Track Detectives – Background

Animals live secret lives all around us – yet their tracks and sign can be found everywhere, starting in our own backyards. Winter is a great time for tracking as snow makes a great surface for animal tracks to register, leaving imprints for us to study and interpret. Becoming a track detective is like learning to read; in fact, it is reading, but with a different set of symbols. Every set of tracks tells a story. When reading these stories, consider the place where the tracks are found, the track pattern left behind, and the shape and size of the animal’s foot print. Continue reading Track Detectives – Background

Track Detectives – Activities

FOCUS: Tracks in the snow give us hints about the lives of animals that live nearby. Learning to recognize tracks and sign helps us identify animals and their activities from the clues they leave behind.

Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about tracks.

Show one slide photograph of an interesting outdoor track scene, and ask children to share their observations about the photo. What do they see in this picture?
Materials: photograph depicting an interesting outdoor track scene.

Objective: To compare similarities and differences in size, shape, and number of toes in different animal footprints.

Ahead of time, create a few sets of the Print Match Puzzles, enough so that each small group of children can have one. First lay out only the puzzle pieces that show the animals’ footprints. Continue reading Track Detectives – Activities

Track Detectives – Puppet Show

Tracking the Tracker

Characters: Harry Hare, Sally Squirrel, Fiona Fawn, Ollie Otter, Peter Porcupine.

Props: Hopper Pattern, Bounder Pattern, Waddler Pattern, Walker Pattern, Hare Pattern (2X).

Harry Hare  (hopping back and forth)Oh boy! Snow on the ground. What fun! (hold up Hopper Pattern) Oh, look! Some tracks. Four prints together, then a space, then four more together. Maybe I can find a clue about who made these. Hmm…they go right to a tree. I know! These are squirrel tracks!

Sally Squirrel  You’re a good track detective, Harry! Those are my tracks. Continue reading Track Detectives – Puppet Show

Track Detectives – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Track Detectives – Standards