Prep for Teachers
Download the Shockwave plug-in (available at http://www.shockwave.com).
Review Web resources and bookmark those that are appropriate for your
students' ages and abilities. You may optionally create and publish
a Web page of your own that includes links to Web resources and clarifying
instructions to which students may repeatedly refer.
View the video clip in its entirety to become familiar with all starts
and stops. CUE the videotape to the appropriate starting point
so you may easily begin the lesson.
| Prepare the student organizers and handouts for the
lesson by copying them for each student.
When using media, provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION,
a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after
viewing of video segments, Web sites, or other multimedia elements.
Display the lyrics to "There Was An Old Lady" on a large screen
monitor or a handwritten chart. Ask students to join you in a sing-a-long.
If an audio copy is available or you play an instrument, feel free to
provide musical accompaniment. When the song is complete, ask students
if the song accurately represents the natural environment. Though spiders
might indeed catch and eat flies, can the same be said of cats and dogs,
cows and goats? (Dogs may chase cats but domesticated varieties are not
likely to have a predator/prey relationship. Goats and cows are known
to share the same habitat peacefully.) If spiders do catch and eat flies
in the environment, what animals might catch and eat spiders? (Birds,
insects such as wasps, snakes, lizards, frogs and fish eat spiders.)
CUE the Wild TV video to the Jamaica Bay segment that begins
with an image of marsh grass with the Empire State Building in the background,
just after the elevated subway passes by and the horn music from the prior
segment about an urban garden ends. The segment will be viewed twice,
once halfway through to collect information about each of the animals,
and a second time to focus in on the efforts of the researchers and scientists.
Step 1: First Viewing
Introduce the Wild TV segment about the habitat of Jamaica Bay.
Explain that animals that occupy the same habitat often have a special
relationship (predator/prey) because they are part of a food chain. Distribute
the "Data Gathering" Worksheet. Provide students with a FOCUS
FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to list as many facts about each
animal as they can while viewing the segment.
PLAY the video clip. STOP after the scientist and the graduate
student are checking a nest in the dunes and the scientist refers to Jamaica
Bay as, "...one of the largest nesting areas anywhere for this species."
CHECK that students have recorded some of the following facts:
- Diamondback Terrapins only come on land to nest.
- Terrapin is the name given only to this species of turtle.
- They can live as long as we do.
- Jamaica Bay is one of the largest terrapin nesting areas.
- Nests are well hidden.
- Raccoons may have gotten to Jamaica Bay by coming across the bridge.
- They might have been released by well-meaning animal control people
into what they thought was a wildlife preserve.
- Raccoons find almost all of the terrapin nests and eat the unhatched
Step 3: : Second Viewing
REWIND the video to the beginning of the segment. Provide a FOCUS
FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking students to listen for the reason why
scientists decided to study Jamaica Bay and be able to identify each animal's
role in the food chain. Who is the predator? Who or what is the prey?
PLAY the tape.
PAUSE when the screen shows the biologist walking down the path
after he says, "We wanted to find out what had happened since the
1980s that had caused this change and made it so much more difficult for
terrapins to produce eggs that would actually survive to hatch."
CHECK for understanding. (In the 1980s terrapins laid eggs that
hatched; the predation rate was low. Recently the predation rate was high.
Raccoons, the predators, are raiding terrapin nests and eating the unhatched
turtles, the prey.)
Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking what
role do terrapins play in the ecology of Jamaica Bay? What do students
think will happen if they're gone? RESUME PLAY.
PAUSE after the graduate student says, "We don't know, if
they're gone, what will happen." CHECK for understanding.
(Terrapins' "job" is to eat mollusks and crustaceans in the
bay.) Ask students to guess what might happen if the population of terrapins
is destroyed. (Answers will vary.) List responses for review after the
FAST FORWARD quickly to the terrapin walking on the shore just
after the bird in a tree and the music is playing. Provide a FOCUS
FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking students what the scientists discovered
about the terrapins and the raccoons and what were they going to do. RESUME
PAUSE when the scientist, pointing out to the bay, says about the
terrapins and raccoons, "...to figure out what might be manipulated
with them." CHECK for understanding. (Scientists found out
that raccoons were eating every terrapin nest in sight. They plan to gather
information in order to recommend some kind of management plan. They will
study the animals so that they can manipulate the environment.)
Provide a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking students to list
on their "Data Gathering" Worksheet what the researchers do
with the terrapins and what they do with the raccoons. RESUME PLAY.
STOP the video as the graduate student is carrying the terrapin
into the bay and the scientist says, "In the end what I'd like to
see happen here is that we use the information we gather to do something
to help protect the terrapin." CHECK that students have recorded
some of the following facts about the research:
Capture, measure, and place radio collars on them to find out where they
spend their time.
Catch them after they nest, mark them. Track the location of the nests.
Protect the nest with wire mesh. Wait for the hatchlings. Mark the hatchlings
and let them out into the water. Measure the terrapins and place a transponder,
like a tiny computer, inside the shell.
Encourage discussion by repeating the scientist's last statement and then
asking whether protecting the terrapins is a good idea. Why or why not?
Will the scientists' efforts succeed? (Answers will vary. Some students
will want to protect the terrapin; some might want to protect the raccoons.)
Learn more about the relationship among members of a food chain by exploring
the Food Chain Reaction Web site at http://www.ecokidsonline.com/pub/eco_info/topics/frogs/chain_reaction/index.cfm#.
Provide a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking students to define
the following terms:
Ask students to PAUSE their examination of the Web site before
testing the food chain. CHECK for understanding by asking students
to identify each member of the Chain Reaction food web using one of these
terms. (Crickets are predator and the grass their prey. Frogs are the
predator and crickets the prey. Snakes are predators and the frogs their
prey. Snakes are the prey for owls who are the predator. Most members
of this chain have a dual role.)
Provide a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking students to be prepared
to provide an explanation of the prey/predator relationship in the example
Monitor students to insure they are able to successfully complete the
chain by dragging picture to its appropriate place in the chain.
CHECK for understanding. (The owl is a predator, the snake, frog,
and cricket are predator and prey.) Extend student understanding by asking
for whom might the owl be prey, and how they would characterize the relationship
between the grass and the sun. Is the sun prey? Does the grass deplete
it? (Answers may vary.)
Provide a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking students to be prepared
to explain the effect of removing the frog from the chain.
CHECK for understanding. (Without the frog in the food chain, there
will initially be an overpopulation of crickets, who will eat the grass
until there is less and less. With less grass, the grasshoppers will not
survive. The snakes will have less to eat without both frogs and crickets,
and will look elsewhere for food. The owls will also leave or look for
other food in order to survive.)
Extend student understanding by referring back to the video. What effect
would the diminishing population of terrapins have in Jamaica Bay? (Overpopulation
of mollusks and shellfish.) How might this be detrimental to the ecology
of the bay? (Answers may vary. Refer back to the list generated in the
Introductory Activity. Students may require more information about the
ecology of Jamaica Bay in order to provide a more complete answer.)
Groups of students will use Internet resources to gather information about
more local endangered species, their habitat, place in a food chain and
a larger food web. (A food chain depicts one organism's relation to another.
A food web may depict several relationships. For example, acorns may be
food for more than one animal.) Be sure to review all Web resources listed
under "Media Components" and select those appropriate for your
students' ages and abilities. Bookmark sites for easy access and maximum
on-task time at the computer.
Assign a habitat and a designated animal to each group. Students are to
find other related animals or plants that are part of the same food chain.
For example: peregrine falcons found on all continents in high cliffs,
buildings, and bridges, are at risk due to pesticide-contaminated prey;
the Florida manatee, whose Everglade habitat is suffering at the hands
of humans, is vulnerable to disease, injury, and a decreasing food supply.
Distribute the "Research Organizer" to help structure the research
Provide a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking students to use as
many of the bookmarked Internet resources as necessary to find out about
the designated animal and the other animals in the related food chain.
Group members are required to complete the organizer with all required
Working in cooperative groups, students will apply their research to create
a presentation including a visual representation of the food web to which
the designated animal belongs. They may either a) use original art or
magazine cutouts to show the members of the web and the predator/prey
relationship, or b) do a technology-based activity using HyperStudio,
Inspiration, or PowerPoint to demonstrate the food web relationships.
SCIENCE: Biodiversity Dilemmas
Protecting biodiversity often requires making difficult choices. The Center
for Plant Conservation provides four scenarios for students to explore.
They may need to do further research and identify what further information
they need to know before being about to answer the questions, draw conclusions,
or make recommendations to preserve biodiversity.
MATHEMATICS: Action Research
Students create a mini biome using local flora and fauna. Once a stable
environment is created, students may vary one factor and record the effect
over time, for example reducing the availability of one organism or altering
an environmental factor such as sunlight or water. A final report should
include analysis of data collected, including spreadsheets and/or graphs,
and recommendations that could be applied in the real world.
LANGUAGE ARTS: Author Study
Complete a study on Jean Craighead George, naturalist and author, who
has written ecological mystery stories that provide students with a literature
connection to their research. Students can do an author study by visiting
her Web site, http://www.JeanCraigheadGeorge.com,
and reading some of the following:
The Missing 'Gator of Gumbo Limbo
There's an Owl in the Shower
The Case of the Missing Cutthroats
And Sam Gribley's adventures in the trilogy:
My Side of the Mountain
On the Far Side of the Mountain
LANGUAGE ARTS: Fables
Fables often depict animal relationships. Have students examine fables
and determine how much is fact and how much is fiction based on their
animal and food chain research. A modern fable for students to explore
is Poppy by Avi, a story about a deer mouse who urges her family to move
next to a field of corn big enough to feed them all forever. However,
Mr. Ocax, a terrifying owl, has other ideas.
- The Wild Ones: The Children's Education Program of Wildlife Trust
Explore the Bioscapes of the Children's Education Program of Wildlife
Trust to examine the both local and global environmental communities.
Students have an opportunity to explore why their bioscape is important
to them, share their thoughts and read what other students have to
say through this collaborative project. Includes resources in Spanish.
- Local Advocacy
Determine what local environmental issues involve animals and what
efforts are underway to protect both the habitat and its denizens.
Your class might want to adopt a species to both learn more about
it and advocate for it.