They Just Know:  Animal Instincts

TJKI’ve been taking my dog, a 9 month old Labradoodle, to the dog park a lot lately with the beautiful spring weather.  I was telling my muses about how the dog had been swimming.  They were horrified at the thought, because he had not had swimming lessons like they have had.  That conversation reminded me of Robin Yardi’s book, They Just Know:  Animal Instincts, for ages 3—8.

Before we started reading we talked about how there are some things that animals just know without being taught, and other things they learn.


Coral (age 6):   Cheetah’s just know how to run.  People know how to eat.

Rosetta (age 3 ½)Doggies don’t learn to swim?

We read about instincts that butterflies, horn sharks, lady bugs, spring peeper frogs, sea turtles, and king snakes have.  We strayed off topic a bit with butterflies and milkweed.  They remembered planting milkweed last year for the Monarch’s, and that they had Monarch caterpillars that turned into butterflies.  Yes, I have pink and purple milkweed for them this year!

Coral:  I like ladybugs the best.  Their larvae eat aphids!

Rosetta:  I like the “fishies”!  They know how to swim!  I like to swim!  Does the puppy like to swim?

Coral:  King snakes shed their skin when they grow.

I had mentioned that king snakes eat other poisonous snakes, and they are good to have around.

Coral:  Are king snakes the king of all the snakes, since they eat poisonous snakes?

When reading about animals it is easy to get off topic!  A great way to get back on topic is with the “For Creative Minds” section at the back of the book.  There is information for the parent or teacher to share, and activities to reinforce what the children have read.  This book has pictures for the child to identify whether the activity is learned or instinct, and two activities dealing with stages of development.  Hmmm…maybe we weren’t so off task when discussing butterflies and milkweed!

bpI discovered when reading the front flap that there are free online resources for this and other books published by Arbordale Publishing.  I went to their web site, clicked on They Just Know, and found 35 pages of reading comprehension and science related activities to accompany this story!  There are pre-reading and comprehension questions, vocabulary and writing activities, animal classification activity, charts, and dichotomous key, animal sorting cards, instinct or learned activity, and more!  The intent is not to use all of the activities with a child or class, but to pick and choose based on the needs or standards you are trying to meet.

You can find this charmingly illustrated book at Arbordale Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.  It is available in paper, hardcover, and also in Spanish from the publisher, and Amazon has Kindle and Audible audio versions.

Yardi, Robin.  They Just Know:  Animal Instincts.  Mt. Pleasant, SC:  Arbordale Publishing, 2015.  Print.  ISBN-10: 1628556390, ISBN-13: 978-1628556391

NGSS: K-LS1-1  Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive. 2-LS4-1  Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats. 3-LS1-1 Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.