Enduring Understanding: Animals have adaptations that help them survive.
Essential Question: Why do these salamanders have bright spots?
The students will:
1) Correctly color a picture of a spotted salamander
2) Learn that bright spots on an animal can mean danger
3) Learn that human-made toys do not always represent reality.
1.) Teacher Information Sheet
2.) Spotted Salamander
3.) Photos of Salamanders
5.) Option: A loudly colored stuffed animal that is not representative of the actual coloration of the animal it represents: For example, a line green-pink polka dotted stuffed pony
Student Task: The students will correctly color a picture of a spotted salamander. Students will look at pictures of spotted salamanders and learn that their bright spots warn other animals that they are poisonous. They may taste something like a very strong tasting lemon.
Discussion - Ask the students:
1.) Has anyone ever seen a spotted salamander? (Explain that they live in Mississippi and there are a lot that live along the Natchez Trace Parkway.)
2.) What do they look like? (Show the students pictures of spotted salamanders)
3.) What do you think about how they look?
4.) Did you know that their bright yellow spots are like a stop sign? (Explain that scientists discovered that the spots remind predators that they are not good to eat.)
5.) Have you ever tasted a lemon? (Explain that these salamanders would taste like a very strong lemon)
6.) How does tasting terrible protect an animal? (It will be spit out, and the predator will not try that food again.)
7.) Can you think of any other animals that are black and yellow? (bees) What about black and white? (skunks) Option: Comparing toy animal with actual spotted salamander.
8.) Why is this (pony) brightly colored?
• Answers will vary but should cover the fact that many people like brightly colored objects
9.) Is this the way real (ponies) are colored?
• As necessary, the teacher will review that in nature, bright colors often mean danger.
Teacher Closure: Tell students that if they see a brightly colored stuffed animal it means "Cuddle" but in nature bright markings it often means "keep back!"
1.) Review the spotted salamander when teaching about other animals.
2.) The teacher may introduce the students to the concept that the salamanders have trouble crossing the roads. They do not know to look both ways before they cross the street.