Unpacking 7: Backyard Naturalist (video)
Topics Covered in this Unit –
- Organisms of Tennessee
- Using Taxonomic Keys
- Identifying Animal Signs (Scats, Tracks and Bird Songs)
- The Science of Sound
***Purchase this Unit (click here).
Exercise 1A Matching Animal Tracks (video)
This video describes an activity appropriate for grades K – 1. Students will be able to: (1) distinguish between various animal footprints (tracks), and (2) better understand why scientists study animal footprints (tracks). Answering such questions as, “How long has a track been there?”, “How big was the animal that made that track?”, ” How fast was the animal moving?”, and “Where is that animal’s home?”
Exercise 1C Key Those Tracks (video)
This video describes an activity appropriate for grades 3 – 12. Students will be able to: (1) define the term dichotomous key, (2) use a dichotomous key to identify an unknown track, and (3) make decisions based on similarities and differences of a track’s characteristics to determine the identity of an unidentified organism.
Exercise 2A Matching Poop with the Pooper (video)
This video describes an activity appropriate for grades K – 3. Students will be able to: (1) explain the importance of studying animal scats, and (2) match the droppings (scat) of an organism with its picture.
Exercise 2C Grouping Scats by Animal Diet (video)
This video describes an activity appropriate for grades 3 – 12. Students will be able to: (1) discuss the importance of studying animal scats, (2) identify specific characteristics of various samples of scats, (3) classify samples of scat by comparing and contrasting general scat characteristics, and (4) determine the identity of an unknown organism by the qualities of its scat.
Below are links to all documentation for this thematic unit. Presentations are available in PowerPoint format, as well as PDFs for those wishing to print transparencies for overhead projectors. Teachers may wish to review unit workbooks for more in-depth information before using the supplied presentations.
Workbooks with Exercises
- Backyard Naturalist (PDF Workbook)
Additional Readings and Supplementary Files
Scientific Journal Articles (PDF)
- Audio Files for Unit 7 (ZIP file)
- Phet Simulation: Sound