Warm-up: Introduction to the Scavenger Hunt
1. Begin this lesson by discussing with your class if they have ever heard the term “scavenger hunt.” Ask them what they might do on a scavenger hunt.
2. Review relevant vocabulary with students.
3. Explain to students that they are going on a scavenger hunt for fauna in their schoolyard. Explain that they will have to search carefully to observe animals and not destroy the habitat. They should also be quiet during the scavenger hunt so that they have a better chance of not disturbing the wildlife.
4. Explain to students that they should also observe signs of animals. Ask your class for examples of signs of animals. Answers may include animal tracks, nests, tufts of fur, sounds, and so forth.
Activity One: Fauna Scavenger Hunt
1. Before embarking on the scavenger hunt, clearly establish boundaries for students and review appropriate safety rules for them and any animals or plants (like poison ivy) they may encounter.
2. Once outside, allow students enough time to observe and record three animals and/or signs of animals.
Activity Two: Scavenger Hunt Share / Wrap-Up
1. After the scavenger hunt, regroup with students, and have them share their observations.
a) What animal(s) did you observe in the schoolyard?
b) What signs of animals did you observe in the schoolyard?
c) Why do these animals live in the schoolyard?
d) How do plants contribute to the wildlife found in the schoolyard? Plants provide food and shelter for animals.
e) How could the schoolyard be made more attractive for animals to live in? More trees/plants, bird feeders, and so forth.
Extension: Schoolyard Improvement
- After the activity, ask students how the schoolyard could be improved to attract more animals. For example, if students want to see more birds, they may say that adding birdfeeders or nesting places would attract them to the schoolyard. If they would like to see more butterflies, there should be plants around the schoolyard that attract them. Have students write letters to their principal or Parent-Teacher Association asking to improve the schoolyard based on their suggestions. Refer to Natures Image Habitats (http://www.naturesimage.net/) or the Center for Habitat Restoration (http://www.ccsf.edu/Departments/Biology/Center_for_Habitat_Restoration/) for more information.
In this lesson, students observed how native grasses, flowers, trees and plants provide natural, complex habitats for wildlife. Students had the opportunity to search for native fauna, or signs of fauna, and record their observations.