Lesson Plan

Hoofin' It! - Scavenger Hunt

distant sheep on a mountainside
Dall sheep traversing a steep slope
NPS Photo

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Subject:
Biology: Animals
Duration:
30 - 45 minutes
Setting:
indoors
Keywords:
team work, Scavenger hunt

Overview

The lesson plans in our 'Hoofin' It!' unit help students learn the basics of animal classification and what characteristics are common to mammals, mainly through studying Dall sheep.

Lesson thirteen is a game helping students understand the role of wildlife in their own lives.

Objective(s)

Students will be able to describe how wildlife impacts our lives.

Background

The "Hoofin' It!" unit explores the natural resource management of Dall sheep in the national parks of northwest Alaska. Students will learn about Dall sheep, where they live, how they have adapted to their environment, and how wildlife biologists study them to understand how to protect their populations within national parklands. Links to other lessons in the unit can be found at page bottom.

Dall sheep are a wild sheep that lives on steep mountain slopes across the Alaska. The sheep are an integral part of the natural ecosystem, and they are prized by subsistence and recreational hunters. In the early 1990s, the Dall sheep population in the Baird Mountains of Noatak National Preserve declined dramatically, losing half its population in two years. Wildlife managers closed the sheep hunting season for seven years to allow the population to grow again.

Why did the population drop so suddenly? What are the natural and human factors that affect the Dall sheep population? In the spring of 2000, Brad Shults, a wildlife biologist for the National Park Service, began a research project to learn more about Dall sheep population dynamics. Shults hopes to better understand sheep by studying the number of lambs that are born, how long sheep live, what are the most common causes of death, where do they go from season to season, and just how many sheep are there?

Procedure

Before You Begin

Review the both vertebrate fact sheet and the Dall sheep fact sheet.

Activity 

  1. Divide the group into four or five teams and pass out a copy of the Scavenger Hunt Clues to each student. 
  2. Explain that each team is to find pictures that fit each clue. They can look in magazines, newspapers, or on the Internet. They can also draw their own pictures of the animals. Adapt, add or eliminate clues to fit the needs of your students. < 
  3. You can give the students as much time as you like—it can be a race, or a homework assignment. When they are done, go over the list of clues and compare each team’s pictures. 
  4. Discuss why students choose certain animals for the clues and how animals impact our lives. 
Extension 

Have each team make a mural by gluing their pictures on a large piece of paper. Have them think up a title for their mural. With more limited time, simply have students write down the name of the animals.

You can score groups by giving:
  • 1 point: for each animal listed that another group also listed for that clue. 
  • 2 points: for each animal listed that no group listed for that clue, but that any group listed for another clue. 
  • 3 points: for each animal that was not listed by any group for any clue. 
Suggested Assessment

Have the students individually pick one animal and write or draw the relationship to humans.


Additional Resources

The "Hoofin' It!" unit explores the natural resource management of Dall sheep in the national parks of northwest Alaska. Students will learn about Dall sheep, where they live, how they have adapted to their environment, and how wildlife biologists study them to understand how to protect their populations within national parklands.

This unit is designed for grades K-12. Many of the lesson plans are appropriate for younger grades, although the later part of the unit are geared towards middle and high school. A class needn't do every lesson in the unit to gain insights into wildlife management - each can be approached as a stand-alone lesson on a particular biology-related topic.

<>Lesson 1
Hoofin' It! - What Do You Know?

(Understanding taxonomy; k - 12th grade)
Lesson 2
Hoofin' It! - Vertebrate Grab Game

(Exploring types of vertebrates; 3rd - 6th grade) 
Lesson 3
Hoofin' It! Vertebrate Mysteries

(A vertebrate matching game; 8th - 12th grade)
Lesson 4
Hoofin' It! Special Parts

(Animal adaptations; k - 12th grade)
Lesson 5
Hoofin' It! Hard to See?

(Camoflague; k - 8th grade)
Lesson 6
Hoofin' It! - Sheep Maneuvers

(A predator-prey game; k - 12th grade)
Lesson 7
Hoofin' It - Year of the Sheep

(Life cycle of a Dall sheep; 3rd - 12th grade)
Lesson 8
Hoofin' It! - Who's Got My Habitat?

(Habitat and wildlife populations; 3rd - 12th grade)
Lesson 9
Hoofin' It! - Habitat Grid

(Exploring wildlife habitat; k - 3rd grade)
Lesson 10
Hoofin' It! - Through the Seasons

(A game looking at seasonal impacts on wildlife; 2nd - 11th grade)
Lesson 11
Hoofin' It! - Population Art

(Intro to counting wildlife populations; k - 2nd grade
<>Lesson 12
Hoofin' It! - Population Calculation
(Graphing and analyzing sheep population data; 6th - 10th grade)
Lesson 13
Hoofin' It! - Scavenger Hunt

(A game connecting students to wildlife; k - 6th grade)
Lesson 14
Hoofin' It! - Field Sampling

(How scientists count wildlife populations; k - 12th grade)
Lesson 15
Hoofin' It! The Bean Counters: Mark-Recapture

(Learning to use the mark-recapture method for population surveys; 5th - 12th grade)