Teacher Guide Lesson Plans

Ideal for grades 4-6, this Guide contains background information, lessons, and activities that expand upon what veterinarians do to protect animals, people, and the environment. The lessons are based upon the photos and timeline represented on the AVMA classroom career poster. Choose a category below and then select your grade level.

All Teacher Guide files are available in Portable Document Format (PDF) PDF file and can be downloaded for free.


The Life of a Bovine Veterinarian

A bovine veterinarian is one who works with beef cattle or dairy cows and their calves. These busy veterinarians never know for sure what the day will bring. While many appointments are scheduled in advance, an animal emergency on a ranch or a farm can happen at any time.

 View entire backgrounder (PDF)

Grade 4 Activity: Interview Questions to Ask a Veterinarian (PDF)
Grade 5 Activity: Life Cycle Stages of a Dairy Cow (PDF)
Grade 6 Activity: Food Production Veterinary Science (PDF)
Crossword Puzzle: Puzzle (PDF) | Puzzle solution (PDF)


Food Supply Veterinarians Help Protect What We Eat

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a program called Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS). The inspectors employed in the program are veterinarians who have the responsibility of making sure that the eggs, poultry, and meat we buy are wholesome and safe.

View entire backgrounder (PDF)

Grade 4 Activity: My Letter to a Friend (PDF)
Grade 5 Activity: Food Supply Veterinarian Facts (PDF)
Grade 6 Activity: Questions about Food Supply Veterinarians (PDF)
Crossword Puzzle: Puzzle (PDF) | Puzzle solution (PDF)


Veterinarians Help Protect the Environment and Assist in Disaster Recovery

Scientists, regulators, and the public are becoming increasingly concerned about the presence and impact of emerging chemical contaminants (including pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicine residues, nanoparticles, and degradation products) and emerging persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the environment. Veterinarians assist in protecting the environment by identifying and tracking contaminants from sources like confined animal feeding operations or fish hatcheries to prevent contaminants from polluting waterways (lakes, rivers, and streams) and ground water aquifers.

View entire backgrounder (PDF)

Grade 4 Activity: My Disaster Preparedness Plan (PDF)
Grade 5 Activity: The Impact of Environmental Pollutants on Animals and Humans (PDF)
Grade 6 Activity: How Emerging Contaminants Impact the Environment (PDF)


How Veterinarians and American Zoos Help Endangered Species

Endangered species are animals or plants at immediate risk of extinction because of habitat loss, pollution, introduction of other species, or over-exploitation. Animals currently facing extinction include one-third of all the earth's amphibians, nearly half of all freshwater turtles, one in eight species of birds, and one in four mammals.

View entire backgrounder (PDF)

Grade 4 Activity: Endangered Animals Right Here (PDF)
Grade 5 Activity: Interesting Facts About Polar Bears (PDF)
Grade 6 Activity: Zoos Helping Endangered Species (PDF)
Crossword Puzzle: Puzzle (PDF) | Puzzle solution (PDF)


Veterinarians Help Animals in Space

Veterinarians who train to become astronauts desire to work with other researchers to study what happens to people and animals in space where there is no gravity—also known as zero-g. They perform experiments on Earth and on space shuttle missions in order to observe the long-term health effects of space travel and a zero-gravity environment on experiments with animals. This kind of research has led to improved lifestyles of astronauts during subsequent space missions and continues to provide new information for future human life in space.

View entire backgrounder (PDF)

Grade 4 Activity: Animals in Space (PDF)
Grade 5 Activity: My Profile as an Astronaut (PDF)
Grade 6 Activity: Creating Animal Experiments in Space (PDF)


Emergency Care Veterinarian

When the emergency room veterinarian first arrives at the hospital, he/she consults with the veterinarians and veterinary technicians from the previous shift. Next, the veterinarian performs "rounds" during which the staff reviews the cases of all the animal patients in the hospital and discusses each one's diagnosis, care, and treatment plan. Usually the rest of the day centers around caring for the current animal patients, consulting with specialty veterinarians on complicated cases, updating owners about their pets, writing reports and ordering medicines, and treating emergency cases as they arrive.

View entire backgrounder (PDF)

Grade 4 Activity: My Veterinary ER Journal (PDF)
Grade 5 Activity: My Pet Emergency First-aid Kit (PDF)
Grade 6 Activity: Disaster Pet Care Planning (PDF)
Crossword Puzzle: Puzzle (PDF) | Puzzle solution (PDF)


Veterinarians in Biomedical Research

Veterinarians who work with animals in a research environment may work for a company or for the U.S. Government. Veterinarians working in pharmaceutical and biomedical research firms develop, test, and supervise the production of drugs, chemicals, and biological products, such as antibiotics and vaccines for human and animal use.

View entire backgrounder (PDF)

Grade 4 Activity: Learn about West Nile Virus (PDF)
Grade 5 Activity: A Dog Named Triumph (PDF)
Grade 6 Activity: How Animal Research Helps Fight Cancer (PDF)
Crossword Puzzle: Puzzle (PDF) | Puzzle solution (PDF)