Children will learn about veterinarians as community helpers.

Lesson Objective

Children will learn about veterinarians as community helpers and the tools they use; children will also make animal x-ray art.


What You'll Need

Note: You will need to search the Internet for images of “Aboriginal art of a lizard” and animal x-rays.

  • Images of Aboriginal art – from an Internet search                                                                                                     
  • Animal x-rays – from an Internet search
  • Stethoscope
  • Empty medicine bottles
  • Bandages
  • Colored glue – 2 bottles
  • Small, shallow cups – 1 per 2 children
  • Paper – 1 sheet per child
  • Cotton swabs – 4 per child
  • Bingo markers – 1 per child

What To Do

  1. Tell the children they will be learning about a community helper who is a special kind of doctor called a veterinarian.
  2. Explain that a veterinarian takes care of animals in much the same way as a doctor takes care of people (see Did You Know?).
  3. Display the stethoscope, medicine bottles, and bandages, and ask whether the children recognize these tools and their use (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  4. Display an animal x-ray, and explain how a veterinarian might use an x-ray.
  5. Display the artwork, and ask children what they see.
  6. Point out the bones and organs in the artwork, and explain that this type of artwork resembles an x-ray (see Did You Know?).
  7. Tell the children they will be making x-ray artwork.
  8. Distribute paper and bingo markers.
  9. Have the children use the bingo markers to draw an animal of their choice on the paper.
  10. Distribute cotton swabs and cups of colored glue.
  11. Have children dip both ends of a cotton swab in the glue and place it on their animal’s body to create bones. Allow children to place 5–10 swabs on their artwork.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Explain who uses this tool (stethoscope, x-ray) and what it might be used for.
  • Describe the artwork. What do you see?
  • Tell me something you see in the artwork that you might see in an x-ray.
  • Tell me some other community helpers that you know.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Find images of animals that match the animal x-rays you used in your lesson. Place the x-rays and images in the science area for the children to match.
  • Create a veterinarian’s office in your dramatic play area with the stuffed animals. Provide button-down white shirts (for use as lab coats), play stethoscopes, empty medicine bottles, bandages, and x-rays. Paper, crayons, and clipboards can be used to write “reports.” Children can pretend to be veterinarians and take care of the stuffed animals.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children explain who might use a stethoscope (or x-ray) and what it is used for?
  • Could children describe the artwork as depicting bones and organs?
  • Could children state that bones and muscles are seen in both the Aboriginal artwork and in an x-ray?
  • Could children name other community helpers?


Did You Know?

Veterinarians are community helpers. They are doctors who care for animals. Doctors who care for people use tools such as a stethoscope, medicine, bandages, computer, and x-rays. Veterinarians use the same types of tools to take care of animals. X-rays of an animal’s body help veterinarians identify ailments that may be affecting an animal. X-rays are special pictures that show the insides of a person or animal. The pictures show bones, muscles, and organs.

Aboriginal artwork comes from the native Aborigines of Australia. The variety of different styles of Aboriginal artwork includes naturalistic and non-naturalistic art. Abstract styles, geometric patterns, and dot painting are among the many different styles of non-naturalistic Aboriginal art. A very distinctive style of Aboriginal art is known as x-ray art. This style of artwork is known for showing delicate detail and for including bones and internal organs of the animal. These pieces of artwork reflect the Aborigines’ extensive knowledge of the animals.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • veterinarian – a doctor for animals.
  • community helper – a person who does a task or performs a service in a particular area where people live.
  • doctor – a person whose job it is to treat or give medicine to sick people or animals.
  • stethoscope – an instrument that makes sounds inside a body louder.
  • Aborigine – one of the first people to live in an area.
  • x-ray – a photograph made with a special beam that uses radiation to show what is inside something.

Lesson Tips

  • Not all bingo markers are washable. Have the children wear smocks to protect their clothing.
  • If you do not have access to a stethoscope, medicine bottles, or bandages, display pictures of them.


  • Stories from the Billabong by James Vance Marshall
  • I Want To Be A Vet by Dan Liebman
  • Biscuit Visits the Doctor by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  • Caring for Your Pets: A Book About Veterinarians (Community Workers) by Ann Owen
  • Sally Goes to the Vet by Stephen Huneck 

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed.

Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS