Cold-Blooded Vertebrates PDF


Learn about fish, amphibians, and reptiles in this unit meant for all ages from 6 to 18 to learn together. This unit is rigorous and includes opportunities for dissections, original research, and deep learning about animals.


Cold-Blooded Vertebrates is the fifth unit in the Biology course. In this unit you will learn about fish, amphibians, and reptiles. The unit is rigorous enough for high schoolers with opportunities for dissections, original research, and thinking deeply using the scientific method. But it is also gentle and fun including games, foldables, observations of animals, and kid-friendly books and videos. It is meant for all ages to learn together as a family.

This unit has sections on:

  • Fish
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles

Learning By Doing

This is an activity based curriculum, where you learn by doing. Here are a few of the activities to choose from in this unit:

  • Design a poster showing the phylum Chordata (animals with a backbone)
  • Play shark trivia golf with a shark goal you make yourself
  • Learn to draw a seahorse and then make a habitat diorama box for yours to live in
  • Color the life cycle of a trout
  • Take a trip to a pond at night to see what you can attract and study
  • Dissect a frog
  • Build a toad habitat in your garden
  • Sculpt examples of the four reptile orders out of clay
  • Make a snake anatomy mobile
  • Plus much more!

Each Layers of Learning Science unit includes library lists of books, a family read-aloud suggestion, hands-on activities, printables and paper crafts, sidebars for extra learning, and tools to help you assess student’s progress and mastery. You can learn more about how Layers of Learning works in the Curriculum Guide. You may also want to purchase the Science Guidebook for even more information on how to teach and learn with Layers of Learning Science.

See Inside

Here is a two-page spread from Cold-Blooded Vertebrates:

Cold-Blooded Vertebrates inside view

This is the middle of the unit, in the “Explorations” section. Explorations are lesson plans, most meant to take one day, or about an hour or so. The “Frog Facts Beanbag Toss” includes learning from books or videos that you select, crafting a bean bag, and then playing a game.

The sidebars line the entire unit and help you take off on tangents, learn extra information, have deep discussions, coordinate with Writer’s Workshop, or find high interest books to hand to your child.


This unit was written to be used for a month but contains plenty of content for many more weeks of learning if you choose. This is a pick-and-choose curriculum, meant to be cycled back to in the future when your child is older. As such, it intentionally includes far more material than you can possibly cover in a month.

Cold-Blooded Vertebrates is also part of the overall Biology course, the second Year of the four year Layers of Learning Science cycle. If you use the program in order, it will take you through the four branches of science from Earth & Space to Biology to Chemistry to Physics in a logical progression where skills are learned and then practiced and used. However, each unit stands alone and can be used independently of any other unit and in any order.

Printable Pack

This unit comes with a downloadable Printable Pack that includes all the student worksheets. The printables can be copied as many times as needed for your family or class.

You can download the Printable Pack from your receipt or from your account at Layers of Learning.

Cold-Blooded Vertebrates Printable Pack

Above, you see the cover and two of the Printable Pack pages. The colored fish is the answer sheet for an anatomy drawing of a fish, which is also in the Printable Pack. Next to that you see a sheet of the three types of shark reproduction where students will cut out the tags and glue them the matching image. This Printable Pack includes 28 pages.

Extra Resources

This unit comes with extra weblinks and a YouTube video playlist on the Biology Resources page.


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