Lesson Plan

Does it Belong to me or is it Free?

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Grade Level:
Kindergarten-Fourth Grade
Wildlife Biology, Wildlife Management
15 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
Social Studies: K 3.1; 1st grade 1.2; 2nd grade 1.2, 2.2
wildlife, domesticated


Students will be able to distinguish between wildlife and domesticated animals.


Students will be able to distinguish between wildlife and domesticated animals.


An animal is usually defined to as any living organism other than a plant. Wildlife is any animal that lives in a basically free condition, providing its own food, shelter, and other needs in an environment that serves as a suitable habitat. Wildlife is not tame or domesticated. Wildlife is a term usually placed upon the larger mammals, but wildlife may also include insects, spiders, birds, reptiles, fish, and amphibians.

Although all animals have their origins in wild animals, domesticated animals are those which humans have tamed, kept in captivity, and bred for special purposes. Some domesticated animals are cattle, horses, sheep, dogs, cats, birds, fish, and small animals kept as pets. Some wild animals can be tamed and some tame animals can live in the wild. This concept is especially important when it comes to animals that seem domesticated, like the mule deer at the sand dunes. They have become semi-tame due to extended human contact.

Explore Great Sand Dunes' web pages on animals (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, and insects) for more on the diverse wildlife of the park.


Pencils, slips of paper, something to keep score on, a container to pull out the slips of paper (i.e. hat, box, bag)



Critical Thinking

Has any wildlife at the Great Sand Dunes been domesticated? What about gray jays, mule deer, bears, and other animals that are fed by visitors? Are these animals being domesticated by our actions? How may feeding them affect them or their offspring in the future?


Have older students (5th and 6th grade) research the domestication of animals. Each group of two students should choose a different domesticated animal. Give them one week to research the origins of that animal. They should discover a) where the animal came from, b) why it was originally domesticated, and c) what its closest wild relative is. Each group should present a short five-minute report to the class on their animal.


biologist, biology, domestication, wildlife

Last updated: February 24, 2015