White-tailed Deer – Background

Along the forest edge a small group of deer grazes quietly. Always alert for danger, the deer frequently lift their heads to sniff the wind. Suddenly a white tail goes up and they bound away, melting into the trees. The speed, grace, and agility we so admire in the white-tailed deer are the result of their place as prey animals in the forest food web. Though shy and elusive, these large herbivores leave tracks and signs that tell us about their lives, their connections to other woodland inhabitants, and their impact on the forest itself.

White-tailed deer are among the largest herbivores in our forests, and they consume a lot of vegetation. Continue reading White-tailed Deer – Background

White-tailed Deer – Activities

FOCUS: White-tailed deer are big animals and require a lot of food to survive, so they can have a profound impact on the forests in which they live, and on the many other inhabitants as well. As plant-eaters, seed-planters and sometimes food for large predators, deer are connected in countless ways to the other living things in their woodland homes.

Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about White-tailed Deer.

Give one item from the deer set to each small group of children. Ask children to take a close look at their object and write down one thing they notice and one thing they wonder.

Materials: Deer Set: deer antlers, skull, pelt, hoof, plus deer and rabbit browse; journals or clipboards and paper, pencils, magnifying lenses.

Objective: To think about the connections between a deer’s physical adaptations and its role in the forest ecosystem.

In small groups, give children a chance to hold and study different deer parts such as those listed below. Use the Deer Set Study guide questions to help children think about each part and how it relates to a deer’s life. Answers are provided on the Deer Set Study Guide Key. Consider the following topics: Continue reading White-tailed Deer – Activities

White-tailed Deer – Puppet Show

A Couple of Bucks

Characters: Benny Buck, Billy Buck (both spikehorns), Oak Sapling, Sally Squirrel, Smiley Coyote.

Benny Buck  I am the biggest herbivore in the forest, so look out!

Sapling Herbivore? What do you mean by that?

Benny Buck  You know, it means I eat plants.

Sapling I was afraid of that. But you aren’t the biggest plant-eater, you know, because moose are bigger than you. Continue reading White-tailed Deer – Puppet Show

White-tailed Deer – 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 White-tailed Deer – Standards