Predators and Prey – Activities

FOCUS: Both predators and prey need to eat, but they face different challenges in getting their food. Predators must find their prey, chase and catch it, subdue it if it fights back, and eat it. Prey animals must forage for food cautiously, always on the lookout for predators. The physical and behavioral characteristics of predators and prey reflect their needs and ways of life.

INTRODUCTION
Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about predators and prey.

Ask children to take a moment to imagine being either a stalking cat or a squirrel alert to danger. Then ask them to share what they were thinking as they were imagining life as their character.

LOOK OUT! SCENARIOS
Objective: To model some behavioral adaptations that help predators and prey survive.

Have children work in small groups to rehearse and act out vignettes about animal life in the wild. Continue reading Predators and Prey – Activities

Predators and Prey – Puppet Show

Red Riding Rabbit and Br’er Fox

Characters: Mother Rabbit, Bunny, Grandma Rabbit, Fox

Props: a briar patch, Grandma’s shawl, sign saying “Meanwhile in Grandma Rabbit’s Thicket”

Mother Rabbit    Listen, Bunny Dear. Grandma Rabbit is not feeling well today. Why don’t you go and visit her? Maybe that will make her feel better.

Bunny    Sure. I’ll cut right through the woods because that’s a faster way to get to Grandma Rabbit’s thicket.

Rabbit   OK, but remember to keep a lookout for danger. Continue reading Predators and Prey – Puppet Show

Predators and Prey – Standards

PREDATORS AND PREY ALIGNMENT WITH
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE 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 Predators and Prey – Standards

Skull Sleuthing – Background

Have you ever stumbled across an animal skull in the woods and found your mind filled with questions about it? What kind of animal was it? What did it eat with those teeth? Were the eyes really that big? Was the brain really that small? Finding a skull tends to bring out the private investigator in all of us. As we examine these bony shells, built to protect the brain, hold the teeth, and house many of the sensory organs, we can find clues about the animal’s life.

The first thing to notice when you find a skull is its size. Is it the length of your thumb (squirrel, rabbit, weasel); does it fit in your hand (fox, bobcat, raccoon, beaver, opossum); is it as long as your foot (deer, bear), or even bigger (cow, horse, moose)? Size can be deceptive since skulls lack the covering of muscles, skin, and fur of a live animal and thus often seem much smaller than you would expect. Still, by considering its size first, you can often narrow down the possibilities. Continue reading Skull Sleuthing – Background

Skull Sleuthing – Activities

FOCUS: The shape and structure of skull and teeth are adaptations related to an animal’s food and way of life. The teeth and eye placement of carnivores differ from those of herbivores, omnivores, or insectivores. Much can be learned about an animal from its skull, for these are the bones that protect the brain and house the mouth, teeth, and sense organs – all of which are critical to its survival.

INTRODUCTION
Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about skulls.

Give each small group of children a skull to examine. Ask children to draw their skull, and to write down one thing they notice and one thing they wonder about it.

Materials: Skulls Set, magnifying lenses, paper or journals, pencils.

TOOTHY GRINS
Objective: To observe our four different kinds of teeth and investigate how we use them.

Have children smile at each other and notice each other’s teeth. Continue reading Skull Sleuthing – Activities

Skull Sleuthing – Puppet Show

Dinner Guest Dilemmas

Characters: Sally Squirrel, Molly Mole, Willy Weasel, Benjy Bear

Props: foods like corn cobs, apples, blueberries, clover

Sally Squirrel  I hope I have everything ready for my dinner party. My guests should be arriving any time now. (knocking sound) Here’s someone now!

Molly Mole  Hi, Sally Squirrel. Am I the first one here?

Squirrel  Yes, come right in, Molly Mole. May I offer you some acorn appetizers?

Mole  Acorns? Oh, no thank you, Sally. I can’t eat acorns. Continue reading Skull Sleuthing – Puppet Show

Skull Sleuthing – Standards

SKULL SLEUTHING ALIGNMENT WITH
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE 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 Skull Sleuthing – Standards

Birds of a Feather – Background

In the fashion world of birds, anything goes. From crimson cardinals to loons in elegant black and white, from portly turkeys with rusty fan-tails to sky-diving falcons in steely gray, birds carry it off with panache. The diversity of birds is amazing, with 10,000 species worldwide living in habitats as different as tropical jungles and frozen tundra, and ranging in size from the tiniest hummingbirds to condors with ten-foot wingspans. Birds’ fashions may seem exotic, but they are also functional, adaptations for each bird’s particular environment and way of life. Continue reading Birds of a Feather – Background

Birds of a Feather – Activities

FOCUS: All birds share a similar body plan with two legs, beaks, wings, light-weight bones, and feathers. Unique to birds, feathers are an extremely versatile body covering. They provide warm, light-weight insulation, a streamlined shape, colors and patterns for hiding or attracting a mate, and of course they are essential for flight. Birds live in a variety of different habitats, eating a wide range of foods. Each species’ beak, feet, shape, color, and behavior are adapted to meet its particular needs.

INTRODUCTION
Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about bird bodies.

Give small groups of children a variety of feathers to examine, and ask them to discuss what they notice and wonder about them.

Materials: feathers, magnifying lenses.

FEATHER SORTING
Objective: To observe different kinds of feathers, considering their different functions.

Have children work in small groups, at tables. Give each group a small pile of mixed feathers including flight, contour, and downy feathers. Ask the children to sort their feathers into groups of similar feathers. Continue reading Birds of a Feather – Activities

Birds of a Feather – Puppet Show

Fine Feathers Fashion Revue

 

Characters: Blue Jay, Harriet Hare, Wendy Woodcock, Mr. Cardinal, Mr. Mallard Duck.

Props: Loony-bird costume.

Blue Jay Welcome one and all to the

Fine Feathers Fashion Revue!

Hare  What’s a revue?

Blue Jay It’s a show with lots of different performers showing what they can do. Continue reading Birds of a Feather – Puppet Show

Birds of a Feather – Standards

BIRDS OF A FEATHER ALIGNMENT WITH
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE 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 Birds of a Feather – Standards

Calling All Owls – Background

Many of us have stories of owls flying across the road in front of our cars, calling eerily outside our windows, or quietly staring at us from a tree on a misty gray day. We recall these encounters vividly, for owls are such fascinating and mysterious creatures. As nighttime hunters, owls have incredibly specialized eyes, ears, feathers, feet, and digestion, all of which contribute to their superior predatory ability. Their calls are unique too, and, though strange and foreign to our ears, they are an important adaptation for owls to communicate with each other. Continue reading Calling All Owls – Background

Calling All Owls – Activities

FOCUS: Owls are birds of prey with many special adaptations related to their lives as nighttime hunters. With soft wings, huge eyes, and superb hearing, they can detect the slightest sound or movement and swoop down silently on their unsuspecting prey. Owl pellets tell us about their food preferences, and their calls, an adaptation for communicating with others of their kind, tell us which owls are living in our area.

Introduction
Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about owls.

Turn off the classroom lights, and play a Barred Owl call. Ask children what they think about when they hear the sound. Then show a photo of a Barred Owl, and ask children to draw it.

Materials: audio recording of Barred Owl call, photo of Barred Owl, paper or journals, and pencils.

SEEING WITH OWL EYES
Objective: To investigate and model differences between owls’ eyes and our own.

Show the children pictures of owls, paying special attention to the eyes. Are they on either side of the head or in the front? (In front, facing forward.) Continue reading Calling All Owls – Activities

Calling All Owls – Puppet Show

The Bedtime Story

 

Characters: Father mouse, young mouse, Great Horned Owl

Mouse  Daddy, will you tell me a bedtime story?

Father Mouse  Okay, how about a story about an owl?

Mouse  Oooh, a scary story. I like scary stories.

Father Mouse  Once upon a time there was a little mouse, and in the woods nearby there lived a great horned owl. The owl slept all day long, but as soon as it got dark out, it would wake up and sing out into the darkness…(Father exits, owl enters) Continue reading Calling All Owls – Puppet Show

Calling All Owls – Standards

CALLING ALL OWLS ALIGNMENT WITH
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE 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 Calling All Owls – Standards

Daunting Defenses – Background

Plants and animals need defenses to keep from being eaten. Nearly all animals have predators of one kind or another, and eluding capture usually means running away, hiding, or both. But when avoidance fails and the predator gets too near, most animals still have an effective last line of defense. Plants need defenses too, for protection from the many animals that feed upon them. Plants can’t run away or hide, but they have evolved a diverse armory of useful adaptations for fending off herbivores. Continue reading Daunting Defenses – Background