Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#4231. Watch Out for Wildlife! - How did the animal cross the road?

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Fri Oct 10 08:27:37 PDT 2008 by Trisha White (Trisha White).
Watch Out for Wildlife!
Defenders of Wildlife, Washington, DC
Materials Required: measuring tape, string, wide tape
Activity Time: 1 hour
Concepts Taught: use play to get children to think about how animals move across the landscape

How Did the Animal Cross the Road?

Animals come in all sizes, shapes and speeds. Some move faster than others and can cross a road more easily without getting hit by a vehicle. Slower animals like turtles, frogs and snakes need more time to cross safely. Just like people! But animals don't have crosswalks.

This fun indoor or outdoor exercise helps children understand the crossing of a road from the animal's point of view.

- Measuring tape
- string
- Wide tape

Using the information on the introductory pages, and your own experience, have an open discussion with the children about animals crossing roads.
Focus questions
- Have you ever tried to cross a road without a crosswalk?
- Have you seen an animal try to cross a road?
- Do you think it would be easier or harder for small animals to cross a road?

Find your activity location. If indoors, a gymnasium or other open space is best. A hallway would also work in a pinch.

Mark off the width of a two lane road and/or a four lane road, depending on the typical road type in your area. (The standard width of each lane is 12 feet.) If you are feeling ambitious, use wide tape to recreate a section of road, complete with side lines and dashed center line.

Ask children what their favorite animal is or have them choose an animal from a hat.

Taking turns, have each child or group pretend they are the selected animal and cross the road. For example, the "frogs" will crouch on all fours and leap like a frog until they cross the road. Encourage them to make the animal sounds while they are crossing.

For additional fun, you can play this charades style. Tell the children to keep their animal a secret and have the rest of the class guess which animal they are.

When everyone has had their turn, ask the children to discuss how they felt crossing the road as the animal. Ask them what they think animals are thinking when they cross a road.

Ask children to write a narrative about crossing a busy road from the perspective of the animal.

- Were the children physically engaged in the activity?
- Did the experience help the children better understand and express an understanding of how animals might feel when trying to cross roads?
- Did their answers change from before the physical exercise to after?

Defenders of Wildlife, Habitat and Highways Campaign

You can find a downloadable PDF of the Watch Out for Wildlife Fun Book and Teachers' Guide at Scroll to the bottom.