Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? Teaches to Protect Animals and Do Not Destroy
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Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? Teaches to Protect Animals and Do Not Destroy

Book Title: Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?

Author: Bill Martin

Illustrator: Eric Carle

Jewish Value: Protect Animals

Additional value:

     Do Not Destroy

Book Summary:

Thirty-five years after their first groundbreaking collaboration, the creators of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? reunited to address the important topic of animal conservation. A Bald Eagle soars, a Spider Monkey swings, a Macaroni Penguin struts, and a Red Wolf sneaks through Bill Martin Jr's rhythmic text and Eric Carle's vibrant images, and all are watched over by our best hope for the future--a dreaming child.

Enduring Understandings:

  • People have the ability to protect or destroy the earth and its living creatures. 
  • Each generation is responsible for those generations that follow.

Essential Questions:

  1. How can we protect the earth and its living creatures? 
  2. What things do humans do that may destroy nature and its living creatures? 
  3.  How are we responsible for those generations that follow ?

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

From the very beginning of people’s appearance on Earth, humankind has shared the planet with animals. The opening verses of the book of Genesis suggest that the creation of animals was part of God’s plan, and that humans should not be all alone. The Eternal One said, “It is not good for Adam to be alone. I will make a fitting companion. So, the Eternal One formed from the Earth all the wild beasts and all the birds of the sky and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. Whatever name he gave them, that would be their name” (Genesis 2:18-19). Not only has humanity shared existence with animals since the beginning of time, but as revealed by the Torah and by the rabbis, part of humanity’s obligation is to care for and promote the well-being of animal life. This is done by extending to animals some of the privileges people claim for themselves, but also by seeing to their health, well-being, and safety. 

From Our Texts:
“Six days you shall do your work, but on the Seventh Day you shall cease from labor, in order that your ox and your donkey may rest.” -Exodus 23:12

Rabbi Judah said in the name of Rav, “It is forbidden for a man to eat until he has fed his animals. As it is written, ‘I will give grass in your fields for your animals, and you shall eat and be satiated.’” -Deuteronomy 11:15, Gittin 62a

“If you should happen upon a bird’s nest along the way, in a tree or upon the ground, with chicks or eggs, with the mother nesting upon them, do not take the mother along with the young. Shoo the mother away, and take only the young, in order that you may fare well and have a long life.” -Deuteronomy 22:6-7

The logic behind this commandment is that G-d wants us to be concerned with the feelings of the mother bird over her young. -Maimonides

Questions for Reflection

  1. How does the protection of animals support the Jewish value of ba’al taschit, not destroying the world around us? 
  2. How is protecting animals an act of g’milut chasadim--loving kindness? 
  3. How can you incorporate the value of tza’ar ba’alei chayim in your classroom?

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

Remind student to constantly seek opportunities to protect animals-tza’ar ba’alei chayim. Encourage and remind students to consider about this idea when a bug is the classroom, an ant is on the sidewalk or a pet crosses your path

Materials and resourcesmore


Copy Of Panda Bear, Panda Bear What Do You See


Sharing The Storymore

Introducing The story

Discuss the title, Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do you See? Encourage students to make predictions about the book and talk about what they know about the panda bear (where it lives, what it looks like, etc.).

Explain that the animals mentioned in this book have one very important thing in common. Read the book and then allow time for students to generate a list of ideas as to what things these animals share.

 Introduce the concepts of “endangered” and “extinct.” Explain that each animal in the book is “endangered.” (Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 the term ‘endangered species’ means any species which is in danger of extinction.)

Introduce the Jewish Value “Do not destroy or waste”-Bal Tashchit. Discuss what things they see wasted or destroyed in their lives and how they can prevent further waste or destruction.

Reading The Story

Read the story aloud, stopping when appropriate to explore illustrations, address do not destroy and protect animals.  

Discuss the following:

  • Why might these animals have become endangered after having survived for so long? (e.g., no food, no water, being hunted by humans, etc.) 
  • Can anything be done to help them survive?

After The Story

Choral reading: Reread the book with students participating in the reading (project the words if possible.). Involve half the class in asking questions such as, Whooping Crane, Whooping Crane, what do you see?” Have the other half respond to the question, “I see a black panther strolling by me.”

At one time or another, most of us have questioned why G-d created certain creatures such as the mosquitoes, spiders, or sharks. Make a list of those creatures in which students see little value. In groups, select one of the animals from the list. Have students research this creature to learn more about it and what it contributes (e.g., certain ants in the rainforests are responsible for clipping the tops of the trees in the canopy so that sunlight can reach the plant life below to keep it alive).
Have groups create clay replicas of the animal selected and display it along with a brief explanation of this animal’s importance to the balance of nature and our ecosystem.

King David and the Spider
Read or watch: and discuss the Biblical story of “King David and the Spider”:
When King David was still a boy watching over his father s sheep, he often came upon spiders webs strung across tree branches and shining in the sun. David thought the spiders were wonderful to weave such webs, but he could see no use for them. David decided to ask G-d about it. "Why, O Creator of the world, did you make spiders? You can t even wear their webs as clothing!" G-d answered David, "A day will come when you will need the work of this creature. Then you will thank me."
David grew up and became a courageous warrior. He defeated the giant Goliath and many enemies of the people of Israel. He married King Saul s daughter and the people adored him as the greatest man in the land. King Saul was jealous and afraid of David and sent his soldiers to kill him. David ran away to the wilderness. He hoped King Saul s fit of anger would pass and David would be safe to return. But King Saul s men kept chasing him. At last, the soldiers were very close. David ran into a cave to hide. He heard the footsteps of the men and knew that they would soon find him. David was so afraid, his bones shook and hurt. But then David saw a big spider at the front of the cave. Very quickly, it was spinning a web all the way across the opening.
Just before the soldiers came up to the cave, the spider finished the web. As the men started to enter the cave, they ran into the web. "Look," they said, "this web is unbroken. If David were here, he d have torn the web to pieces. He must be hiding somewhere else. Let s go!" So because of the spider, David s life was saved. David understood that G-d was wise and thanked G-d for creating all the creatures, including the spiders.
As retold by Aaron Zerah and reprinted with permission.

Ask students how the story of “King David and the Spider” and their research helped them better understand the mitzvah Ba’al Tashchit. “What if someone asked you, ‘Why has G-d created you?’ What would you say?”

Beauty of the World

Judaism demonstrates an appreciation for all creatures. An example of this is found in the song “Beauty of The World” by Sababa, inspired by a Talmudic prayer which is recited when one sees a beauty:

Play the video of the song “Beauty of the World” by Sababa . Discuss the lyrics and things they have seen in the world. The song includes the traditional blessing for rare beauty. The song is special to the writers and was written at sunset in the Rocky Mountains.


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Moving Moments

Vocabulary, Motor Skills, Dramatic Play 
Ask students to demonstrate all the types of movement that were described in the book: Soar, Charge, Swing, Strut, Sneak, Stroll

Earth: The Documentary
Science, Nature 
Walt Disney studios celebrated Earth Day, 2009, with a special documentary entitled, Earth. Show portions or all of this movie. The film follows one year in the lives of several creatures that share our planet. Use the Visual-Thinking Strategy (see Appendix) and focus on several of the frames in the video for discussion.

Science, Critical Thinking 
Have students brainstorm a list of the animals mentioned. In groups, have students create their own types of classifications for these animals (e.g., land animals, water animals, animals that fly, animals with no legs, etc.) and share these with the class. (You may wish to introduce the animal classification system and reclassify these, introducing terms such as mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, insects, and arachnids.)

A History of Jewish Dreams
Jewish History, Israel, Creative Thinking 
In 1897 Theodor Herzl envisioned a Jewish state in the land of Israel. He spent his life working to make it a reality. Herzl once wrote, “If you will it, it is no dream.” At the end of the book is the line, “Dreaming Child, Dreaming Child, what do you see?” Ask each child to write his/her own dream for our planet
Using the quote by Theodor Herzl as the caption, create a bulletin board with students’ dreams and pictures to illustrate it.

Creature Collection
Science, Language Arts 
Take a nature walk with your students to a nearby park, nature preserve, or around the school, identifying creatures as you go. (Bring magnifying glasses if you have them.) Have students photograph and/or sketch several of these creatures. Back in the classroom, have each student select one of the creatures observed and find some interesting facts about it. Then have students complete the statement below to create a classroom collage using student photographs and completed statements.

Life without the ________ would be _______________________________________.

Learning about Endangered Species
 Research, Technology,Critical Thinking click “Get The Facts” and then structure your student’s exploration of the site: Divide the class into groups, each representing an endangered species on the list.
  • Have them find three important facts about this animal that make it special. 
  • Have them list these on a poster along with a picture. 
  • Have each group share their poster with the rest of the class. 
  • As a class (or school-wide) project, vote to help protect one of these animals. 
  • Plan class (or school-wide) activities to help raise awareness and funds for this project. 

Animal Tales
Critical Thinking,Analysis 
Watch a movie about animals and their needs. Charlotte’s Web, 101 Dalmations, Dr. Doolittle, or Babe might be excellent examples, but the teacher can talk to the students about their favorite film and help them choose. While watching the film, ask students to note their observations of when animals are protected and when they are not. Which characters in the story exemplify the mitzvah of Ba’aley Tza’ar Chayim.

Virtual Visit
Technology, Science, Observation The San Diego Zoo streams real-time footage of what is happening in their panda habitat- the class can visit site and look for pandas, observe their behavior. Sometimes no panda bear is visible- ask children “where do you think they might be” “or what do you think they might be doing”

Music Connectionsmore

List of All Songs

All the World’s Animals

by Miss Emily Aronoff Teck

Inspiration Text

“A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast.” -Proverbs 12:10


Introduce the following song, which is an ode to all animals and our responsibilities to them--tza’ar ba’alei chayim. When thinking about animals, most children categorize them by their movements or sounds. The idea that animals work might be new to some students. Ask students if they know which animals work (for example, a horse that pulls a cart, a dog that sees for the blind or a dog that works with the police, or carrier pigeons that deliver messages). Provide visuals to illustrate these animals that work to help us.


All the world’s animals, big and small
All the world’s animals, short and tall
Living in the wild or living in a zoo
All the world’s animals, we’ll protect you

To all the animals swimming in the sea
We’ll try to keep the ocean litter free X2


To all the animals that like to fly,
We’ll try to keep pollution out of the sky X2


To the pets, dogs, and cats we love so much,
We’ll show that we care with a gentle touch X2

To all the world’s animals that work a lot
We hope you rest on Shabbat!

Additional Music Connections

Evidence of Learningmore

Students are observed making ‘green’ choices that sustain healthy living for the earth and creatures. Students take opportunities to recite blessings for rare beauty when it is encountered.


Families or classroom communities can symbolically ‘adopt’ an endangered species to help make sure that it is cared for. Learn about this opportunity here:

literature connectionsmore

TitleAuthorIllustratorBook Summary
How To Heal A Broken Wing Bob GrahamBob GrahamNo one notices an injured bird lying on a busy city sidewalk – except for Will, who stops to help. Will takes the bird home, and he and his family patiently care for the bird until it is able to fly on its own.   
Lion and Mouse Jerry PinkneyJerry PinkneyIn this retelling of Aesop’s fable through pictures, a mouse inadvertently finds himself resting on a lion’s back. The lion decides not to eat him, and instead, lets him go. Later, the mouse pays the lion back for his kindness.
Stanley and The Class Pet Barney SaltzbergBarney SaltzbergFinally, the time has come for Stanley to take home Figgie, the class pet bird. Stanley takes his job very seriously and reads to Figgy, plays with Figgy, and even lets Figgy (cage and all) sleep in his bed! When Larry, his friend, comes over to visit, Larry persuades Stanley that Figgie needs exercise and against his better judgment, Stanley opens the cage door. Figgie flies off, never to return—but who is to blame?
Kids Making a Difference for Animals (ASPCA Kids) Nancy Furstinger and Sheryl L. Pipe This wonderful book relates the stories of kids who are making a difference in the lives of animals every day. They’re rescuing homeless pets, raising money for shelters and charities, making jewelry, and holding bake sales to support animal-friendly causes. They’re also volunteering their time to educate others, and so much more.
What Pet to Get Emma Dodd Jack is deciding on a pet. His first choice is an elephant, then a tiger, etc. His mother then explains why each of these animals is inappropriate. She asks him to find a less exotic pet.
Arthur’s Pet Business Marc Brown Arthur starts his own pet-sitting business to show Mom and Dad that he can be responsible. But between a boa constrictor, an ant farm, and a group of frogs, he's got his hands full! Can Arthur still prove he can handle a dog of his own?
The Shabbat Puppy* Leslie KimmelmanJaime Zollars

Every Saturday Noah and his grandfather go for a walk together, looking for “Shabbat Shalom” – Sabbath Peace. For what seems like the longest time to the little boy, Grandpa won’t allow Mazel, Noah’s puppy, to join them. Eventually, though, the dog is permitted to join in, with sweet results.

I Wanna Iguana Karen OrloffDavid CatrowAlex writes a letter to his mother to persuade her to allow him to have an iguana. She envisioned a six-foot long iguana that would eat them out of house and home. Alex reassures her that it takes fifteen years for an iguana to get that big. The discussion continues.
Just Me and My Puppy Mercer Mayer This simple book teaches young children about responsibility and is told from a boy’s point of view after he brings a puppy home.
* PJ library Books