questions for them to answer on the worksheet page. After they complete the questions, they can use the materials you provide to make a snake of their own.
VENOMOUS SNAKES PRACTICE WORKSHEET
The practice worksheet lists 11 questions based on the content. These questions all relate to the content pages, so students will need to refer to them often for the answers. In addition, each question provides which reading tool the question corresponds to, such as text feature, vocabulary, or comprehension.
Worksheet Answer Keys
At the end of the lesson plan document is an answer key for the practice worksheet. The correct answers are all in red to make it easier for you to compare them with students’ responses. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.