Lesson Plan

Hoofin' It! - Wildlife Management

Overall Rating

Add your review (0 reviews)
Grade Level:
Twelfth Grade
Subject:
Wilderness, Wildlife Biology, Wildlife Management
Keywords:
Dall sheep, research, oral presentation

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.

This lesson, the last in the unit, has students conduct research, write and present an oral presentation, and create an informational display on their topic.

Objective(s)

Students will learn how to ask scientific questions and design a research project.

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?

Materials

Provide your students with these resources to aid in their research project.

Dall Sheep Fact Sheet

Dall Sheep Taxonomy
 
Abundance and demography of Dall sheep in the Baird Mountains, Noatak National Preserve, Alaska - A Final Study Plan. 1999. Available from Western Arctic Parklands, National Park Service.

Procedure

Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, in southeast Alaska, is the largest national park in the United States. Wrangell - St. Elias protects large Dall sheep populations. In fact, it protects approximately one-third of all the breeding Dall sheep in the world. Just how many sheep it protects, no one is quite sure. That's why we need your help.

As a wildlife biologist from the Baird Mountains in Noatak National Preserve also in Alaska, you have been studying Dall sheep populations for over 15 years. You have been using a series of techniques to study their population size, and what factors are important in determining that size.

You have been called in by Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve staff to work with their wildlife biologists and resource managers to develop a Dall sheep management program to protect this important population of Dall sheep. Create a poster, powerpoint presentation, brochure, or a paper describing the management program for park managers.

The management program needs to include:

  1. A research plan to answer questions about the population size and health. 

  2. A management plan - how will the Park Service use the information it gets from the research to preserve the Dall sheep population. What are factors important to the Dall sheep life cycle that the park must also protect? 

  3. An education program - how will the researchers and managers communicate their work to the public and to explain to the public the importance of the park's mission to preserve the species within its boundaries, including Dall sheep, and the habitat they depend upon.

Assessment

 Criteria   Above Proficiency  Proficient  Not Proficient 
Research and Gather Information:

  1. research plan
  2. management plan
  3. education program
Develops a great deal of information -- all relates to the topic.

Develops information on all 3 topics.
Develops some basic information -- most relates to all 3 topics.

Develops detailed information, but covers only 2 topics.
Develops very little information -- some relates to the topic.

Develops detailed information, but covers only 1 topic.
Oral Presentation Engaging beginning, middle and end to the presentation.

Speaks very clearly and at an appropriate pace. Has good eye contact with the audience.
Includes beginning, middle and end to the presentation.

Speech is understandable.

Has moderate eye contact with the audience
Evidence of beginning and end of the presentation. Speaks too quickly or too slowly.

Has poor eye contact with the audience.
Informational Display Clear depiction and incorporation of many elements of golden eagle ecology research and protection. Effective and accurate use of writing conventions. Fluent and articulate writing.

 Effective organization and presentation with thoughtful information and strong supporting details. Graphics offer support of text
Incorporates some of elements of golden eagle ecology research and protection.

Effective and accurate use of writing conventions. Presentation is organized and uses details well. Some graphics.
Presentation lacks organization. Writing conventions are not always followed.

Presentation has little information with either no graphics or the graphics do not support the text.
Creativity Original and thoughtful ideas. Illustrations portray the information in an original way.

The illustration is original and the connection to the material is original.
Ideas are thoughtful and somewhat original.

 Illustrations are creative, but their means of portraying information is not.
Ideas are not original, presentation is not original

Illustrations not original and are not effective at portraying information.



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)