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Wildlife: A Mini Unit Study

Learning from nature can be one of the most fun and rewarding experiences for children. If you have a child reluctant to learn using traditional classroom methods, trying using nature first to get them to understand learning can be fun and interesting rather than a boring chore. Here is a unit with some ideas for wildlife study. It also makes a great first science unit.

1. Name the things all plants and must have to live.

2. Tell what a habitat is.

3. Visit a nature center, wildlife refuge, recreation area, park, or wildlife management area. Find out if and how the area is managed for wildlife.

4. Know the poisonous plants in your locality and where each is most likely to be found. Know what to do if you touch a poisonous play and how to act if you see a poisonous animal.

5. Find out which bird, tree, and flower has been chosen to represent your state. Find out why each was chosen.

6. Insects:

Learn what makes insects different from other living things
Learn to identify ten species
Learn about the life cycles of mosquito, a grasshopper, and a butterfly or moth
Learn about a colonial insect and what different members of the group do
Watch an insect build a nest

7. Mammals:

Tell what makes mammals different from other living things
Identify five species of wild mammals in your area
Learn about the life history of one mammal from each of these groups: those that fly, that live underground, that live on land, that live in water, that live in trees
Find out which mammals are protected by the laws of your state and the federal government

8. Birds:

Tell what makes birds different from other living things
Identify at least five birds in your area
Find out how and why birds are protected by law
Try to watch a bird build a nest

9. Reptiles and amphibians:

Learn what makes reptiles and amphibians different from other living things
Tell the differences between reptiles and amphibians
Learn which can be handled
Learn to recognize at least five species in your area
Learn how and where the young are born and what they eat
Learn which ones are protected by law in your state/country

10. Fish:

Learn to recognize at least five species of fish in your area
Learn what each one eats and what eats it
Learn about the life of one fish in each of these groups: bony fish, fish with cartilage skeleton, lamprey
Visit a fish hatchery or aquarium and find out what laws protect fish

11. Trees and woody plants:

Learn to identify ten species in your area
Think about what would happen to the trees in your area in a fire, flood, or windstorm
Plant and care for a tree
Find out if any trees are protected by law in your state
Watch the formation of buds and leaves.

12. Herbaceous plants:

Learn to recognize ten wild plants in your area
Learn about the habitat of the wild plants you chose
Learn two ways that flowers are fertilized or that plants reproduce
Learn how the seeds of five plants are dispersed
Find out what plants are protected by law in your state or area
Grow a plant from a seed and record its growth for one month

In addition to the above categories, you can design your own to study (fungi, lichens, mosses, whales, spiders, sea shells, etc.)

Learn what makes the category different from other living things.
Learn to identify some species by size, shape, or some other distinguishing mark. Learn about their life cycle, diet, and reproduction. Make something to attract, protect, or observe your category.
Know the state and federal laws that protect your category.
Find out if any species are in danger of extinction and if anything is being to done help it survive.


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