Wildlife is everywhere- on land, in soil, in water, and in the air. Wildlife scientists study wildlife to learn how they live and interact with the environment. These scientists may focus on one wildlife species or a group of species during their studies. They record observations made with their senses and other tools.
Help your kids become wildlife scientists
- Where do you see wild animals?
- What are the animals doing?
- How do the animals react?
- What signs of animals do you see?
Encourage your students to pretend they are trying to observe wildlife in different habitats like wildlife scientists do.
- Crawl through a small cave to observe a bat
- Wade through a marsh to get closer to a beaver’s dam
- Hike through woods thick with trees and vines looking for a woodpecker
Talk a walk outside to practice listening for wildlife sounds. Stop often and have children close their eyes. Ask them to raise a finger when they hear a new sound.
- How many new sounds did you hear?
- Can you hear better with your eyes closed?
- Did you hear any sounds made by wildlife?
Field biologists often get down on their hands and knees to "mimic" the tracks they see to help identify the animal and understand what it was doing at that particular moment. Have your students imitate the movements of wildlife.
- Raccoon - students get on their hands and knees and move from one spot to another, investigating the path they take
- Deer - students gather as a group, each looking in a different direction; students walk away then run and jump
- Insect - pairs of students work together to move all the "legs" at the proper time
- Bobcat - students get on their hands and knees and slowly move one leg and arm at a time as they stay as close to the ground as possible
Visit the Growing Up WILD website for a printable card you can share with parents to extend learning at home with family and friends.
Music and Movement Connections
Cut out pictures of wildlife commonly found in Iowa and put into a hat. One at a time, each student pulls a out a picture from the hat. He/she must act out how that animal moves, looks, or acts in nature, while the other students try to guess what kind of animal it is. There can be no sounds, only actions.
This could also be a group activity. Students could work as teams and together act out the animal while the other team guesses what kind of animal it is.
Students work in small groups. Show students pictures of plants and animals commonly found in Iowa. As a group, students chose plants and animals and create a series of dance movements (e.g., horse trot, dog shake, bunny hop, frog leap, cat pounce, snake slither, grapevine). Groups perform their dance for the class.