Group Title: Environmental teaching plans
Title: Where are the animals?
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 Material Information
Title: Where are the animals?
Series Title: Environmental teaching plans
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: St. Croix Environmental Education Team
Publisher: Division of Fish and Wildlife
Place of Publication: Frederiksted, VI
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300920
Volume ID: VID00067
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Author: Eulalie R. Rivera Elementary School
Environmental Education Team

Grade Level: 4-6

Concepts: Disciplines:
2. Ecosystem 1. Science
9. Management 2. Social Studies
12.Stewardship 3. Language Arts
4. Art

By library research on natural history of animals, together with outdoor
investigation of animals and animal signs, students will be able to explain the
concepts of habitat, community, and food chains.

This activity develops the following concepts:

1. Different kinds of plants and animals are found living in different.

2. Each type of plant or animal living in a community has its own special needs
and abilities. Those needs and abilities will determine exactly where in
the community the animal or plant will live. This area is its habitat.

3. If you can predict what a plant or animal needs to live, you have a better
chance of finding it. The more accurate information you have on its needs,
the more likely you are to know just where to look.

We are all part of a community. By studying the above concepts, the students
will have an understanding of man's role in nature and have information which
will enable them to make decisions about man's actions.

Materials Needed:
Clipboards, pencils, data sheets, binoculars, magnifying glasses, small jars (to
observe insects or pond samples--not for collection), field guides.

Before doing the exploration part of the exercise go over the terms and inclass


Before you go:

1. Terms

Community as used here is an area where plants and animals live
together and depend on each other a school yard, a forest, a coral
reef, a rocky shore, a cane piece, the strips of grass along the street.
If anything is removed from a community, this loss will affect
the other members. "

Habitat the place a plant or animal lives. This doesn't just mean the
shelter or sleeping spot but the whole area where it fulfills needs of
food, water, air, shelter, protection, reproduction, etc.

Animals (not just mammals or vertebrates) any living thing that is not
a plant.

2. Ideas

a. Your habitat must have what you use to live. What do you need to live?
What things would you actually die without? What does a pigeon need?
A spider? What common things do all animals need? (Air, water, food,
shelter or protection, proper climate, more of their own kind, room
to move around, etc.)

b. You can lead into the idea of a biological community by combining the
concept of "habitat" with the more familiar idea of a social community.
We need, in our habitat, food, water, shelter, provision for garbage
and waste, non-poisonous air, a way to get from place to place, etc.
We depend on other people" in our community to provide us with these
things we need. We depend on other animals and on plants, too, of
course, but these may come from another area, so we depend on other
people to bring them to us. What other things do we get in our

An example of a "biological community" might be a forest. Many animals
and plants live in a forest community and depend on one another for the
different habitat needs of each. A rat depends on a tree for food,
shelter, and protection. A tree may depend on a worm to keep the soil
loose, Which may depend on the tree for shade. A bat might eat the
mango. What else could happen in this forest? What needs what? (And
who takes care of the garbage?)

c. Many animals are not tame. They hide from you and from other large
animals. We can find out they're here, however, by finding the signs
they leave around. This animal study can be compared to a detective
hunting for clues to discover what's around.


Some animal clues are spiderwebs, tracks, droppings, feathers,
half-eaten seeds, burrows, holes in trees, holes in leaves, bird
sounds, termite nests, shed deer antlers.

d. We don't have to collect, kill, or destroy living things to learn
about them. Doing this upsets the very delicate balance of life in
a community. Don't collect the insects they may pollinate a
flower, be food for a frog, or help something decay. The almond may
be a rat's lunch. The bunch of weeds may be something's home,
protection or food. Even a feather can be reused and be important
to something in the community.

3. Activities

a. Search the school room for animals and animal signs flies, spider-
webs, silverfish. Check dark corners, underneath cupboards, under
boxes on the floor, on any plants, inside and outside window ledges.
What kind of animals find the school room a good habitat? Why don't

b. Have the children see how many animals and animal signs large and
small pets and wild they can find on their way to and from school.
Have them make predictions of what they'll find and where they'll
find it. Were they right? What else did they find? What were the
animals doing?

You might expand this to having each child sketch a map of his walk
to school, and fill in where the animals were seen.

c. Going farther with (a), you might have them figure out (or look up)
why they saw some of those animals what are the food, shelter,
water requirements and how are they met?

d. Divide the class into teams of 4-6. Assign one student as team
leader, another as recorder, and the rest as observers. The observers
should have hand lenses which they share with the rest of their team.

The Field Trip
Start the class at one habitat type, (school yard, pond, pasture, rocky shore).
Go over the directions. When finished with one habitat type proceed to another.

Use one data sheet for each habitat type.
1. The recorder should make a simple sketch of the profile of vegetation.
The sketch should be arranged by height with enough space to write in
observations (see example).


Remember that on land or sea each food chain starts with a green plant,
for green plants are the only living things that can use the sun's
energy to produce food. Plant eaters can then convert the plant food
into energy usable by meat eaters.

4. Play a "Community Relationships" game.
Make a sign for each animal you found in some of the communities. Also
make a sign for some of the different plants. Add one for "Sun" and
one for "Decomposers" (fungus, scavenging insects, bacteria,) ,which
break down dead plants and animals, if the students don't think of

Pass the signs out to different members of the class. Have the class tell
what the relationships are. (Does a dove need a tree? How?) (Does the
tree need the sun? How? etc.) Take a ball of string or yarn and connect
each relationship the children find. Soon the room should be all tangled

Then emphasize how important each thing is by asking questions like
"What would be affected if the chincherie died?" "What would happen if
we cut down all the trees?" "What would happen if we cut down half the

As each thing "dies", have the properly labeled child drop all his pieces
of string. Can the community be reconstructed? If it can, how different
would it be?

5. Many changes take place in the community over a year. Some animals leave
or die or go underground. Some can stay because they can stand any changes
which might take place. These might include changes in temperature, food
supply, shelter, water availability, and others.

Which of the animals you found are around all year? Do they make any
changes? What? (metamorphosis)

6. Once you have made up some food chains, you can make up a food pyramid.
This is a number of grouping by food needs of plant and animal eaters.

A green plant is a food producer.

A plant eater (grasshopper) is a primary consumer.


2. Record the animals and animal signs on the data sheets. If an animal
moves from one level to another, use an arrow to show where it went.

3. Write down the names of the animal or animal signs if you can. If it is
a new animal or a strange sign record it by drawing it or by careful
description. (See example in data sheet be specific ,when describing
animals.) "A bug" is not a careful description. "Red bug, six legs,
black spots, pencil eraser size" is better.

4. Keep track of the number of each animal or animal sign found at each
level. For example:

.f mosquito

5. Stay in one habitat area for each data sheet. Use a new sheet for each
new area. Spend about 20 minutes in each area. Look carefully, on the
ground, under things, in trees and shrubs and in the air. In tide pools,
look under rocks.

6. Do not hurt or remove any animals. We are guests in their homes and
should treat them as our hosts. Return any rocks or tree limbs which
you might move. Don't collect nests or other treasures.

7. If possible, draw, or take pictures of each area.

Possible Follow-up Activities:
1. Make a large chart (possibly simply a large copy of the data sheet) or a
mural on which you compile everyone's information. Figure out where the
most animals were found. Why were they found there?

2. Break down animals found into different groups bird, mammal, insect,
fish, reptile, etc.

What kind of group had the most kinds in it?
What specific kinds of animals did you find most of? Why?
(What habitats food, shelter, protection, were available?)

3. See if you can put together any food chains from your data. A food chain
is a "what-eats-what" relationship.


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Ir eaten by)

E. T.


An animal that eats the plant eater is a
secondary consumer (lizard).

An animal that eats the secondary consumer
is a tertiary consumer (cat).

This can get complicated, because the order changes according to what's
eaten. If a mouse eats a berry, he's a primary consumer. If he eats a
grasshopper, he's a secondary consumer.

The more varied an animal's diet, the more likely he is to live through changes
in his environment. An animal that eats only one kind of food (koala bears eat
only eucalyptus leaves) won't survive a change which harms his food. An animal
that eats many foods (rats eat grain, garbage, almost anything) has a better
chance of surviving changes affecting food availability.


4th order
1 Hawk

1 cat 3rd order
3 lizards consumers
2 mon ooses
1 mouse 2nd order
tree frog 3 spider consumers
2 chincheries 5 ants

13 grasshoppers 3 worms 1st order
7 caterpillars consumers
2 deer 57 aphids- 1 moth

Green Plants

/ -

This sample is made up on
the basis of what many of
those mentioned often eat.

Remember the hawk
doesn't eat cats. He's just
a 5th level consumer on this
sample. (He could also be a
second order consumer if he
ate a mouse instead of a

What levels can people be? How many levels were you on when you were eating
your breakfast?

E. T.


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holes in tre tbrunak


Finding animals and animal signs in a

Team Members: Leader



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