Grzimek's Animal Life

By Finley, Sally | Multimedia & Internet@Schools, November-December 2009 | Go to article overview

Grzimek's Animal Life


Finley, Sally, Multimedia & Internet@Schools


Company: Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, 27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331. Phone: (800) 877-4253; internet: www.gale.com/animallife.

Price: $495--Individual K-12 schools. A volume pricing discount is offered.

Audience: Grades K-12 and above

Format: Internet-based: text, audio, maps, video, photographs.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with internet access and a web browser. Compatible browsers include Internet Explorer 6 to 7, Firefox 2 to 3, Safari 3, and Opera 9. The database provides links to the latest browser downloads.

Description: Grzimek's Animal Life is an online animal reference database featuring more than 4,000 species and 12,000 photos, illustrations, and maps. The site also provides access to user, educator, and expert communities.

Reviewer Comments: Installation/Access: The browser-based access is provided through a user login and password. It was easy to gain access. Installation/Access Rating: A

Content/Features: This online edition of Grzimek's Animal Life is a digital version of the original hardbound 17volume encyclopedia. The content includes the original 9,000-plus pages of peer-reviewed articles and photos, as well as video materials, web tools such as RSS feeds and social network sharing, real-time news, and links to editor-selected websites and other reference sources.

Information is presented in the categories of amphibians, birds, fish, insects, invertebrates, mammals, and reptiles. The section on each animal includes information on physical characteristics, distribution, habitat, behavior, feeding ecology and diet, reproductive biology, conservation status, and significance to humans. The content is correlated to the national science curriculum.

Interactive range maps show the distribution of each species and link to Google maps. A Quick Facts section gives easy access to key information. The ReadSpeaker feature converts on-screen text to speech.

An Essential Reference Guide focuses on the classification of each species in the animal kingdom. The Search Assist feature provides information using both the common and scientific names. Video clips on each animal are provided.

The videos present an interesting picture of the animal in its natural habitat. These videos can be viewed in full-screen mode for use as a whole class experience. The films are attractive and enjoyable to view.

Web links point to additional information on the researched animal. Web tools allow the user to print, email, or download content and create citations.

Classroom Applications: Teachers can use the information from this resource in a variety of ways. Some specific ideas for classroom projects include the following:

Be an Expert: Each student can select one animal and use the database to learn everything he or she can about this animal. They can choose a project to demonstrate the knowledge gained from the research. …

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