Happy Home in a Tree Lesson Plan

Academic Standards


Reading Objective:

Children will understand how life in a tree helps a sloth meet its needs and survive.

Next Generation Science Standards:

K-LS1 Make observations of what plants and animals need to survive.

1-LS1 Animals use their external parts to survive.


rainforest, claws, algae

Use these questions to check students’ understanding and stimulate discussion:


1.  Where does the sloth live? (in a tree)

2. What does the sloth eat and where does it find this food?
(It eats leaves and finds them in a tree.)

3. How does the sloth use its claws?
(Its claws wrap around branches; it hangs from trees this way. )

4. If you were a sloth, would you want algae on your fur?
(Yes. Green algae would help you hide from danger in the green leaves.)

Go online to print or project the Reading Checkpoint.

  • Sloths are the slowest mammals on Earth.
  • Sloths are strong. Even as babies, they can pull up their entire body using just one arm.
  • Sloths poop just once a week. They come down from the tree to do it. 

Materials: pencils, copies of the skill sheet, watch or smartphone for timing kids

Overview: Kids will practice science skills of recording and comparing as they get moving.


  • Remind children that sloths move slowly. Sloth do it to save energy, so their bodies don’t have to work too hard.
  • Go outside or make space inside for kids to exercise. (They can also do this at home.) Pass out the skill sheets.
  • Tell kids they’re first going to run in place, then see if their heart beats a lot, showing it’s using a lot of energy. Later, they will move slowly. Which will make their hearts beat more? Have them predict!
  • Time to move. Let kids run, then stop and check their pulse. To do this, they can put three left fingers on their Adam’s apple
    and gently press on one side.
    Let them feel and count their heartbeats for 10 seconds as you time them. Record results on the skill sheet.
  • Repeat, telling kids to move slowly this time.
  • If there’s time, have a silly sloth race. The kid who finishes last wins!