Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center 

TITLE:  Mapping Animal Behavior

 AUTHOR:  Maureen Jenner; Elem. Science Teacher
          The Community School,  Sun Valley, Idaho

GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT:  4 - 6th grade
Can be adapted to any age depending upon ability - this lesson is for .

OVERVIEW:  Biologists need to know about animal behavior to protect
endangered species or control disease or pests.  The California Condor was
down to one in the natural habitat and very few in captivity because of the
pesticide DDT being used by farmers.   Also the Tule Elk in Point Reyes
California  was near extinction until scientists found that these elk
needed certain plants introduced back into the environment containing
copper. Scientists need to know about sampling, animal mapping so that
they don't have to look at every single animal in order to make an
inference about a problem. 

PURPOSE:  To discover through the use of inference and deduction the
   needs and wants of animals. 
   To learn how to  carefully observe and record behavior systematically
   as the animal moves through its habitat. 
   To learn about sampling to get statistics for inference.  
   To learn how to graph and what a graph can do.  
   To learn about caring for and being kind to all living creatures.
   To learn about variables.

  Live crickets - one in ziplock bag per group  - crickets  can be  obtained
from pet stores for about $.50/doz. - they are used for food for other pets.
Hamsters, gerbils, goldfish can also be used (borrowed from pet stores or
children in the classroom.)  In this lesson we will be using crickets.
  Large boxes - at least 8"  X 10" (you can add paper to sides to make taller
so that animal will not jump out).
  Colored round dot stickers - about 1/2" in diameter - sheet of 80 per
  Three blank 8 X 10 pieces of paper for each group.
  1 pencil per group. 
  Large clock with second hand.
  2" X 3" construction. paper for shelter (folded in a triangle)
  Nuts, cereal, apple slice or bran for food.
  Task cards:
       Number dots from 1 to 20   - three times
       Place eyes on dots to show in which direction animal moves.
       At end of trial describe the animal's actions.
       After recording for one trial, swap tasks with another team member. 

       Make sure team members are ready to start.
       Tell Animal Manager when to place the animal in the center of box.
       Watch the clock and call "Time!" every 15 seconds for 5 min. (20

       Watch closely where the animal moves.
       Tell the Recorder  in which direction to place the dots.
       Remind your team members not to disturb the animal, not to touch it
       or talk too loudly.   
       After observing for one trial, swap tasks with another team member.

    Animal Manager
       Hold the animal or its container until your team members are ready
       to begin mapping.
       Put the animal in the center of the box when Time keeper says to start.
       Hold the animal between trials.
       Keep the animal from escaping.
       After managing the animal for one trial, swap tasks with another team

   Graph paper:  Set up so that part of graph paper is to graph trial 1, part
for trial 2 and part for trial 3.   Everyone should participate and keep own
copy for his/her own science journal.

      Trial 1 - vertical axis Number of dots on Map 0 - 20 across bottom,
      Trial 2- across bottom horizontally:  IN THE OPEN AREA NEXT TO

      Trial 3 ,across bottom horizontally:  IN THE OPEN AREA, NEXT TO

  Library books or stories about animals near extinction.
  GEMS - Lawrence School of Science  Cal. Berkeley Animal Mapping

       Read any material you find in library or elsewhere about the Tule Elk,
California Condor, wolf, or any other interesting animal scientists are

       Put on board or large piece of paper so that all children can view, a
large square or rectangle to represent the classroom.  Then have large 1"
stickers numbered from 1 - 20 with eyes on one side.   Send one child out
of the room for a few minutes while you explain to the rest of the class
that you are going to map the child's movements when he/she returns.
Then have him/her come back.  Map in front of the class on the board or
large sheet of paper where he goes in the room.  Every 20 seconds place a
sticker with eyes pointed in the direction he is facing and on the spot on
the paper showing his relationship to the room.  Explain that the class
will use the same technique to map movements of crickets.

 Assigning team tasks:
1. Divide class into teams of 4 students & give task cards 
2. Explain 4 roles, have them read task cards aloud, emphasize tasks
3. Let teams take a few minutes to delegate tasks, number the dots and
   place eyes on dots.
4. Give box, cricket in ziplock bag to animal manager.

Assign groups 
1. Explain there will be 3 trials per cricket.  In trial l, box will be
2. Place animal in center of box, record movements every 15 sec. for 20 
   samples.  Record movement by taking sticker and placing it on blank paper
   eyes facing correct direction, in corresponding location to the place in
   the box.  If animal jumps out of box, put it back where it was and continue.
3. In trial 2 box will have shelter.  Fold a rectangular piece of
   construction paper to simulate a shelter.  Follow same steps as trial 1.
   Look at your paper.  Did the animal act differently now that there is a
   shelter to run to?  Did the animal look at the shelter?  What can you
   'infer' from this?

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:  Place  graphs from all groups on the board and
discuss each graph and make inferences together as a whole group.  Then
have each child record his/her group's findings and draw a picture about
what the cricket in the box did most often in each  of the 3 trials.

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