Suggested Project WILD Activities: Weird, Wacky and Wild
Activities are available through our free Project WILD workshops.
Adaptation Artistry - Students design and create imaginary birds and write reports including descriptions of the birds' adaptations. Upon completion students identify and describe the advantages of bird adaptations and evaluate the importance of adaptations to birds. Requires drawing paper, painting, clay sculpture or papier-mache materials; construction paper and glue; and pencil and paper.
Drawing on Nature - Students use techniques of observation and visualization to record wildlife by drawing. Upon completion students generalize that wildlife and other animals are important inspirations for art and science. Requires drawing materials.
First Impressions - Students react to photos of different animals and discuss their different contributions to the planet. Upon completion students distinguish between reactions to an animal based on myth or stereotype and those based on accurate information; and recognize the value of animals' contributions to ecosystems - even those that people sometimes fear. Requires large photos or drawings of a variety of animals, including some the students might think are 'cute' and some they might think are 'scary'.
Grasshopper Gravity - Students observe, handle and describe live grasshoppers or crickets. Upon completion students describe a relationship between structure and function; generalize that wildlife ranges from small to large and occurs in a variety of forms; recognize that people have power to affect other animals and with that power comes responsibility. Requires one plastic container; hand lenses; live grasshoppers or crickets for every two students; chalkboard.
I'm Thirsty - Students use data provided to perform mathematical calculations and make inferences. Upon completion, students make inferences about the importance of adaptations for wildlife survival. Requires paper and pencils.
Interview a Spider - Students use interview techniques, research and writing to develop natural history information about wildlife species. Upon completion students generalize that wildlife ranges in size and occurs in a variety of forms, colors and adaptations. Requires writing and research materials.
Move Over Rover - Students play a game in which the object is to identify characteristic animals found in several ecosystems and match these animals to the environments in which they live. Upon completion students list factors that influence animal distribution in ecosystems; and generalize that each ecosystem has characteristic animals adapted to live there. Requires Animal Cards; poster making materials for 8 posters; and Educator Answer Key.
Owl Pellets - Students examine owl pellets, reconstruct skeletons, and identify skeletons and prey of owls. Upon completion students construct simple food chains. Requires owl pellets; dissecting tools (toothpicks work well); poster board; glue; small animal skeleton diagrams and skull guide. Optional hand lenses or magnifying glasses; gloves.
Polar Bears in Phoenix? - Students design and draw a zoo enclosure appropriate for the survival of a polar bear in a hot, arid climate. Upon completion students identify problems for an animal moved from its natural environment to captivity. Requires drawing paper and crayons.
Quick Frozen Critters (Quick Freeze Prairie Dogs) - Students play an active version of "freeze tag". Upon completion students discuss predator/prey relationships, including adaptations; describe the importance of adaptations in predator/prey relationships; and recognize that limiting factors - including predator/prey relationships - affect wildlife populations. Requires food tokens (3 per student); gym vests or labeling devices to mark predators; four or five hula hoops or jump ropes to serve as "cover" markers; pencil and paper to record number of captures (if desired).
Rainfall and the Forest - Students work with state highway and vegetative maps to determine relationships between rainfall, vegetation and animal habitats. Upon completion students correlate rainfall data with vegetative communities; correlate vegetative communities with animal life; recognize interrelationships among living and non-living elements of the environment; and understand that populations and the fluctuations of those populations are influenced by climatic conditions. Requires (for each group) highway maps of state; sheets of tracing paper (19X24" or 17X22"); different colored crayons; information about annual elevation and rainfall for 25 to 30 communities in the state; vegetative map of state. Optional range maps of selected wildlife species in state.
Seeing is Believing - Students use kaleidoscopes, binoculars or telescopes, and fish-eye mirrors; imagine what animals might have such vision; and make posters showing animals that do have such vision. Upon completion students identify different kinds of vision as an example of adaptation in animals. Requires 3 learning station (1 kaleidoscope, 1 either binoculars or telescope, 1 with fish eye mirror or photos taken with such a lens; magazines with wildlife photos or wildlife stamps; glue; poster material.
Surprise Terrarium - Students observe a live animal that uses camouflage techniques. Upon completion students identify camouflage as an example of adaptation in an animal; and describe the importance of adaptation to animals. Requires terrarium with vegetation and one animal suited to the kind of habitat components represented in the terrarium (the animal should be one that uses camouflage as a form of adaptation to survive; e.g. leaf hopper, tree frog, tree lizard, walking stick.
Tracks! - Students make plaster casts of animal tracks. Upon completion students identify common animal tracks. Requires plaster of Paris; containers for mixing; spray shellac or plastic; Vaseline; cardboard; knives; sandpaper; and black ink or paint. Optional: loop of wire.
What Bear Goes Where? - Students construct posters of three different bear habitats. Upon completion students identify three species of bears and their habitats; and generalize that animals are adapted in order to live where they do. Requires pictures of 3 bear species; 3 sheets of butcher paper with the outline of one bear species on each, labeled.
Which Niche? - Students compare ecological niches with careers in their community. Upon completion students define ecological niche; and give at least one example of an animal and its niche. Requires guest speaker; research materials.
Who Fits Here? - Students play an identification game with posters and cards. Upon completion students identify characteristic life forms in ecosystems; match appropriate life forms to ecosystems; and generalize that each ecosystem has characteristic life forms, adapted to live there. Requires poster board (10 sheets); crayons, paints or magazine photos; index cards or construction paper for 50 adaptation cards.top