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DIY Jane Goodall and Chimpanzee Lapbook and Resources for Elementary Lesson Plans

Jane Goodall Lesson.jpg

My oldest is nearly six now and working on kindergarten/first grade-ish. The lapbook, book list, and resources here would be appropriate for any elementary unit study on Jane Goodall. Enjoy!


We both enjoyed reading about Jane Goodall and her work as a Primatologist. These are the books that he really got into.


Natures Children by Caroline Greenland
All kinds of facts and a great deal of interesting information about Chimpanzees. We used this with a foldable activity with our lapbook (below).

Chimpanzees by Gareth Stevens Publishing
Easy to read with beautiful photographs of these amazing animals.

The Watcher by Jeanette Winter
Winter does a great job of painting a picture of Jane Goodall and her personality while telling her story. I used this book as an introduction to the scientist, and my oldest was fascinated.

The Chimpanzees I Love by Jane Goodall
We loved being able to read a book by Goodall! We were so excited when he first discovered it at the library. It isn’t often that we get to read books written by the people we are studying. What a great look into Goodall’s life and work with the chimps.

I am Jane Goodall by Brad Meltzer (Author), Christopher Eliopoulos (Illustrator)
Goodall’s story retold in comic book style was instantly eye catching and intriguing to my five year old. He was especially interested in Jane’s childhood and her interest in chickens!

Jane Goodall, Scholastic Nonfiction Reader
An easy read and quick introduction to Goodall and her work. I love to include easy readers in my selections. It’s a different experience for the child to be able to read about a topic we are studying independently. He loved this one!

Online Resources

There are a lot of great resources available about Jane Goodall and her work with Chimpanzees and environmental causes. Below is a short biography and a few links to use with your lessons.

Click to view Jane Goodall Mini Biography on YouTube

Jane Goodall Biography on (featuring above video)
Jane Goodall, Primatologist on National Geographic
Jane Goodall’s Foundation: Roots and Shoots
Information about International Day of Women and Girls in Science on
Chimpanzees on National Geographic Kids

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Everything came together when we DIY’d a lapbook about Goodall and Chimpanzees. I used a simple green file folder, a few printables (links below), a cloze paragraph, and two foldables made from construction paper.

Who? What? Where? When? Foldable

After doing a bit of reading and our online research, the oldest was ready to answer a few simple questions about Jane Goodall.

Who: Jane Goodall, (inside) Scientist, Studied Chimps
What: Looked at Chimps, (inside) Found out chimps eat bugs and make tools.
Where: Born in London, (inside) Dreamed of living in Africa, Studied chimps in Tanzania
When: 1934 Born in London, (inside) 1941 Reads Dr. Doolittle, 1957 Goes to Africa
He was very interested in looking at a timeline of Goodall’s life. We will have to incorporate a timeline in our next lapbook!

Fun Facts about Chimpanzees Foldable

We completed this foldable activity while reading Nature’s Children. We’ve been talking more about putting facts “into your own words” lately. My strategy for this foldable was to read a page or two together, ask him what the most interesting fact was, write down his sentence, and he would illustrate it. It’s difficult for him not to repeat a sentence verbatim, but he got there!

Some facts we learned: Chimps have larger brains than monkeys. Chimps hug. They live in the thickest part of the African Jungle. Chimps eat meat and plants. 

Cloze Paragraph

I wrote a cloze paragraph with a word bank for him on sticker paper. He read and completed this part independently. I love using cloze paragraphs. It bridges the gap between writing basic, stand-alone sentences and being able to formulate a paragraph. Feel free to use mine or create your own!

Word Bank: Jane, David, friend, banana, watched
A New Friend
_____ Goodall sat on the peak. She _____ the chimps for a long time. One day a chimp stole a _____ from her tent. She named him _____ Greybeard. He was her first chimpanzee _____.

Printable Links

Picture of Woman and Chimpanzee from Print Activities (cover image)
Chimpanzee Image from Super Coloring (we called this one David Greybeard)
Africa Map from Printable Maps Blogspot (colored and labeled Tanzania)

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