Life of the Chimpanzee

Introduction  |  Task  |  Process  |  Evaluation  |  Conclusion 


    Chimpanzees are primates that live in forest regions of Africa.  They are genetically very similar to humans, sharing 98% of the same genes.  Because of their similarities, Chimpanzees can reveal much about ourselves and how we learn.  Chimpanzees have evolved over time to the most sophisticated primates other than humans.  They have a very complex social structure, and even know how to use "tools" to make a task easier.  In this web quest, you will learn all about chimpanzees, their common connection with humans, and how they have evolved to survive. 


    Your task is to use the internet to research chimpanzees.  After researching, you will use a poster board to make a Venn diagram that outline the similarities and differences of humans and chimpanzees.  After making your diagram, you will present it to the class, explaining the similarities. In addition, you will explain what specific characteristics chimps and humans share that allow them to survive. This will be a group project.  An illustration of the Venn diagram is shown below.  Group A will be human characteristics,  group B will be chimpanzee characteristics, and group C will be the shared traits of humans and chimps.  Before beginning the process, skip down and read the Evaluation Rubric so you will know what your grade is based on.


  1.  First, you will watch and take notes on the video, Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees.  The movie will give you some background knowledge on what scientists know about chimps and their behavior.

  2.  After watching the movie, you will choose a partner to help do research on chimpanzees.  This research will be used to construct your Venn diagram and to make a presentation ( PowerPoint - 15 slides ) which you and your partner will give to the class.

  3.  Use the following links to initially research chimpanzees.  If you wish to do your own customized search, use the Google Search Engine and keywords.  Hint: to get the most out of research, divide up the responsibilities and have each person research a different aspect of chimpanzees.

        Encyclopedia Entry:  Chimpanzee

      Jane Goodall Institute

      Enchanted Learning:  Chimpanzees

      Save the Chimps:  Fact Sheet

  1. During your research, be sure to record any similarities and differences between chimps and humans.  After your research is completed, you will consolidate all of your findings into the diagram.

  2.  After each group member is done researching, come together as a group and complete your Venn diagram.  Remember to include both unique and shared characteristics of humans and chimpanzees.  Remember also to include shared adaptations that allow chimps and humans to survive.  Write these adaptations below the diagram.

  3.  After each group has completed the diagram, you will present your Venn diagram to the class, explaining your findings using  a PowerPoint presentation. 



    You will be evaluated based on the following rubric:  (CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE COPY)


Oral Presentation Rubric Possible Points Self-Assessment Teacher Assessment
Complete Venn diagram with unique adaptations listed at bottom. 25

PowerPoint Presentation well-designed and with 15 slides 25    
Presentation was well planned and coherent. (Evidence of rehearsal) 10


Poster board  (helpful, neat) 10


Teamwork:  Every member of group played a role 10    
Presentation shows evidence of research on Chimpanzees (good understanding of similarities and differences) 10    
Communication Skills (eye contact, posture, clear voice, appropriate volume, transitions between speakers smooth, and all members presented) 10


Total Possible Points



Note that half of your grade is based on the completion of the Venn diagram and PowerPoint, while the other half is distributed among different presentation aspects.  Teamwork is a part of your grade as well.  Make sure that each member plays a role in research and presentation. 



    Chimpanzees and Humans are very different in many ways.  Humans are much more advanced in thought and practical skills.  Yet, there are still many shared characteristics, such as a complex social hierarchy, ability to use "tools", and communication.  These adaptations have allowed both humans and chimpanzees to survive, each in their respective habitat.  Understanding chimpanzee behavior can help us understand our own evolution, where we came from, and perhaps where we are going.