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Showing posts with label animal tracking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label animal tracking. Show all posts

DIY nature science detective kit for hands-on science exploration


Looking for back to school activities for kids? Here are nature science lesson plans. Make nature detective kits to explore wildlife science concepts. Use this activity to welcome kids back to school. Kids will love playing nature CSI investigators! Homeschooling parents will love this inexpensive, hands-on science lesson because all ages can participate, from toddler to high school! 

You will need one of each of these items per student:

--large gallon size zipper bag or cheap carry-all bag to store supplies

--plastic magnifying glass (available in bulk at Great Party, Party America or Oriental Trading)

--cheap one-subject notebook

--pocket folder ($.05 -$.15 each from Walmart, Staples, Target)

--plastic disposable gloves (choose latex free; give each student one pair)

--tweezers or cotton swabs (both would be useful, but use cotton swabs to save money)

--3 or 4 specimen bags (snack size Zip-Loc)

--3-4 larger specimen bags (sandwich size Zip-loc)

--sheet of label stickers

--pen and pencil

-- roll of invisible Scotch tape

--several pieces of yarn or string

--box of crayons ($.25 at back-to-school sales)

--measuring tape (Printable-Ruler has a free printable measuring tape )

--free printable animal tracks cards (from Exploration America) Extend these nature science activities for kids into craft projects by having students cut and paste their own flash cards. 

--free printable Animal Signs Guide from US Fisheries and Wildlife www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Animal%20Signs%20Guide.pdf You can download directly from here as a PDF. Check here for more animal tracking printables

How to Use Nature Detective Kits:

Make kit assembly part of the lesson. Set out supplies in stations and give students gallon zipper bag and supplies list. This provides experience in counting, sorting and organizing. Using stickers, kids label notebook: Investigator (name)____________ or Detective (name)____________. Label bags: Exhibit A, B, C or Evidence. As evidence is collected, data and date should be added. For example: 'beetle exoskeleton 9-3-2021.

Go on nature investigation hunts around your neighborhood, school playground or camp. Assign students different items to investigate, native to your area. Students should not keep living specimens, but they might bring a bug box to temporarily house and examine a living critter. Look for evidence of living creatures: bug carcasses, exoskeletons, fallen leaves, feathers, owl pellets, seed pods, rocks, fallen nest, bits of animal fur, bark samples, plants, flowers and rocks. Use nitryl gloves to collect specimens. Warn kids not to pick up insect nests or other potentially dangerous items. Rather have them sketch items in situ. 

Have students draw living creatures, homes and habitats: spider's web, bird's nest, wasp's nest, rabbit hole, ant hill, scat (animal droppings). Students should record when and where they observed it. Students shouldn't touch but may observe scat(animal droppings) or dead animal remains.

In class, have children discuss and hypothesize on findings at their level of reasoning. Students might create a natural history museum displaying what they have found. Students can act as young docent guides, explaining discoveries to visitors. This makes a superb activity for parent-teacher conferences, which come early in the year before teachers have had time to collect much student work. It's ideal for summer camp, too. 

#printables #naturescience #animaltracking