Classroom Activities and Printable Activity Sheets
Winter 2007 Becoming a Winter Wildlife Detective
Feed the Birds
Materials needed for each student: pine cone, string, popsicle stick, peanut butter*, bird seed*
* If you are concerned about peanut allergies, substitute suet (beef fat) for the peanut butter and select bird seed without peanuts.
Student Instructions: Tie the string around the pine cone so you can hang it outside when it's done. Use the popsicle stick to cover the pine cone with peanut butter, stuffing it into all of the cracks. Roll the pine cone in bird seed, pushing as many seeds into the peanut butter as possible. Hang the pine cone outside and wait for the birds to find it. Refill it as often as needed. Keep a record of which birds visit your feeder and what their favorite foods are. (Note: Squirrels like these too, and may bite the string and take the whole pine cone away. Make a bunch in case the squirrels take some.)
Make your own "binoculars"
Materials needed for each student: two empty toilet paper tubes, string
Shared materials: stapler, single hole punch, crayons or coloring pencils
Student Instructions: Line the tubes up side by side and staple them together. Punch a hole near one end of each tube and tie the string between them so you can hang your "binoculars" around your neck. Decorate them with drawings of the animals you've seen. Take your binoculars outside and look through them to spot wildlife. They won't make distant things appear closer, but they will help you to focus on one animal or object at a time to concentrate on it closely.
When studying animals in the classroom try out the Scat Rap, it's all about animal droppings. Have your students make up their own verses about what they find as they explore outdoors.
If you find scat while you're exploring outdoors, use a stick or wear rubber gloves and break it apart. Try to figure out what kind of animal left the scat, and what it ate. Though not scat, owl pellets are fascinating to dissect since they contain bones, in addition to fur. Class sets of sterilized owl pellets for dissection are available from science suppliers.
The Scat Rap
It starts with an "S" and it ends with "T"
It comes out of you and it comes out of me.
I know what you're thinking, but, don't say that.
The scientific word for that is scat.
You're walking through the woods and your nose goes "ooh".
You know some animal's laid scat near you.
It may seem gross, well that's O.K.
They don't have toilets to flush it away.
Now don't go screamin' and loose your lunch
If you picked it apart you could learn a bunch about - SCAT
If you wanna find out what animals eat.
Take a good look at what they excrete.
Inside of their scat are all kinds of clues,
Parts of food their bodies can't use and that's - SCAT
If you park your car in a woods or a field
You might find scat on your windshield.
Some of it's purple and the rest of it's white
You just got bombed by a bird in flight and that's SCAT
It tells us what they eat and it tells us who they are
That's what we know about scat so far.
If you wanna find out what animals are around,
The place to start looking is the scat on the ground.
Words based on "Scat Rap" written by Rodd Pemble, Mary Keebler and Andy Bennett,
Great Smoky Mountain Institute.
Word adaptation and music by Peter Moore and Tom Ernst.