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Vertebrate Worksheets for Kids

Print our vertebrate worksheet for kids in upper elementary and middle school.

MatchCard Science Vertebrates Worksheet

Objective: List seven classes of vertebrates.

MatchCard: Download below.

MatchCard Information Pieces identify the seven classes of vertebrates, characteristics for each, and list several species in each class. Ideas for projects are listed on the instructor's page and below.

Print the Circulatory System MatchCard

Vertebrate  Worksheet homeschool curriculum download arrow
Click image to go to download

This is MatchCard #11 of the Zoology Unit Study. Find more information on MatchCard Science below.

Getting Started with Vertebrates

You may wish to review these topics before beginning the classes of vertebrates:

Guessing Game

Vertebrates are one of the nine animal phyla. (Teacher's Note: Technically the phylum is chordata and the sub-phylum is vertebrata. There are three uncommon classes of animals that have spinal cords but not vertebrate. At this level, we are counting vertebrates as one of the nine phylum.)

Review the major characteristic of vertebrates: they have an endoskeleton that gives shape and support to their anatomy, and allows the creature to move.

Give five minutes for your student(s) to brainstorm the seven classes of vertebrates. You might want to give a small treat for each class they listed prior to the study.

Vertebrates: Animals in the 7 Classes of Vertebrata

vertebrates and animal chart

Agnatha Vertebrates: The Jawless Vertebrates

agnatha: the jawless vertebrates

The agnatha are a class of vertebrates that have a skeleton but do not have jaws.

How would you eat without a jaw? They have to suck their food. Doesn't sound like much fun, does it?

Some common species of agnatha include:
  • Lampreys
  • Hagfish

Condrichthyes Vertebrates

Shark Skeleton

It's a bit hard to spell, but the condrichthyes have cartilage instead of bone.

You can point out the difference between cartilage and bone by feeling the cartilage in your nose and the cartilage in your ear. It is softer and more flexible.

So who has to make their way through life with a cartilage for a skeleton?
  • Sharks
  • Rays
  • Skates

Osteichthyes: The Fish Vertebrates

Fish Skeleton

This group is much larger than the previous two. You probably know osteichthyes by a much simpler name: fish.

Fish have the distinct advantage of having bones for their skeleton. You probably already know they live underwater and have fins, but if you need a little review of fish anatomy you can color our fish worksheet. Some of the most popular species of fish include:
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Catfish

Vertebrate Cartoon

Amphibians Vertebrate

frog skeleton

Quick: Do you remember the differences between amphibians and reptiles?

Amphibians live on water AND land. They also have moist skin instead of scales. Some of their more famous members include:
  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Salamanders

Reptile Vertebrate

snake skeleton

The reptiles have some of our least popular animals (for some people, anyway.) While some students - and parents - may be a bit squeamish about this class, just about everyone finds them interesting to study.
  • Snakes
  • Lizards
  • Turtles

Aves: The Bird Vertebrates

bird skeleton

Everyone knows what a bird is: it flies. Right?

Wrong. Bids, by defintion, have wings and feathers. They also have lighter bones. In spite of that, there are a few members of this class that just can't get themselves into the air.
  • Robins
  • Ostriches
  • Penguins

Mammals: The Furry Vertebrates

cougar skeleton

Now we get to the biggest and most popular class of vertbrates: the mammals. Your students may be interested in reviewing facts about mammals. A few of the families include:
  • Horses
  • Bears
  • Tigers
The scientific classification worksheet breaks the different families of mammals down further.

Vertebrate Activities for Kids

Here are some learning activities for your kids as they are studying vertebrates.

Skeletal Kits

Zoo Time

If you haven't taken a trip to a zoo or nature center during this zoology unit study, it's a great idea to start planning one. Students can take pictures and label the pictures by the phlyum, class and families.

Seven Sided Poster

Make a poster of the seven different classes of vertebrates. Make seven columns, as there are on the MatchCard, for each of the classes. In each column put pictures of different species from the class. You can add fact about the class in general, as well as identify some unique characteristics about some of the species pictured.

To make seven sided poster you will need to get a large poster board, and fold it carefully. First, fold it in half (creates two columns). Make sure the corners meet perfectly, and help the student crease the fold with a block of wood or back of a straight knife to get it perfect.

Then fold it again into fourths, and one more time into eighths. Each time use the block or knife to make perfect creases.

Now, unfold the posterboard, and continue making your poster using seven of the columns. Leave the eighth column on the end blank. This empty column will be glued to the back to help your poster display stand upright.

Once the poster is made, fold all of the creases in the same direction, and glue the eighth column to the back. Now you have a circular, seven-sided, poster on the classes of vertebrates.

Animal Booklet

Some of the vertebrates may be new and unusual to your students. Consider doing Write On #15 and #16 from Write On: The Kid Friendly, Mother-Pleasing, Gentle Way to Learn to Write. See the last two sample pages of the pdf. Kids make a booklet shaped in the outline of an animal from index cards or paper. Each paragraph is written on a different page.

MatchCard Science

How To Use MatchCards

MatchCard Science Instructor's Guide

MatchCards are reusable worksheets that correspond to the objectives in the MatchCard Science curriculum. They are used to teach new objectives and to review content previously learned in a fun, interactive method.

See more information about how to use MatchCards in your science program by downloading the FREE MatchCard Science Instructor's Guide.

Investing a little time to set up a MatchCard notebook pays big dividends as your school year progresses.

Zoology Unit Study

Zoology Unit Study Cover

From microscopic protozoa to elephants and whales, learn more about the animals on this planet with the MatchCard Science Zoology Unit Study.

There are a total of thirteen zoology objectives and MatchCards for this unit which will take 6 to 8 weeks to complete.

Download the entire zoology unit study.

12 Complete MatchCard Science Unit Studies

MatchCard Science Cover

There are a total of 12 unit studies, including the Zoology unit study.

Comprehensive objectives, hands-on projects, suggested science fair experiments, and the fun game-like MatchCards keep them interested in learning science. Check out the other eleven MatchCard Science Unit Studies.

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