From Earthworms to Chimps

From Earthworms to Chimps lesson plan

Discover the lives of dedicated, distinctive women such as Jane Goodall. What successes do YOU dream about?

  • 1.

    Choose a woman who has really made a difference in the world. She might be a scientist, human rights advocate, or writer, for example. Learn more about the woman so you almost feel as if you know her. We’ve chosen Jane Goodall for this example.

  • 2.

    For more than 40 years, Jane Goodall has lived in the Gombe Game Reserve in Tanzania. She studies chimpanzees. Because of her hard work we know a great deal about these primates. Her observations help us understand humans better, too.

  • 3.

    Goodall was interested in the outdoors even when she was young. Her mother once found Jane in bed with a handful of earthworms. How do you think her mother responded? Yes, she was happy to see her daughter was so interested in animals! What would your parents think?

  • 4.

    Jane Goodall has shown her respect for living things during her long years of animal observation. She practices patience and tries to interfere as little as possible in the lives of the chimpanzees. The animals accept her as a creature in the jungle and allow her to see the subtle aspects of their daily lives.

  • 5.

    On white paper, sketch a portrait of the woman you researched and symbols of her work. Here, Jane Goodall is pictured with a chimpanzee. Use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils and Crayola Twistables™ to show her achievements.

  • 6.

    Think about the greater messages that women such as Jane Goodall have for each of us. How has their dedication changed the whole planet?


  • Students research the life and achievements of one woman.
  • Students gain an understanding of the power of one person’s dedication.
  • Students express their understanding of the individual’s life and accomplishments in a detailed portrait.


  • Locate Tanzania in an atlas or on a globe. Analyze the terrain and natural landscape.
  • Define the word <EM>persistence</EM>. Study Jane Goodall’s life for examples of this valuable characteristic.
  • Older students could research in more detail some of Goodall’s most important findings about chimpanzees: They deliberately plan before doing a task. They manufacture tools before using them. They demonstrate a sense of awe, form monogamous relationships, and exhibit sibling rivalry. Find out how scientists used to study animals before Jane Goodall introduced her less obtrusive way.
  • Are chimpanzees an endangered species? Research how many are left around the world and where else they live. Visit a zoo to observe some of their behavior.
  • Read <U>Grub, the Bush Baby</U> by Jane Goodall and learn what it was like to be Goodall’s son raised in the game reserve by a scientist mother.