Lesson Plan

Nocturnal Lives

Grade Level:
Second Grade-Fifth Grade
Biology: Animals, Ecology, Wildlife Biology
30 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36 (6-12 breakout groups)
indoors or outdoors
National/State Standards:
Science: 2nd grade 2.2; 4th grade 2.1; 5th grade 2.1
wildlife, nocturnal, predator, prey


Students will understand the difficulty nocturnal creatures have and the reasons they come out at night.


Students will understand the difficulty nocturnal creatures have and the reasons they come out at night.


The Great Sand Dunes, as well as many other places in the San Luis Valley, are filled with nocturnal animals. These animals come out at night to eat, hunt, and seek out mates. The purpose of this game is for students to realize that while some animals are out seeking food, predators are seeking them too.

Explore Great Sand Dunes' web pages on animals to learn more about some of the nocturnal creatures of the park.


Blindfolds (optional)


This game is best played at night in a field or sandy area which does not contain obstacles that can hurt the players. This could also be played in a darkened gym or large room with blindfolds. (When played indoors, running should not be allowed.)

Choose two students to be predators. Divide the remaining players into pairs of 'prey'. The goal of this activity is for the prey to elude the predators and not be tagged. Each prey pair must first decide on a secret sound-unique to their pair-that they will use to find each other. The sound must be distinct, yet also must not attract undue attention from the predator.

After dark, in the place you have chosen, divide the prey pairs across the field. The predators will begin in the middle of the area. Explain that prey pairs are to seek their partners out through the use of their secret calls. If a member of a pair is caught before he or she is able to link up with the partner, he or she should give off the secret sound in three rapid calls to let the partner know of the capture. A capture of one in a pair means that both players are out. Pairs that have been tagged out and pairs that have linked up should go to the game area boundary. The object is for both players to find each other without being captured.

Consider using blindfolds on all players if it is not dark enough outside. At the teacher's signal the action will begin.

The last two prey to get caught can be the predator in the next game.


Which sounds were best at eluding the predators and helping the prey pair to link up?

Have your students demonstrate real animal calls and vocalizations that are made by nocturnal animals?

Make a list of reasons why animals have vocalizations.


crepuscular, diurnal, habitat, nocturnal, predator, prey, species, vocalization