Activities and Lesson Plans

These activities build on the Predator vs. Prey children's pages in the magazine. We've got discussion questions, activities for students, suggested Project WILD activities for indoors and outside, and even an interpretive program script on barn owls! Please let us know what you think, and send us suggestions for future issues! Email us at: education@tpwd.state.tx.us Be sure to check out the TPW Magazine special offer for Teachers!

Suggested Topics: adaptations, inherited and learned traits, food webs, predator-prey relationships, systems, attitudes and perceptions

Related 4th Grade TEKS: Science 4.5 Parts removed from complex systems, 4.8 Adaptations increase survival; Social Studies 4.9 Humans adapt to and modify their environment, 4.22 Use critical thinking to organize and use information from a variety of sources, 4.23 Communicates in written, oral and visual forms; Language Arts 4.5 Speaks clearly and appropriately to different audiences for different purposes and occasions, 4.13 Inquires and conducts research using a variety of sources; Math 4.13 Solve problems by collecting, organizing, displaying and interpreting data, 4.16 Uses logical reasoning. 4.4 Multiplies and divides to solve meaningful problems, 4.5 Estimates to determine reasonable results.

Wild Art

Invent an Animal (downloadable worksheet)

Wild Math

For more information, read Animal Speeds in the Young Naturalist series. Have additional fun by playing Animal Olympics.

Discussion Questions

  • What is a predator?
  • What is a prey?
  • Are predators bad? Why or why not?
  • What does "It's not easy being a predator?" mean? Explain the pizza box example.
  • What happens to an ecosystem if we take away predators?
  • What do your friends or members of your family feel about predators? Why do they feel that way? Are their feelings based on their own experience? Something they saw on television or something they read? What influences people's attitudes?
  • Are humans predators? Explain.

Take Another Look!

Have students read Keep Texas Wild and try these activities. The kids' pages and wildlife fact sheets on our web site provide additional background information on many species.

  • Look at the picture of the owl. What physical features help an owl hunt? Do humans share any of these characteristics? If not, what tools do humans use to help them hunt?
  • Look at the other predators in the magazine. What physical features do these predators have to help them catch their prey? What behaviors do these predators use to capture their prey?
  • Learn about one of the predators in this month's magazine. Where does it live? What does it eat? Make a list of inherited traits and learned traits that help it as a predator.
  • Name at least three examples of predators who are also prey, and that live in your school yard, back yard or park near you. See if you can find evidence of these species.

Ideas from Our Naturalists: Barn Owl Adaptations

Jennifer Owen-White, a Natural Resource Specialist with Texas State Parks teaches about barn owls and their special adaptations in interpretive programs at the World Birding Center. Here is a suggestion from Jennifer to illustrate the effectiveness of their feathers plus she's sharing her owl program and owl quiz with us!

"I do an owl program and the simple prop I make is easy. Just take a piece of card stock and cut it in half lengthwise. One side will be a hawk feather, the other an owl feather. Leave one of the pieces of cardboard intact (hawk feather). Cut one-quarter inch spacers out of the other leaving 1 to 1.5 inches remaining in between, making it look like a large comb (owl feather). I have the students close their eyes to focus on listening and also have them make a cup with their hand behind their ear to increase the sound transmission (like an owl's facial disc). I am attaching an owl quiz and the program outline to help if you need it. Have a wonderful day!"

Project WILD

Additional Reading

These articles from the Young Naturalist series offer more depth on the topics in this month's issue.

Core Conservation Education Concepts

Want more? These core concepts, adopted by the international Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, provide you with a framework for understanding wildlife, habitat and wildlife management from the perspective of fish and wildlife agencies.


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