Spring is fast approaching, and with the warming temperatures many animals will soon be out and about searching for food and mates. With this in mind, this week we are featuring three lessons covering the topic of animal behavior. If you would like to have a fellow come to your class to help with these lessons (or any of the other lesson plans found in our interactive table ) please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our fellows will get back to you!
Featured Lesson Plans:
In this lesson students will investigate squirrel foraging behavior to examine the role squirrels play as both seed predators and dispersers. Students will conduct an experiment where they measure squirrel removal of seeds from a seed trap to determine their activity in a variety of habitats – including forest and open field. Using this data, students will go through the scientific method, from hypothesis generation to conclusion. Students will also be introduced to Project Squirrel, a citizen science database where students can submit and explore data on squirrel behavior.
If you are looking to engage your students in a research-based scientific experience then this is the lesson plan for you! Inquiry based activities are one of the best ways to teach science to students. Having students take an active role in collecting data and gathering evidence keeps them engaged while reinforcing the critical notion that claims be supported by evidence. This lesson plan provides teachers with a fun but relatively simple template for creating student research projects using antipredator behavior in crickets. Students will examine hiding behavior in crickets and determine how/whether certain variables of interest (e.g. sex, food availability, light level, etc.) influence hiding. This lesson provides students with experience formulating hypotheses and predictions, designing simple experiments, collecting and interpreting data, and presenting results.
In this lesson students will learn about animal mimicry and how it can evolve. Mimicry refers to a similarity between more than one species, often for the purpose of protection. Mimicry can be visual, acoustic, or behavioral. For example, a non-poisonous species may closely resemble a poisonous species, providing the non-poisonous species a degree of protection. Students will see examples of several fascinating mimics, and play a scavenger hunt game using Easter eggs to demonstrate the benefits of mimicry and how the benefits can change under different environmental conditions.