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An observant person can tell exactly what creatures have passed through an area from the impressions that they have left in the snow, soft earth, mud of sand. A nature walk can be made more interesting by learning to "read" the tracks left by animals.
ITV Series
Science Is Elementary: Let's Explore Animals (# 102)

Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
Per Class
Pre-Viewing Activities
Ask students: Do you know when you first started walking? How old do you think you were? How old are animals when they start to walk? (Most can walk within hours of their birth.) What do people and animals need to walk? (Legs and feet.)

Focus Viewing
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing, ask them to watch for the different things that feet can do. (Climb, run, stomp, walk.) Also ask students to see how many different kinds of animals they see in the video.

Focus will be on animals and what they do with their feet.

Viewing Activities
tape just after a picture of an elephant, armadillo and turtle; the narrator will say "You move with your feet and legs."

when the narrator says "How do animals move?" Ask students to share answers.

until the poem FEET by Aileen Fisher is finished. Stop.

Post-Viewing Activities
After viewing the video ask children: What different kinds of animals did you see? Do you remember what kind of feet they had and how their feet helped them? (Hooves, webbed, feet, claws; climb, walk, swim, run.)

Show the rubber feet (supplied by the Pennsylvania Game Commission) and ask: Can you tell what animal these feet belong to?

Ask students: Does the size of the feet determine the size of the animal?

Let each child describe the size. (Encourage them to use words such as inches, or bigger than ..., or smaller than....)

Explain that you are going to show them how to measure an animal foot using "area".

Place enough water paint on a sponge so that it acts like a stamp pad for the rubber foot stampers.

Push the rubber stamper onto the sponge and press it on a piece of one inch graph paper.

Next, let the student press their own foot onto the sponge and make a print beside the animal track.

In the primary grades assessment will be done by observation and informal questioning while the children are exploring the science area. Ask them to find the area of specific things that the teacher provides. Ask students to name several animals and ways that their feet help them.

Let room parents help clean-up by having a bucket of soapy water nearby to clean feet.

When both prints have dried, show the student how to find the area by counting the full squares inside each foot print.

Record the findings and compare the biggest and the smallest prints.

Let children cut out the animals tracks and build a bar graph by gluing them to a large piece of butcher paper, from smallest to largest.

Action Plan
Plan a field trip to a park, zoo or nature reserve.

Invite a naturalist to visit the classroom.

Subscribe to a nature magazine such as Ranger Rick or Backyard Friends.

While on a nature walk, look for animal tracks. Once found, pour a mixture of plaster of Paris and water into the track. Let set and later lift and scrub with a brush to remove the dirt. Each child can make a plaster cast of an animal print.

Find other outdoor objects such as leaves, pine cones, acorns, or rocks and measure for area.

Encourage the children to visit the library and take out books on animals.

Make a list of safety rules stating what to do if a person encounters a strange animal.

Write poems and stories with an animal as the main character.

Write a letter to Aileen Fisher, the author of the poem FEET.

From tape marks on the floor, children will practice hopping or jumping with both feet and then with one foot. They will then record the measurement.

Students will measure each others' feet using a 12-inch ruler, yard stick or a shoe store's measuring tool.

Teacher will make a foot pattern that is 12 inches in length. Children will then go on a search for a person with that size foot. They will then determine if a "foot" is really a "foot". Afterwards read the story How Big is a Foot by Rolf Myller.

Language Arts:
Read other stories about feet such as 10 in a Bed or How Many Feet in the Bed?

Rewrite the poem FEET using different animals as characters.

Using acrylic paint, paint on a t-shirt with the rubber feet stampers.

Show snow shoes, rubber flipper, or football shoes and ask the students how they help people. Then ask the students to identify animals with similar feet.

Master Teacher: Grace Bickert

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