WHALES (Long Distance Learning) - Conservation Education

By Irene Thompson,2014-06-05 19:08
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WHALES (Long Distance Learning) - Conservation Education


    Rare Finds of Texas

    Pre/Post Activities

    thGRADE LEVEL: 7 grade


    Students will learn about the animals inhabiting the various Texas eco-regions.


    1. Identify the components of an ecosystem.

    2. Explain how an animal‟s adaptations enable it to survive in a particular ecosystem. 3. State the reasons for animal endangerment.

    4. Research and create an endangered animal mobile that depicting the animal‟s

     lifestyle, reasons for endangerment and possible solutions to the problem.


    Social Studies

    9a Identify ways in which Texans have adapted to and modified the environment

     and analyze the consequences of the modifications.


    10a Compare traits of organisms of different species that enhance their survival

     and reproduction.

    5b Identify components of an ecosystem.

    8a Describe how different environments support different varieties of organisms.


    Exploring Texas Eco-regions: Print the Texas eco-regions map found on this website. Provide a copy of this map to each student. Have students use their Social Studies textbook, reference books, atlases and the internet to discover more about each Texas eco-region.

    1. Have students determine what the symbols in the key represent for each eco-region. 2. Using colored pencils, students locate and label a major city in each of the eco-regions. 3. Have students use a blue pencil or crayon to draw in and label a major river that flows

    through at least three eco-regions.

    4. Students then label the Gulf of Mexico, the states bordering Texas, and Mexico.

    1 Rare Finds of Texas

    Property of the Dallas Zoo and The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park Education Department

    5. Students research and indicate on the Texas eco-region map the average rainfall for

    each eco-region. Using this information, have students predict the types of plants and

    animals likely be found in each area.

    Understanding Endangerment: Students will participate in a role-playing activity to better understand why animals become endangered.

    1. Shrinking Habitats:

    a. Place 25 twigs on the floor and choose five students to play animals. Tell each

    animal to build a nest using five twigs. Each animal will to build a nest with no


    b. Scatter the twigs again. Choose another student to play a human who needs

    material to build a house. Have the human take away eight twigs. Then instruct the

    five animals to try to build nests again. Clearly there will be a problem.

    c. Repeat, this time with two humans removing eight twigs each, leaving even fewer

    twigs for the animals.

    d. Discuss what happened. Have students give examples in their community. 2. Overcrowding posing a threat to an animal‟s food supply:

    a. Hold hands in a large circle, representing the habitat. Scatter 25 peanuts (the food

    source). Choose three students (representing animals of the same species) to go

    inside the circle at a given signal. Each pick up five peanuts, one at a time (the

    minimum needed for survival). All three meet their food needs.

    b. Re-form the circle and scatter the food again. This time choose six students to

    scramble for the food. Since the habitat is now more crowded, at least one can‟t

    eat enough food.

    c. Continue to increase the number entering the circle. Point out how gradual

    overcrowding makes it increasingly difficult for individuals to survive.

    d. Discuss the type of behavior the role-playing students displayed as more “animals”

    competed for food (crowding, tension and aggression most likely result, mimicking

    what often happens in nature).

    3. Introduction of a new species into a habitat:

    a. Hold hands in a circle (the habitat). Scatter 25 peanuts (food source). Choose

    three students (native animal), give them spoons and at the signal tell them to go

    inside the circle and pick up five peanuts, one at a time. They have no trouble

    meeting their needs.

    b. Then re-form the circle and pick three more students to represent members of the

    introduced species. Tell the new animals they may pick up peanuts with their hands

    one peanut at a time. At the signal, all six go inside the circle the endangered

    native animals using spoons and the introduced animals using their hands. Clearly

    the introduced species have an advantage over the native species.

    2 Rare Finds of Texas

    Property of the Dallas Zoo and The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park Education Department

    c. Discuss reasons why introduced species cause problems for the native species

    (competition for food and the introduced species have no natural enemies in their

    new area).

    4. Other reasons causing endangerment: Summarize reasons why animals become

    endangered from what students discovered through their role-playing. Begin a list on the board and discuss other reasons. Help students understand that many times more than one reason causes an animal species to become endangered. Here are some additional causes of endangerment:

    a. Overhunting Once, animals such as whales and fur-bearing mammals were plentiful.

    The numbers of humans were small, so the animals were not overhunted. Most parts

    of the animals were used for food, clothing, bedding, shelter, and tools. Later,

    modern methods allowed people to kill as many animals as they wanted. Sometimes

    too many animals were killed. When there are too few animals, they have trouble

    finding mates. When there are no offspring, the species faces danger of extinction. b. Poaching Laws protect some endangered plants and animals, yet some are still

    hunted and collected illegally (poaching). Ivory or coral jewelry, fur, feathers, teeth,

    reptile skins and exotic pets and plants are sold illegally. Sometimes people don‟t

    even that a product comes from an endangered species. People must stop buying

    these products for poaching to stop.

    c. Migration Animals that migrate long distances (such as the whooping crane) always

    face more dangers than stay-at-homes (snowy owl). Storms, droughts, and

    predators are threats along the way. The growing population of people and their

    actions causes the biggest problem along the journey.

    d. Low birth rate Some animals give birth to only one or two young every year or

    every two or three years (elephants, bats, condors are examples). When the

    populations of these animals drop, it takes much more time for their populations to

    recover. Sometimes, the animals become extinct before they have time to make a


    Texas Vanishing Wildlife: This activity provides students a working knowledge of the

    terminology and factors affecting potential elimination of wildlife species.

    1. Review and discuss with the students the definitions of threatened, endangered, and extinct as used in wildlife conservation, as well as in the dictionary.

    2. Assign each student a Texas endangered wildlife species from the list following these activities. Have each student research his/her animal to discover its classification category and the principal factors affecting the animal. Much of this information can be obtained from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website

    ( Also, students can contact local chapters of conservation organizations (National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife).

    3 Rare Finds of Texas

    Property of the Dallas Zoo and The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park Education Department

    3. As a class, develop a chart for the animals according to the category in which they are

    classified and the principal factors affecting each animal. Discuss the findings. What

    seems to be the most prevalent factors affecting the animals (habitat loss, pollution,

    impact from introduced species)? Students can also create a bar graph using

    information from the class chart.

    Animal Extinct Endangered Threatened Factors Affecting Animal’s Status


    Elephant Poaching for ivory, drought x

    Gorilla Habitat destruction, poaching for body x

    parts or infants to sell, civil unrest


    Texas Eco-Region Mobile

    1. Divide your class into groups of six students.

    2. Each group should select one Texas endangered animal from the list that follows. 3. Each group must research the following information for their assigned animal:

    a. Geography (Eco-region map)

    b. Adaptations

    c. Habitat description (including diet)

    d. Reasons for endangerment, including possible solutions to the problem. 4. Each group will create a pyramid mobile (described below) detailing the information

    they have researched.

    5. Groups should present their research to the class.

    6. Pyramid Mobile (From Dinah Zike‟s Big Book of Books and Activities):

    a. Fold a sheet of paper (8 ?” x 11”)

     into a “taco” forming a square.

     b. Cut off the excess tab formed by the ;


    c. Open the folded taco and

     refold it the opposite way,

     forming another “taco” and

     an X fold pattern.

    d. Cut up one of the folds to the center

     of the X and stop. This forms two

     triangular shaped flaps.

    e. Glue one of the flaps under the other

    flap, forming a pyramid.

    4 Rare Finds of Texas

    Property of the Dallas Zoo and The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park Education Department

    f. After each group has assembled the mobile, have the students draw or write the

    researched information about their assigned Texas eco-region animal on the mobile

    as shown below.

     Picture of




     Reason(s) for


    Eco-region(s) in

    which the animal

    is found. Use map

    g. After your students have pictures of their endangered animal, the eco-region where

    the animal is found and reasons for endangerment, ask them to find the following

    information: (Should be written on cards and attached, with string, to the

    appropriate side of the mobile).

    ; Specific adaptations the animal has - attach to the side with the picture of

     the animal

    ; Habitat description including what the animal eats - attach to the side with

     the eco-region information

    ; Possible solutions to endangerment issues - attach to the side with reasons

     for endangerment

     Students may choose to attach multiple cards to each side.


     adaptations the animal has. Possible solutions to

     endangerment Habitat description issues. including what the

    animal eats.

    5 Rare Finds of Texas

    Property of the Dallas Zoo and The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park Education Department

    h. To hang the mobile, punch a small hole through the top of the pyramid. Thread a

    knotted piece of string, cord or yarn through the inside and out through the top.

    Wildlife Advocacy: In this activity, each team of students selects a wildlife species from the Texas Endangered species list, which follows these activities. If students completed the Endangered Species Pyramid, they can use the animals they have already researched. Students will become advocates for their selected species. Students will imagine they work for a public relations or advertising firm. Their firm is hired to let the public know that this animal species is endangered and that the public needs to take action now. Teams of students will create a campaign that might include slogans, posters and TV commercials. Teams present their campaign to the rest of the class.

    Who Am I?: Have each student select an endangered or threatened Texas animal species to research. Have him/her research and complete fact cards for the selected animal. The following information should be included on each card:

    ; Animal species ; What is interesting about this animal

    ; Where can it be found ; Why is this animal endangered or threatened

    ; What does it eat ; Five words to describe this animal

    ; How does it protect itself

    After completing the fact cards, each student can use the information about his/her animal to write a riddle in the form of a poem. They should not mention the animal‟s name

    in the poem. Students can then try to guess the endangered animal‟s identity.

     Sample Poem In tall lush trees I do reside

     My fur as green as leaves by my side

     Three long toenails found on my feet

     My slow speed means the ground I rarely meet

     Answer: Three-toed Sloth

Endangered Species of Texas:


     Greater Long-nosed Bat Leptonycteris nivalis

     Sperm Whale Physeter macrocephalus

     Finback Whale Balaenoptera physalus

     Black Right Whale Eubalaena glacialis

     Red Wolf Canis rufus

     Grey Wolf Canis lupus

     Black-footed Ferret Mustela nigripes

     Ocelot Felis pardalis

    6 Rare Finds of Texas

    Property of the Dallas Zoo and The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park Education Department

     Jaguarundi Felis yaguarondi cacomitli

     Jaguar Panthera onca


     Eastern Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis

     Whooping crane Grus americana

     Northern apolomado falcon Falco femoralis septentrionalis

     Attwater‟s Greater prairie chicken Tympanuchus cupido attwateri

     Eskimo curlew Numenius borealis

     Interior least tern Sterna antillarum athalassos

     Red-cockaded woodpecker Picoides borealis

     Southwestern willow flycatcher Empidonax traillii extimus

     Black-capped vireo Vireo atricapillus

     Bachman‟s warbler Vermivora bachmanii

     Golden-cheeked warbler Dendroica chrysoparia


     Atlantic Hawksbill Sea Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata

     Kemp‟s Ridley Sea Turtle Lepidochelys kempii

     Leatherback Sea Turtle Dermochelys coriacea


     Rio Grande Silvery Minnow Hybognathus amarus

     Leon Springs Pupfish (Killifish) Cyprinodon bovinus

     Comanche Springs Pupfish (Killifish) Cyprinodon elegans

     Big Bend Gambusia Gambusia gaigei

     San Marcos Gambusia Gambusia georgei

     Clear Creek Gambusia Gambusia heterochir

     Pecos Gambusia Gambusia nobilis

     Fountain Darter Etheostoma fonticola


     Barton Springs Salamander Eurycea sosorum

     Texas Blind Salamander Eurycea rathbuni

     Houston Toad Bufo houstonensis


     Peck‟s Cave Amphipod Stygobromus pecki

     American Burying Beetle Nicrophorus americanus

     Comal Springs Riffle Beetle Heterelmis comalensis

     Rock-Pocketbook Mussel Arkansia wheeleri

     Cave Spider Cicurina madla, Cicurina baronia, Cicurina venii or Cicurina vespera


    7 Rare Finds of Texas

    Property of the Dallas Zoo and The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park Education Department


    A behavior, physical feature, or other characteristic that helps an Adaptation

    animal or plant survive and make the most of its habitat

    A geographical area; a distinct grouping of plants, animals, climate Eco-region

    and geological features

     The interaction of living and nonliving things in a habitatEcosystem

    Ecosystem = Neighborhood

    Habitat = Home

    A plant or animal species in danger of extinction Endangered

    No members of the species are alive anywhere in the world Extinction

    An area that provides an animal or plant with adequate food, water, Habitat

    shelter and living space in order to survive

    A species so reduced in numbers it is one step away from becoming Threatened



    Fiction Books:

    ; Hamilton, Virginia. Jaguarundi. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc., 1995. ; Van Allsburg, Chris. Just A Dream. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1990.

    Nonfiction Books:

    ; Campbell, Linda. Endangered and Threatened Animals Of Texas. Austin, TX: Texas

    Parks and Wildlife Department Press, 1995.

    ; Damude, Noreen and Bender, Kelly Conrad. Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife.

    Austin, TX: Texas Parks and Wildlife Press, 1999.

    ; Middleton, Susan and Liittschwager, David. Witness. San Francisco, CA: Cronicle

    Press, 1994.

    ; Nirgiotis, Nicholas and Nirgiotis, Theodore. No More Dodos: How Zoos Help

    Endangered Wildlife. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co., 1996.


    ; Offers links to many websites, including sites on curriculum

    ideas and environmental publications

    ; Information on how to create a wildlife

    habitat on your school grounds and how to get your habitat certified as an official

    schoolyard habitat site.

    8 Rare Finds of Texas

    Property of the Dallas Zoo and The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park Education Department

; The map of the seven Texas Eco-

    regions are featured. You select a region to find specific information about features

    of that region. Good resource for your students to obtain information for their


    ; The Children‟s Education Program of Wildlife Trust

    offers curriculum ideas, resource lists, free newsletter, information on research

    projects classrooms can join and much more.

    9 Rare Finds of Texas

    Property of the Dallas Zoo and The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park Education Department

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