This lesson is based on Topic E: Animal Life Cycles of the Alberta Science (Elementary) Curriculum from 1996. The lesson is designed to fulfill the General Learner Expectations 3-10 and 3-11:

3-10 - Describe the appearances and life cycles of some common animals, and identify their adaptations to different environments.

3-11 - Identify requirements for animal care.

In addition, students will learn how to critically evaluate the usefulness of an item or product. By understanding the natural history of hamsters, they will be able to make informed decisions on the best ways in which to care for a pet hamster, and how to meet a wide variety of needs, including dietary, social, psychological and environmental ones.

Specific Learner Expectations

Students will:

1. Classify an animal, based on observable characteristics; e.g., limbs, teeth, body covering, overall shape, backbone.

2. Describe the growth and development of one living animal, as the animal develops from early to more advanced stages.

3. Identify the food needs of one animal and describe changes in how that animal obtains food through different stages of its life.

4. Demonstrate awareness that parental care is characteristic of some animals and not of others, and identify examples of different forms of parental care.

5. Demonstrate awareness that animals require different habitats in order to meet their basic needs of food, water, shelter and space.

6. Recognize adaptations of a young animal to its environment, and identify changes in its relationship to its environment as it goes through life.

7. Demonstrate knowledge of the needs of the animal studied, and demonstrate skills for its care.