Students will begin to learn to identify mammal tracks at Great Sand Dunes and learn to notice the difference between animal track shapes.
This activity is for beginner naturalists. Learning simple shapes will prepare students to be able to notice the difference between animal tracks when they visit Great Sand Dunes. Many of the tracks found within this card game are commonly found out on the dunes and in the sand near Medano Creek.
Explore Great Sand Dunes' web pages on animals to learn more about the creatures that may leave tracks in the sand.
Track Memory Cards(PDF), Mammal Tracks of Great Sand Dunes(optional, PDF)
Print out two copies of Track Memory Cards per pair on colored cardstock. Cut the cards out along the dotted lines.
This game is played like Memory or Concentration. All the cards are shuffled and laid out with track-side down. Players take turns flipping up two cards for all to see, then turning them back over. If the cards are a match, the player keeps the cards. If the player makes a match, the player goes again. If no match is made, the cards are returned to their original positions and it is the next player's turn. When all the cards have been collected by players, the game is over. The player with the most cards is the Master Tracker!
Discuss the tracks with your students and compare their shapes and forms. Consider these questions with your students: How do the animals use the components of their tracks? (For example, the claws of a badger are used for digging and catching prey.) How are the tracks similar? How do they differ? How do carnivore tracks differ from herbivore tracks?