Mapping Animal Movements

Grades 5—8

Written by Katharine Barrett

Learning about the patterns and habitat needs of animals in the wild is key to conserving species and protecting our environment. It's obviously impractical to undertake these studies around the clock and in global proportions, but students of this unit learn how scientists use sampling and mapping to quantify and compare animal movements.

In Mapping Animal Movements, students apply such field biology techniques to study the behavior and requirements of hamsters and crickets. The students use careful observation, plan and conduct experiments, and graph the changes in animal movement patterns when food and shelter are added to a laboratory environment.

There are special sections on animal care, food, housing, and handling, and excellent resources and advice for obtaining animals for the classroom. Real-world connections are introduced with a description of mapping tule elk movements in California. In an effort to advance humane and ethical treatment of animals used in the classroom, the guide includes the NSTA Code of Practice on Animals in School.

Several other GEMS guides geared for these grade levels, including Mapping Fish Habitats, Animals in Action, and Aquatic Habitats, make natural connecting units in the study of animal behavior, habitat, and conservation.

Time: Four 30- to 45-minute sessions.

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Mapping Animal Movements

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