The Jane Goodall Lesson
Plan for Women’s History Month
In honor of Women’s History Month, March’s lesson focuses
on the life and achievements of Jane Goodall.
In 1960, Goodall’s patient observations of chimpanzees in
the Gombe National Park in Africa led to a groundbreaking discovery:
Chimpanzees make and use tools! At the time, humans held the erroneous
belief that no other animals were capable of making tools and used
this belief to distinguish themselves from other animals. Upon learning
of Goodall’s discovery, famed archeologist Louis Leakey stated,
“Now we must redefine tool, redefine Man, or accept chimpanzees
as humans.” Since then, it has been found that several species,
including the crow, create and use tools.
Even after this amazing discovery, Goodall continued to learn about
our closest animal relatives, revealing that chimpanzees have culture,
communication, rich emotional lives, and even politics. Her collected
evidence has helped us better understand animals and appreciate
the inherent value of their lives. She realizes that her discoveries
have moral implications, saying, “How should we relate to
beings who look into mirrors and see themselves as individuals,
who mourn companions and may die of grief, who have a consciousness
of ‘self’? Don’t they deserve to be treated with
the same sort of consideration we accord to other highly sensitive
Goodall now campaigns tirelessly in behalf of animals. Her book
The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do to Care for the Animals We Love,
which she wrote with Marc Bekoff, encourages people to make compassionate
choices that benefit animals and the environment.
This lesson is supplied by the Baltimore Curriculum Project. View
the lesson here.
Scroll down to the section labeled “Science Lesson 26—Jane
Although originally written for kindergarteners, this lesson can
be adapted for grades 1 through 5.