Lesson Session – Sound Art

Sound Art

Inspire your students to create awesome art from sound.

Materialsroar

Animal sounds
markers
crayons
paper

First, play some animal sounds for your class. Many animal sounds can be found on the internet. Have a class discussion about the sounds. How does each sound make you feel? What do you think the animal is trying to say? How do you think the animal feels? Discuss what you think the sounds might look like if you could see them.

1. Write in big letters with a big marker a sound on a piece of paper. One for each student. Sounds might be ROAR, CHIRP, EEEEEEEP, SQUAAAAACK, SSSSSSSSSSS, etc. Be creative.

2. Have each student think about the sound and color or draw what they think the sound looks like on their paper.

Lesson Session – Weave a Food Web

Weave a Food Web

Subject – Science, Art

Grade Level – 4-6

Skills Used:

Predicting; Collecting, Recording and Interpreting Data; Identifying and Controlling Variables; Defining Operationally

Key Vocabulary:

Food Chain, Food Web

Lesson Time:

30 minutes

Conceptual Objective:

Students will understand that food chains overlap to form a web of multiple energy paths.

foodchain.008

Process Objective:

Students will create a model of a food web.

Materials

* construction paper
* markers
* scissors
* bulletin boards
* pushpins
* tape
* string
food web handout – click to download

Procedure

1. Introduce and explain the terms ‘food chain’ and ‘food web’ to students.

2. View, explain, and answer questions about an example food web.

3. Pass out handouts and explain how the information is set up on the chart.

4. Put children into groups of five, giving each group the necessary supplies.

5. Instruct children to draw and label all of the different woodland organisms listed. Also draw a picture of the sun. Cut out drawings and attach them to bulletin boards with pushpins. Leave space between the drawings.

6. Students should tape one end of the piece of string to any one of the drawings. Using the table, connect the other end of the string to the proper organism.

7. Students should draw and cut out an arrow, taping it on the string to indicate in which direction the energy is flowing.

8. Students should repeat these steps to connect all of the organisms.

9. Announce clean-up time, and display finished food webs around the room.

Lecture

What is the food chain?

Energy flows through an ecosystem as one animal eats another animal or plant. A food chain shows “who eats who” in an ecosystem.

For example:

An owl – eats a mouse who – eats a beetle who – eats leaves.

Each part of the food chain has a name:

Plants make (produce) their own food using water, sunlight and carbon dioxide (photosynthesis). Plant start the food chain. There are more plants than any other living thing because they are the bottom of the food chain. They provide the energy for everything else. They are the PRODUCERS.

The animals (insects, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, deer) that mostly eat plants are called the herbivores. There are fewer herbivores than there are plants because each herbivore needs a lot of plant matter to live. Herbivores feed directly on the producers. They are the PRIMARY CONSUMERS.

Animals (spiders, birds, snakes) who eat the primary consumers (herbivores) are the SECONDARY CONSUMERS. There are fewer secondary consumers than there are primary consumers because each secondary consumers needs to eat a lot of primary consumers to live.

Animals (fox, coyotes, eagles, owls) who eat the 1st & 2nd consumers are carnivores (they eat meat). They are the TERTIARY CONSUMERS. There are fewer tertiary consumers than there are secondary consumers because each tertiary consumers needs to eat a lot of secondary consumers to live. Because there are fewer animals as you move up the food chain, it is really a food pyramid with the big carniores needing to eat the most and so being the rarest of the animal kingdom.

Because animals eat so many things, the food chain has many overlapping parts, so is really a FOOD WEB.

Last but not least, the DECOMPOSERS eat and so recycle dead animals and plants (mushrooms, fungi, insects, bacteria). They are then consumed themselves by other parts of the food web so nothing is wasted.

Something to think about:

In a food web, if an important animal is taken out, and there are no other animals to take its place, it can affect all the other animals in the food web. This animal is called a KEYSTONE SPECIES.

An example of this is the American alligator. Thirty years ago it was hunted so much in the everglades that it all but disappeared. What people didn’t realize was that the American alligator’s main food is the gar, a big everglade fish. The gar in turn eats a lot of the same fish people like (referred to as game fish).

When the American alligator disappeared, the gar (with no other predator) became very plentiful. All the extra gar ate all the game fish. Suddenly fisherman noticed that all the game fish had disappeared and there were gar everywhere.

The food web was out of balance. Once the American alligator was protected from hunting, its numbers rose quickly. In turn the number of gar decreased. Soon the game fish returned. The balance was restored.

Evaluation

1. Did students make and use a model that allowed them to make inferences about food chains? Assess the neatness and the accuracy of the food webs.

Troubleshooting

1. Students may argue about who will do what in the group. If this happens, the teacher should assign roles to students.

Lesson Session – Cold Blooded

Cold blooded

In this fun experiment, students learn what it means to be ectothermic (exothermic) or cold blooded.

Grades: 1-6

Background:

Being a reptile is hard work.

Humans are warm blooded (or endothermic.)   Our body temperature is at a constant temperature of 98.6 degrees, unless we are sick and have a fever.  We can wear clothing and shiver to raise our body temperature or sweat to cool our bodies.thermometer

Reptiles are cold blooded (or ectothermic)  and they cannot control their body temperature by wearing clothes or sweating.  Reptile body temperatures change according to the temperature of their surroundings. If it is 75 degrees outside, a snake will be 75 degrees inside its body. If it is 105 degrees outside, the reptile with be 105 degrees inside its body. Reptiles have a body temperature range that they must be at in order to survive.

Do you see many reptiles outside during the winter? Not if you live where it gets cold!  Reptiles have to hibernate during cold winters because it is too cold outside for their bodies to work properly. They cannot eat or move around when it is cold outside, so they go in to a deep sleep called hibernation.

During the warmer months of the year, a reptile has to keep within the temperature range it needs to survive. Reptiles must find a warm places to sit when they are cold, and find cooler places when they are hot. Have you ever stood in the sun when you are cold or moved to the shade when you are hot? That is what a reptile does all day.  Different species of reptiles have different temperature range requirements.

Set-up:

For this experiment you will need a number of thermometers. It is best for the students to split up into groups sharing a thermometer. To make things really fun, you can decorate each thermometer by gluing it to a picture of a reptile from a magazine glued to a note card or other heavy card stock.

About an hour before class, find an area that has many different features like rocks, grass, dirt, trees, and bushes. Find the lowest temperature in the area by putting thermometers in the shady areas. Then find areas with the highest temperature found on asphalt, rocks, or other hot surfaces in the sun.

Lay the thermometer down on an object – just like a reptile.   Wait at least two minutes before taking a reading.

Next, set up temperature ranges. They should be in five degree increments started at five degrees below your lowest recorded temperature and ending at five degrees above your highest recorded temperature.

Assign temperature ranges to the thermometer reptiles. If there are more temperature ranges than reptiles, space out the temperature ranges you assign.

Activity:

Pass out the reptile thermometers along with its assigned temperature range. Give the children ten minutes or so to find the best place to lay their thermometer reptile so that the thermometer reads within its assigned range. Remember it takes a minute for the thermometer to give a proper reading and it must be actually on something, reptiles cannot hover in the air.

Encourage the children to be creative and experiment where they put the thermometers. You may even have the children write down where they place the thermometer and what its reading is. Some students will not be able to find a spot that will keep the thermometer within their range. Others may have to keep moving their reptile thermometer to stay within their assigned range, just like a real reptile!

anolescongaree-300x177

Closure:

After ten minutes or whatever time limit you decide, have the children discuss the activity.

How do you think a reptile’s day would be different than a humans? What are advantages to being ectothermic? What are the disadvantages?

Introduction to Reptiles: a Beginner’s Guide

What is a reptile?

A reptile is a vertebrate animal, they have a bony skeleton just like you and me, breathe through lungs, are covered in scales, are ectothermic, and typically lay eggs.

Cold-blooded

uromstyx8

Reptiles are ectothermic (exothermic) meaning, “outside temperature.” This means the animal’s internal temperature changes with that of the environment. If it is 73 degrees outside, the inside of the snake is 73 degrees. Mammals are homothermic, meaning same temperature all the time. Humans are typically 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit all of the time.

Reptile bodies cannot function when it is too cold or too hot. They rely on their surroundings to maintain their body’s preferred temperature. A cold lizard will bask on a rock in the sun, then move to the shade after he becomes too hot.

Types of reptiles

There are over 8,000 kinds of reptiles split into four groups.

1. Chelonia – turtles, tortoisesrussian_tortoise

2. Crocodilia – alligators, caimans, crocodiles, gavialsgatorsmilecutouthead

3. Rhynchocephalia – tuatara

Tuatara
4. Squamata – amphisbaenians, lizards, snakessunshine_profile-300x200

Scientists do not separate lizards and snakes into two groups, but list them under the group “squamata.” Snakes are considered specialized versions of lizards. Why must the scientists be confusing?

Compare and Contrast: Snakes Vs Lizards

All snakes are legless, but some lizards are legless too!

All snakes have no ears, but some lizards lack ears as well.

All snakes have no eyelids, but some lizards also have no eyelids.

Snakes have forked tongues, but so do many lizards.

Confused yet? Don’t worry, from now on we will discuss snakes and lizards as separate groups. Whew! (and you were worried)

Chelonians – Turtles

shellinsideThere are over 300 different kinds of turtles. Sea turtles fly gracefully through the warm oceans of the world with giant flippers, tortoises lumber across the land with strong elephant like legs, and terrapins paddle with webbed feet in freshwater habitats.

A turtle’s ribs and backbone together form the turtle’s hard shell. It is covered in skin just like your bones are, a turtle’s shell is inside its body.

Sea turtles can hold their breath for over an hour by using the powers of their amazing heart. The heart blocks off blood to the lungs and allows the blood to travel to only parts of the body needing oxygen while under water!

The giant galapagos tortoise, aldabra tortoise, and african spurred tortoise can live to be over 170 years old!

Crocodilia – Crocodiles and family

With beautiful smiles and big strong tails, crocodilians number over 20 different species including crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials. Gharials have very long, narrow snouts studded with sharp teeth.

crocCrocodiles and alligators are a bit more difficult to tell apart. Alligators typically have broader snouts and straight rows of ridges down their backs. Crocodiles have narrower snouts and irregular rows of ridges on their back. When a crocodile’s mouth is closed, its fourth tooth on the lower jaw fits into a notch on the outside of the upper jaw.

There are only two different kinds of alligators; the american alligator and the very endangered chinese alligator.

Crocodilians are very shy creatures feeding on insects, snails, shellfish, frogs, turtles, fish, mammals, and birds. They rarely want to be near any human. We taste terrible!

gatorbackThe eyes and nostrils are located on top of their head to allow the animal to see and breathe above the water’s surface. They are covered in bony armor to protect them from both their prey and predators. It’s almost like having two skeletons!

We still have much to learn from crocodiles. We have found they are immune to some diseases, heal quickly, are intelligent, and are wonderful parents. Alligators even help other animals survive during droughts by digging water holes with their huge body. Sadly, most crocodilian species are in danger of becoming extinct!

Squamates – Lizards

smallestlizard

Lizards are the most diverse group of reptiles. They come in a huge variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Lizards are split into two clades or groups, the Iguania and Scleroglossa (meaning hard tongue.) Some lizards can grow over 10 feet long like the komodo dragon and Salvadores monitor lizard. Others, like the Jaragua lizard are able to curl up on a dime.

A typical lizard has external ears, four legs, claws, eyes with eyelids, and tails. Scientists have found that lizards can see color, and some can even see in the ultraviolet wavelengths. Excellent eyesight allows the creatures to snatch bugs out of the air and to see spectacular mating displays.

frilleddragon08 A lizards sense of smell and taste is very acute. Monitor lizards even have a forked tongue like a snake to enhance smelling ability.

Lizards have found remarkable ways to survive. Many are covered in spines, some can stick to trees, most are able to lose their tails, others change colors, a few glide out of trees, and one species can even run across water!

What scientists have learned from lizards has been astounding. They are an amazing group of animals.

Squamates – Snakes

No other animal has been both revered and reviled more than the snake. They are the most widely feared and misunderstood animal on the planet. Very few kinds of snakes are able to harm people.

These slender reptiles have no legs, ears, or eyelids. Snakes are dry, not slimy as scales are made of keratin, the same thing your hair and fingernails are made of.

hognosetongue

A snake’s forked tongue cannot sting or hurt you. A snake that is constantly flicking out it’s tongue is simply interested in its surroundings “sniffing’ like a dog. Chemicals or “scents” stick to the tongue as it waves it around. Then the scent laden tongue is stuck into the neuron studded Jacobson’s organ, a small hole in the roof of the mouth, sending instant messages about what it smells to its brain.

costarint

Remarkable organs known as heat sensing pits light up the night for some lucky snakes. Rattlesnakes, vipers, copperheads, boas, and pythons are able to distinguish in vivid detail differences in temperature allowing them to navigate and catch prey in complete darkness.

All snakes are carnivores. To catch prey, a snake must either bite it with fangs and inject venom, or use its body to subdue the animal using strong muscles. Swallowing the food is a challenge for an animal with no arms or legs! Their jaws are not strong enough to chew their food. Tiny curved teeth hook on to the food item, and allow it to only go in one direction, down the throat!

A snake’s head may appear too small to swallow many food items. Jaws of these animals have a hinge allowing them to open wide. The lower jaw includes two jaw bones connected in the middle with a streatchy ligament, so the mouth can open wide sideways as well. One side of the jaw holds the prey while the other side of the jaw slides forward, walking the food further into their mouth.

The largest snakes in the world are the anaconda and reticulated python, both able to grow over 30 feet long and weighing several hundred pounds. Jewels of this blue planet, snakes come in every color of the rainbow rivaling tropical fish and birds in their beauty.

Rhynchocephalia – Tuatara

Tuatara

A living fossil, the tuatara is an unusual reptile unchanged since the days of the dinosaurs. Although they look much like lizards, tuatara have different skulls, teeth, and pelvic bones. Living only in New Zealand in protected islands, these reptiles prefer lower temperatures than other reptiles. Tuataras live for a long time, probably over 100 years!

Unfortunately, they are highly endangered due to humans, habitat destruction, and introduced predators.