Module 3: Animal Health Sciences

Discovering the Animal Kingdom

Every living thing has an important role to play in a One Health understanding of the environment. We understand that the importance of rich biodiversity in the animal kingdom is necessary for a healthy community.

No one who looks into a gorilla’s eyes
– intelligent, gentle, vulnerable –
can remain unchanged, for the gap between ape and human vanishes;
we know that the gorilla still lives with us.
Do gorillas also recognize this ancient connection?

George Schaller, National Geographic 1995

Module 3 - Animal Health Sciences: Discovering the Animal Kingdom

Lesson 1: Being Alive

Big Idea

Every community has the ability to make adjustments in their daily lives to support and improve the well-being of all creatures. We must have a deep understanding of the range of biodiversity around our home and the community in order for everyone to commit to supporting a One Health perspective.

Overview

The overall theme of Module 3 is focused on scaffolding age-appropriate scientific literacy on biodiversity – teaching children through research and community exploration to understand the interconnectedness of their community ecosystem.

In this lesson, students will develop an appreciation that life exists in many forms from the smallest to the largest. 

By the end of this lesson students will:

  • Knowledge: Students will learn the basic requirements and the interrelatedness of all life on Earth.
  • Understanding: Life is varied and the human way of perceiving the world is not the only one way.
  • Skills: Students will demonstrate recognition of the symbiosis that makes life possible. They will be able to identify the various needs and contributions of organisms large and small. Students will be able to identify the sameness and differences between domestic, wild, flora, fauna, and the unique responsibility of being a human being.
  • Attitudes and Values: The gift and responsibility of being a human being rest upon both the ability to think and the ability to care.

Lesson Supports

Artifacts of Learning

Section

Notes

An Introduction to BEING ALIVE

WOW, I am alive! I am here in a Universe that science tells us is nearly 13.8 billion years old.

I can see a small piece of it at night; our Galaxy, The Milky Way. Our planet, EARTH, is over 4.5 billion years old.

How did it happen that I am here, a part of this Universe, and can see it, and think about it and understand it?

How wonderful is THAT? Wonderful? YES!

But what responsibility do I have because I am a human being and can understand what it means to be alive?

Hook: What does it mean to be ALIVE?

The way we experience the world is not the only way the world is experienced. How would it be for you if you had eyes like an eagle, able to smell like a dog, hear like a bat?

All living things, creatures we know about and ones we do not, are organisms.

Some organisms live on and inside our bodies. They help us live. They are called microorganisms and are the smallest living organisms known. Bacteria is a microorganism. More than 1,000 different types of bacteria exist in the human gut! And that’s a good thing!

What makes an organism?

  1. cells – in every organism there are circle shape cells. These multiply by splitting apart from themselves. This is how organisms develop. This is called cell division.
  2. respond – every organism responds to its environment.
  3. reproduce – every organism can reproduce to ensure their species survival.
  4. Organisms do not live in isolation.

Conversation: What do the organisms in your world need in order to survive?

Most organisms need oxygen. 

  • How is oxygen produced? (Refer to Module 2: Oceans, Rainforests) trees and ocean

Most organisms need water.

  • How much freshwater is there on Earth? (Refer to Module 2: Oceans) Earth, the Blue Planet, 97% salty, 3% fresh with 2% of freshwater as ice and snow and 1% available for human consumption

Most organisms need food. 

  • Does soil that is rich in minerals help to produce healthy food for people and animals? (Refer to Module 2: Planting Trees)

Most organisms need a protected environment.

  • What is the home to mountain gorillas? Tropical rainforest.

Group Discussion: What are the similarities and differences in the needs of people, domesticated animals, and wild animals.

Break into separate groups representing people, domesticated animals, and wild animals – or a group with representations of all three.

Encourage the students to talk about what their characters like to eat, where they sleep, do people take care of them, should people take better care of them, how could life be better. Also, what are some of the same needs your group members share? What are the different needs? Costumes, masks, puppets, visuals, and other props may enliven the discussion. Look-fors in the conversations:

People –

  • We are rational, we think about the future and learn from the past.
  • We make decisions about how we want to care for other living things, other organisms, and our shared environment.
  • This is a gift and responsibility we have as human beings.
  • We are highly intelligent, creative, have the ability to think symbolically, make complex tools.
  • We make speak languages, make music, write stories, and go to the moon
  • What animals are important to us? How do we care for domesticated animals? How do we feel when we see animals neglected or mistreated? Can we report this to someone? Strays? Who takes care of them?
  • What about the animals we eat? How are they cared for? How does the food get to us? How are diseases spread by the food that we eat?
  • What about animals far away from where we live? Or the Amazon rainforest? Is it easy or hard to appreciate animals and forests you’ve never seen?
  • How do our hygiene habits affect wild animals that live close to us?
  • Human disease transmission to animals and vice versa is proven science. We call this zoonotic disease transmission.

Domesticated animals

  • Provide us with friendship, love, loyalty, and so much more.
  • The better we treat an animal the better it responds to us.
  • Some animals protect us.
  • We must provide them with veterinarian care.
  • How about when horses’ hooves get too long? What do you do?
  • Shelter from the extreme heat or cold and drought or flooding.
  • Enough land to graze.
  • Some animals are raised to provide us with wool to make clothing, skin, food.
  • So many stories about amazing human-animal relationships. Like Hachiko. What other stories do you know?
  • Do your research where the best place is to adopt an animal. There are terrible practices in animal breeding we need to be aware of and not support.
  • Why are some animals considered pests in one culture and treasured in another?

Wild animals

  • Provide us with great enjoyment because of their beauty.
  • They spread seeds, turn up the soil of the land with their hooves.
  • Symbiotic relationships with other wild animals.
  • Provide a natural food chain for healthy balanced ecosystems.
  • Are wild animals being exploited for their beautiful fur, tusk, antlers, horns, fins, medicinal purposes? Is this legal? Is it right? Why do people do this?
  • What can we do to help protect wild animals and their habitat?

Note: Covid-19 is a zoonosis, meaning a disease produced by a virus or other pathogen that has spilled into humans from an animal. The bat was almost certainly the animal of origin.

Anthroponosis: a word used by scientists meaning when the spilling of a virus goes back, or onward, from a human to some nonhuman animal.

Art Projects: Follow up with fun activities. Suggest to the students to continue the conversation with their friends and family.

  • Cut-outs, origami, animal visors and masks, snake cut-outs. 

Materials: markers, cutouts, scissors, tape, glue, sparkles, ties for visors, tongue depressors, origami paper, plastic eyeballs, colored wires

Lesson Consolidation
The students are able to utilize art projects to show that they are organisms large and small that constantly interact with one another.

People have much in common with other living things. But, as people, we have rational minds and should use our rationality to nurture and not exploit the organisms with whom we share the world. 

Assessment Prompts

Attitudes and Values

Intention of the Assessment

Examples of how students can demonstrate their learning

Children will understand that different organisms orient themselves to the world based on their unique biology.

Reflect on our personal hygiene habits. Examine how these habits keep the bacteria in our gut healthy. Be aware of what disrupts these microorganisms such as a diet that lacks balanced nutrition with a lot of sugar and fats and no vegetables.

Students can identify that there are organisms, large and small, known and unknown to us that co-exist.

Module 3 - Animal Health Sciences: Discovering the Animal Kingdom

Lesson 2: The Animal Kingdom

Big Idea

Every community has the ability to make adjustments in their daily lives to support and improve the well-being of all creatures. We must have a deep understanding of the range of biodiversity around our home and the community in order for everyone to commit to supporting a One Health perspective.

Overview

Building upon the previous lesson, students will explore the development and status of The Animal Kingdom as a significant, and most obvious, part of the process of evolution.

By the end of this lesson students will understand how scientists categorize the wide variety of animal life on Earth. Students will learn how animals developed within with the larger environment.

  • Knowledge: Students will learn the categories and descriptions of the Animal Kingdom.
  • Understanding: Students will understand how the types of animals can be organized into categories based upon physical characteristics.
  • Skills: Students will be able to identify the characteristics that define the categories of the Animal Kingdom.
  • Attitudes and Values: Students will gain an appreciation for the varieties of animals within the Animal Kingdom.

Lesson Supports

Artifacts of Learning

Section

Notes

Review and Making Connections

  • Scientists refer to all living things in the world as ……. (organisms)
  • Do we have the responsibility to care very well for the domesticated animals in our life?
  • Yesterday, I wore my animal visor and my neighbor responded…

Suggested Time:
5 minutes

Hook: The classification of animals

All animals belong to a group called The Animal Kingdom.

There are more than 1.5 million different types or species of animals in the world! And millions more still undiscovered.

Species: A group of plants or animals that have similar features and that could produce offspring.

  • Species is the most specific classification for an organism. Kingdom is the broadest.
  • Each species is given a unique two-part name in Latin or Greek and is always italicized. 

By studying an animal’s features or traits such as body structure, life cycle, and social behavior we can learn what group it belongs to.

  • An animal with 6 legs belongs to a group called insects.
  • What group do animals with feathers belong to? Birds 

We may not always be able to understand how one tiny creature is important for the integrity of an ecosystem. When thinking about the value of species, it is important to remember that each species is a piece in a very large and very complicated puzzle.

Lesson Activity

The correct order of classification is Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species

Create a sentence to help you remember this system. 

  • Examples: Kids Play Catch On Friday, Gives Smiles or Kitchen Patrol Comes On Friday, Great Scott!

Animals can be divided into two major groups They are grouped into a single Phylum called Chordata.

Vertebrates: these animals have a backbone. A backbone is like a stiff rod that runs down the back of a body.

Invertebrates: these animals do not have backbones.

  • 95% of animals are invertebrates.
  • Many invertebrates have an exoskeleton, a hard skeleton on the outside of the body, to protect the delicate organs inside.
        • earthworms (annelids), insects and spiders (arthropods), jellyfish (cnidarians), and snails (mollusks).
  • All insects are invertebrates

For example: spiders

  • Are invertebrate animals
  • Breathes through tiny openings called spiracles
  • Have two body parts – the cephalothorax and the abdomen
  • Lay eggs and build a sac around the eggs to protect them
  • Have 8 legs
  • Are cold-blooded meat-eaters

Warm-blooded and Cold-blooded

Warm-Blooded: Animals have a body temperature that remains constant even when the temperature of their environment varies. This includes all birds and mammals.

Cold-Blooded: Animals that cannot regulate their body temperature and rely on the environment to “warm” them up. Their body temperature rises and falls with the temperature of their environment. This includes all invertebrates, fish, amphibians, and reptiles.

Suggested Time:
5 minutes

Art Activity 1: Surprise Creatures Draw the head of a creature. Any shape, form, and color. Keep the paper folded. Pass it to your classmate. Don’t open the paper! Create a body of a creature without looking at the head. Remember, don’t open the paper! Pass the paper again. Draw the legs and feet. Now, everyone can open the paper a see the surprise creatures!

Materials: paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils, paints

Art Activity 2: Animal Families Give individual or small groups of students an animal family and instructions to draw how they relate on a portion of a tree. Then, have the students tape the tree portions together on the wall or blackboard/whiteboard to fit together an Animal Kingdom.

Lesson Consolidation
The Animal Kingdom has developed through evolution in a manner that can be categorized by both common and distinguishing physical characteristics.

Assessment Prompts

Attitudes and Values

Intention of the Assessment

Examples of how students can demonstrate their learning

Students will be able to identify the specific characteristics that define the categories within the Animal Kingdom. They shall be able to identify the physical characteristics that define scientific categories of animals from their region as well as other regions of the world.

Students will demonstrate their understanding of scientific categories of the Animal Kingdom through art, verbal, and written descriptions.

Module 3 - Animal Health Sciences: Discovering the Animal Kingdom

Lesson 3: Types of Animals

Big Idea

Every community has the ability to make adjustments in their daily lives to support and improve the well-being of all creatures. We must have a deep understanding of the range of biodiversity around our home and the community in order for everyone to commit to supporting a One Health perspective.

Overview

Building upon the previous lessons, students will explore in more detail the environments, relationships, and behaviors of animals. Students will develop a deeper understanding of Mammals, Birds, Fish, Reptiles, and Amphibians, They will gain a greater awareness of the fragility and threats to the Animal Kingdom.

By the end of this lesson students will:

  • Knowledge: Identify and discriminate between Mammals, Birds, Fish, Reptiles, and Amphibians.
  • Understanding: Students will learn that these animals thrive in different environments requiring different physical characteristics.
  • Skills: Students will learn to identify the characteristics of these animals as well as the environments in which they thrive.
  • Attitudes and Values: Evolution has determined the characteristics necessary to thrive in the different environments of the world. Students will learn that these creatures with whom we share our world make our world a greater whole which demands care to the environment.

Lesson Supports

Artifacts of Learning

Section

Notes

Review and Making Connections

What are some of the characteristics of a spider? Is a spider an invertebrate or vertebrate? Describe a few features or traits of your favorite animal. List other animals with similar features.

Suggested Time:
5 minutes

Hook: VERTEBRATES. There are approximately 45,000 species of living vertebrates.

They are grouped into a single Phylum called Chordata with 8 classes: amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and 4 classes of fish.

The Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest animal on Earth (A review from Module 2: Lesson 6 – Water World, Our Oceans) 

  • Travels through all of the oceans, except the Arctic Ocean, and is most comfortable in deep waters.
  • A group of whales is called a pod.
  • Is a mammal, like humans, and has similar features including sensory organs and gives birth to its offspring like other mammals.
  • An adult blue whale can be almost 30 meters long.
          • It can be 88.5 – 130 tons (80,000kg – 118,000kg; 177,000 lbs to 260,000 lbs), depending on which ocean it lives in.
          • The heart of a blue whale is the size of a small car, about 180 kg (397 pounds)
          • Discussion prompt: how long is 30 meters? How heavy is 397 pounds? Making real-world connections helps students visualize the size of a blue whale (e.g. you and 70 friends could hold hands and make a ring around a whale from head to tail)
  • It eats millions of krill, tiny shrimplike creatures, in a day.
          • A baby blue whale drinks more than 375 liters (100 gallons) of milk from its mother a day.
  • Sounds – Loudest calls on Earth
  • Status: Endangered
  • Why are they endangered? Overfishing, commercial whaling is now banned, climate change, they breed slowly.

Activity: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians

Distribute laminated animal cards. An option is to put mammal cards with one group of students, reptiles to another, and so on. Students study the cards thinking about the characteristics of the animals. Shape, size, movement, way of communicating, sounds, etc.

Types of Animals felt mat: stick your card in the correct animal group. You can even move and make sounds like your animal to show some of its characteristics.

Mammal characteristics:

  • have hair or fur
  • most mammals give birth to live young
  • only mammals nurse their young / feeding milk made by the mother’s body
  • warm-blooded

Bird characteristics:

  • lays hard-shelled eggs
  • use wings to help them fly
  • breathe with lungs
  • are covered with feathers
  • hollow bones
  • warm-blooded

Fish characteristics:

  • lives in water and use gills to breathe
  • have fins to help them swim
  • most fish are covered with scales
  • lays soft eggs in water
  • cold-blooded

Reptile characteristics:

  • most reptiles hatch from soft, leathery eggs laid in water on land
  • breathes with lungs
  • have tough, scaly skin
  • cold-blooded

Amphibian characteristics:

  • live in water and on land
  • lays soft eggs in water
  • breathes with gills
  • has moist skin
  • cold-blooded

Lesson Consolidation
Mammals, Birds, Fish, Reptiles, and Amphibians have developed through an evolutionary process through which they have the necessary characteristics for life.

Assessment Prompts

Attitudes and Values

Intention of the Assessment

Examples of how students can demonstrate their learning

Assessment may include art, discussion and written evaluations to determine student mastery of the characteristics and environments of these creatures.

Students will demonstrate their understanding of the relationship of physical characteristics and the environment in any number of ways. However, for this lesson, an understanding of physical characteristics and the environment should include a sense of awe, wonder and the beauty of the evolutionary process.

Module 3 - Animal Health Sciences: Discovering the Animal Kingdom

Lesson 4: Food Chains

Big Idea

Every community has the ability to make adjustments in their daily lives to support and improve the well-being of all creatures. We must have a deep understanding of the range of biodiversity around our home and the community in order for everyone to commit to supporting a One Health perspective.

Overview

Building upon the previous lesson, students will explore the complexity and importance of animal food chains. Students will gain insights into the integral nature of life and death and the hierarchy nature of plant and animal species.

By the end of this lesson students will:

  • Knowledge: Students will learn about trophic levels and both the hierarchy and interrelations of food chains and webs in the plant and animal kingdoms.
  • Understanding: Students will understand that life requires the consumption of other life species as a part of the ongoing evolutionary processes on Earth. Students will gain an understanding that the death of plants and animals create nourishment for other creatures.
  • Skills: Students will learn to identify trophic levels, the nature of herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and the importance of the relationships between the smallest to the largest life forms on Earth.
  • Attitudes and Values: Students will gain a respect for the natural order of food chains and webs as well as an appreciation for the importance of biodiversity to the overall nourishment and health of all species.

Lesson Supports

Artifacts of Learning

Section

Notes

Hook: Food Chains
The Earth’s biodiversity is dependent on the Sun for energy and on Earth’s minerals and nutrients for survival. All living things, including animals and people, are dependent on others for their survival.

When animals eat plants and those animals eat other animals, it is called a food chain. Each ecosystem has many food chains. When they overlap, they form food webs.

Trophic levels show each transfer of energy through an ecosystem. Here are some of the levels:

Trophic Level #1 are PRODUCERS – organisms, like plants and algae, that capture the energy of the Sun directly and use it for themselves.

  • Plants produce their own food through photosynthesis.
  • Takes nutrients up from the soil which an animal eats and uses the nutrients to grow.
  • Important nutrients include carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous.

Trophic Levels #2, #3, #4 are CONSUMERS – some consumers feed on producers, and some feed on other consumers.

  • Level #2 Primary Consumers are HERBIVORES
      • cannot produce their own food
      • consumes and digests plants and algae
      • gain energy by eating primary producers
      • grazers and browsers
      • large herds of antelope eat grass, while giraffes eat the leaves of trees
      • bats, birds, monkeys may eat fruit (frugivores)
      • birds, insects, bats, spiders eat nectar (nectarivores)
      • termites and beetles eat wood (xylophages)
  • Level #3 Secondary Consumers are CARNIVORES and OMNIVORES
      • Carnivore
        • eat herbivores
        • a meat-eater
        • herbivores, the plant eaters, are hunted by the meat-eaters, or carnivores
        • usually smaller animals like fish, birds, frogs, weasels, snakes
      • Omnivore
        • a plant and meat-eating animal
  • Level #4 Tertiary Consumers are CARNIVORES and OMNIVORES
        • eat secondary consumers
        • eat other carnivores
        • lions and leopards are carnivores that hunt antelope and other grazing animals

Trophic Level #5 are Apex Predators

  • These animals have no natural predators and are therefore at the top of the food chain. (eagles, wolves, lions, jaguars, cheetahs)
  • Highly efficient hunters, sharp teeth and claws, speed and agility, sometimes working in groups.
  • Through predation, they control populations of the lower trophic levels.

The Decomposers – these organisms feed on dead producers and consumers. They consume dead plant and animal matter.

  • More on recycling the waste
      • Converts waste into energy and nutrients that the plants can use for growth.
      • Nutrients are released back into the soil as the animal dies and decays.
      • Bacteria break down the remains of dead animals
      • Fungi, bacteria, earthworm, flies

Disruption within one of the trophic levels, for example, the extinction of a predator, or the introduction of a new species, can have a drastic effect on either the lower or higher trophic levels.

Level #1 Producers

Level #2 Consumers are Herbivores

Level #3 Secondary Consumers
Carnivores & Omnivores

Level #4 Tertiary Consumers
Carnivores & Omnivores

Level #5 Apex Predators

The Decomposers

Marine Food Chain

The marine food chain shows who eats who in the world’s oceans just as we learned how plants and animals on land are dependant on each other for survival. In the oceans:

  • Producers, such as phytoplankton, algae and seaweed, are at the start of the food chain and get their energy from the Sun.
  • Primary Consumers, such as zooplankton, eat Producers.
  • Secondary Consumers, such as small fish and crustaceans, eat the Primary Consumers.
  • Tertiary Consumers, mainly bigger fish, eat the Secondary Consumers.
  • Apex Predators are large fish and mammals at the end of the food chain.

Game #1 Who Eats Who?

Preparations: Gather laminated cards representing a wide variety of plant and animal species. Attach a string so students can wear their cards around their necks. We want classmates to easily see what plants or animals their other classmates are. Each card has a number of stickers. One sticker = one life.

  • Plants and fruits – 10 stickers
  • Insects – 8 stickers
  • Small mammals – 6 stickers
  • Birds – 4 stickers
  • Big cats – 2 stickers
  • Apex predators – zero stickers

Place all of the plant and animal cards in the general order which follows what we learned in the previous discussion about the trophic levels. For example, let’s start with the plant, a producer. Consumer cards are next. Primary consumers are herbivores (insects and smaller mammals such as bats, birds, monkeys). Display cards of secondary consumers who are carnivores and omnivores. Now cards of the tertiary consumers who are carnivores and omnivores but are larger mammals like lions and leopards. For trophic level #5 have cards of Apex predators, for example, eagles, wolves, lions, jaguars, cheetahs.

Predator, Prey, Scavenger. Have a short discussion reaffirming the different roles different species play. 

  • Predator – An animal that hunts other animals for food
  • Prey – An animal hunted by another animal for food
  • Scavenger – An animal that eats the abandoned dead of other species

The goal of the game is to eat (win stickers) and not be eaten (don’t lose all your stickers).

Each student now has a card. Be aware that many students will gravitate to the jaguar, lion, etc. cards so you may want to have kids pick cards from a bag. Props such as masks or costumes or any kind can make it fun and easily recognizable. 

Quiz a few students as a group:

  • “Who are you?”
  • “Who do you eat?”
  • “Who can eat you?” 

Helpful tips to the players:

  • plants and fruits– your goal is to stay hidden to not be eaten. You are the only group that can’t move or run away!
  • insects – you have to find the plants to eat and run away from the animals who are coming to eat the plants
  • small and plant-eating mammals – you want to eat plants, you graze and browse on the grass, maybe you are a giraffe eating leaves, a monkey swinging from trees, a bat sleeping during the day
  • birds – you fly about eating seeds, and fruit/nectar from plants
  • bigger mammals – are you an elephant with your family, your herd?
  • big cats and other apex predators – remember you do not have any stickers, BUT you have to win some stickers by preying on others.

The kids are really ready to go by now, so let’s get them started. In a circle, all the kids close their eyes. Count together to 45 to let the plants and fruits find a place to hide.

Then, the insects leave the circle and allow them 20 seconds to run away.

Then, 20 seconds for the little mammals, and so on until all of the students (plants and animals) have left the circle and they begin the game.

When an animal is dead (doesn’t have any more stickers) it has to come back close to you, the leader of the game. You can judge when it’s time to finish the game.

Take a short review once everyone is back in a circle similar to the one before we started the game. “How did you end up with so many stickers?” “What animal ate you?” “Who did you eat?” 

Materials: lots of laminated animal and plant cards, string for the cards, stickers

Game #2 Squirrels and Bears

Preparation: Tie a rope around trees to form a circle and clip lots (100-150) of clothespins to the rope. Clothespins represent acorns.

Facilitators/teachers/adults are bears and are inside the rope circle.

Students are the squirrels. 

Three families of squirrels are preparing their reserve of nuts for the winter. But the bears are making it very difficult and even stealing the stashes of acorns away from the squirrels. The squirrels are trying to get as many acorns as possible and protect them. Each family of squirrels has a bucket to put their nuts in and is gathered away from the rope and the bears planning their strategies.

Time to start the game. The squirrels carefully come to the rope to steal away a clothespin (an acorn) one at a time. Look out for the bears! If a bear touches you while you are taking a nut, you, the squirrel, have to go back to your ‘home’ before setting out to try again.

The facilitators make it very scary by acting as big bears.

When a squirrel grabs an acorn, the squirrel needs to go back ‘home’ and put it in the bucket before scurrying back to get more! Remember, only one acorn at a time!

The game is over when there are no more acorns left on the rope.

As a group, count the number of acorns each family of squirrels has and declare a winning family or announce they are all winners. The bear will have to look for salmon or some other food source.

Materials: rope, lots of clothespins, buckets

Lesson Consolidation
Students have learned that all animals, on both land and water, live in a hierarchy of food chains and the inter-relationships of food webs. These are found in 5 Trophic Levels which contain herbivores, omnivores, carnivores as well as decomposers.

Suggested Time:
5 minutes

Assessment Prompts

Attitudes and Values

Intention of the Assessment

Examples of how students can demonstrate their learning

Assessments shall demonstrate the students’ mastery of food chains and webs including trophic levels. Students shall be able to identify the place within the trophic levels of a variety of animal and plants

Students will be able to identify where animals fall within the Global Food Web. As a result of this new knowledge students will develop a respect for all life and the responsibilities implied by that knowledge for mindful interaction with the environment.

Module 3 - Animal Health Sciences: Discovering the Animal Kingdom

Lesson 5: Conservation Status (Animals Under Threat)

Big Idea

Every community has the ability to make adjustments in their daily lives to support and improve the well-being of all creatures. We must have a deep understanding of the range of biodiversity around our home and the community in order for everyone to commit to supporting a One Health perspective.

Overview

The overall theme of Module 3 is focused on scaffolding age-appropriate scientific literacy on biodiversity – teaching children through research and community exploration to understand the interconnectedness of their community ecosystem.

In this lesson, students will be reminded that the extinction of animals on Earth is not just in the past. Students will learn that the extinction of animals is an ongoing process and that there are levels of threat that human beings influence by their behavior.

By the end of this lesson students will:

  • Knowledge: Students will learn the scientific descriptions of the current levels of threat to animals on Earth and how human beings have participated in the increasing threat to the diversity of creatures throughout the world.
  • Understanding: Students will come to understand that human beings continue to have a considerable influence on the health of specific animal species and how those threats, in turn, can influence the biodiversity of life on Earth. Students will understand that extinctions have specific causes as well as create a cascade of diminished biodiversity.
  • Skills: Students will learn about previous extinctions and the scientific levels of threats to animals. Students will learn the behavioral changes that can relieve the pressure on animal species as well as restore natural environments to a healthy state promoting healthy biodiversity.
  • Attitudes and Values: By understanding the extinction process and fragility of life, the students will take responsibility for their behaviors towards the environment. Students will value the importance of each species place within the web of life on Earth.

Lesson Supports

Artifacts of Learning

Section

Notes

Hook: Extinction is forever.

Distribute laminated cards. Let students talk together, exchange cards, then listen to the lesson and place cards on the status line.

  • We have a rating/measuring system telling us how particular animals are doing.
  • Most animals on Earth are rated using this system.
  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the best-known worldwide conservation status listing and ranking system.

EXTINCT

EX – Extinct

  • No known individuals remaining.
  • There are no more of the species left.

EW – Extinct in the Wild

  • Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.
  • Maybe we live in zoos or are illegal pets but we want to go back to our home!

THREATENED

CR – Critically Endangered 

  • Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Help me!

EN – Endangered (Threatened)

  • High risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Threatened Species: A species that is in danger of becoming going extinct in the near future.

VU – Vulnerable

  • High risk of endangerment in the wild.

LOWER RISK

NT – Near Threatened

  • Likely to become endangered in the near future.

LC – Least Concern 

  • Lowest risk.
  • Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
  • But populations are quickly declining.

OTHER CATEGORIES

DD – Data Deficient

  • Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction.
  • We don’t have enough information.

NE – Not Evaluated 

  • Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.
  • We have not evaluated.

Invasive Species: Lionfish
Along the Florida coasts and in the Caribbean we find lionfish in the coral reefs. Lionfish are exciting to look at but they do great damage to coral reefs and other marine ecosystems. Why? Because they do not belong there. They are not native to those waters. They are an invasive species.

Lionfish, in their non-native waters, have a negative impact because… 

  • a predatory reef fish
  • eat native fish
  • eliminate species that serve important ecological roles
  • harms native wildlife and habitat
  • lacks natural predators
  • reproduces quickly which allows it to dominate other fish species
  • coral reefs are already struggling from the effects of climate change, pollution, disease, overfishing, sedimentation, and other stressors. 

Group Discussion and Activity: Where is the Lionfish’s native home? How did the Lionfish get to Florida and the Caribbean? How do we manage invasive species? What about invasive plants? Who are other INVADERS?

Students can use a variety of resources, including internet resources, podcasts, documentaries, and print media to research the questions above and create their own invasive species list.

An invasive species is an organism that causes ecological or economic harm in a new environment where it is not native.

Art Activity: Make a cut-out of a lionfish. Use glitter, paints, markers, and more to embellish this interesting fish.

Lesson Consolidation Earth has a history of natural extinctions and evolutionary development which have changed the nature of all life on the planet. Recent development and migrations of humans has exacerbated and accelerated the extinction process for many species. This process can be altered through the application of One Health behaviors

Assessment Prompts

Attitudes and Values

Intention of the Assessment

Examples of how students can demonstrate their learning

Students shall demonstrate the knowledge of the natural and human-made extinction processes through discussion, written examples, and creative artistic demonstration.

Student understanding of the consequences of human exploitation of the environment will include an ability to express the dangers and realities of extinction throughout the planet. Students will be able to identify specific regions and environments where extinctions have occurred or are in further danger. Students can develop plans for the conservation and restoration of the environments in their own regions.

Module 3 - Animal Health Sciences: Discovering the Animal Kingdom

Lesson 6: Species Spotlight, People

Big Idea

Every community has the ability to make adjustments in their daily lives to support and improve the well-being of all creatures. We must have a deep understanding of the range of biodiversity around our home and the community in order for everyone to commit to supporting a One Health perspective.

Overview

The overall theme of Module 3 is focused on scaffolding age-appropriate scientific literacy on biodiversity – teaching children through research and community exploration to understand the interconnectedness of their community ecosystem.

By the end of this lesson students will:

  • Knowledge: Students will learn how human beings evolved and currently fit within and affect the Web of Life. They will learn about the various ways people form families and societies in accord with value systems developed in different environments over time. Students will learn about the ways that value systems and the development of technologies have combined to create unintended consequences that have changed the Earth’s biosphere.
  • Understanding: Students will gain an understanding of the differences of human behaviors as dependent upon human value systems which, like our species, have evolved over time.
  • Skills: Students will demonstrate an understanding of human evolution as well as how human behaviors are shaped by social and environmental experience. Students will be able to identify reasons for human behaviors as well as explain how the combination of values and technology have determined the state of the world.
  • Attitudes and Values: Students will appreciate the complexity of how people today have been shaped by evolution, the environment, needs, wants and value systems.

As human beings we are part of nature, not apart from it. The richness and variety of our flora and fauna is vital to our survival and that of the entire planet - we need to nurture and value it for what it is.

Sir David Attenborough

Lesson Supports

Artifacts of Learning

Kids' Art

Section

Notes

Hook: Spotlight on People

Think about: What quality of life do you want to have for yourself, your family, and your friends?

Then ask yourself: What quality of life do we want all people on the planet to share?

And then ask yourself: And how can we achieve that quality of life while preserving as many species and ecosystems as possible?

Distribute the laminated species cards for students to study. Allow time for students to talk with the classmates, switch cards, etc…

Natural History Study

When studying any animal, we follow a format beginning with its taxonomy or classification. (Refer to Lesson 2: The Animal Kingdom)

Today our species spotlight is on PEOPLE.

Species name: Homo sapiens
Common name: human, person, people

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Homininae
Genus: Homo
Species: Homo sapiens

Conversations and Sharing

What is local folklore, stories, songs, taboos, usage, understanding?

  • Did you know homo is man or human being in Latin? And sapiens means wise.

Hominids and Modern Humans – Modern human (Homo sapiens) is a hominid.

  • Hominids are apes.
  • Just as dinosaurs are reptiles – hominids are a particular group of apes with unique features. 
  • Hominids are the animal group that includes not only modern humans, but also many other closely related species that are now extinct.
  • There may have been at least 6 versions of humans walking on Earth around 100,000 years ago.
  • Now, it’s just us, modern humans.
  • Hominids began evolving in several different locations on the continent of Africa.
  • Between 200,000 and 100,0000 years ago early modern humans began to leave Africa.

Did you know:

    • The very first hominids evolved special features that made them different from their ape ancestors (orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos)
    • Australopithecus afarensis is an early hominid known to science.
    • Height: 3.5 ft. Lived: 3.2 million years ago.

Refer to Module 2 – Lesson 3: A Safari through Time

Conservation Status: What is the current population status of homo sapiens? Least Concern
Students will stick their cards in the correct place on the status bar.

Justification:

  • Listed as Least Concern because homo sapiens are very widely distributed, adaptable, currently increasing, and there are no major threats resulting in an overall population decline.
  • Population – over 7,000,000,000
  • We want to remember there are many people that are very poor and have much less than we do.
  • We are at risk of losing beautiful and unique cultures.
  • Importance in languages, art, music, stories, trees of sacred meaning, astronomy, etc.

Average Size and Measurements

Men:

  • Height: 69.0 inches
  • United States Weight: 197.8 lbs
  • Global Weight: 136 lbs

Women:

  • Height: 63.6 inches
  • United States Weight: 170.5 lbs
  • Global Weight: 136 lbs

How and why do average heights and weights vary throughout the world? 

Characteristics: What are the characteristics of a homo sapien?

  • We are bipedal – stand erect so our arms are free to handle objects, greater use of tools
  • Opposable thumbs
  • Speech – design of the larynx gives a physiological capacity for speech.
  • Consciousness – complex brain
  • Intellectual abilities: abstract thought, imagination, language, introspection, literature, philosophy, art
  • We are rational, we think about the future and learn from the past.
  • We make decisions about how we want to care for other living things, other organisms, and our shared environment.
  • This is a gift and responsibility we have as human beings.
  • Live to just over 100 years of age
  • Skin and hair color vary according to the amount of melanin – a pigment that helps protect skin from the sun.
  • Many beliefs of the origins of human:
        • Creationists: Christians, Jews, Muslims (Homo sapiens were created in God’s image on day 6 of creation)
        • Other significant religions from other regions of the world: Hindu, Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto and others indigenous and First Nations people around the world
        • Scientists including Evolutionary Biologists and Anthropologists: modern-day humans fully evolved in Africa around 200,000 years ago. (The study and knowledge about the origins of hominids is continuing to evolve. What fun!!!)

Habitat: What does our habitat look like? 

  • People are found in a wide variety of habitats, largely as a result of our ability to adapt and modify the environment.
  • Today, major concentrations are found in urban centers. Why is this true?
  • People live in different abodes throughout the world. Some examples include igloos, yurts, caves, huts, tall buildings, tiny houses, suburban homes, refrigerator boxes, benches, makeshift structures near dumps  

Refer to Module 2 – Lesson 4: World Geography

Distribution and Range: Where in the world do people live? 

  • A small group of humans has been introduced to space where they inhabit the International Space Station.
  • Humans have the widest worldwide distribution of any terrestrial mammal species – inhabiting every continent on Earth
  • Although there are no permanent settlements in Antarctica.

Refer to Module 2 – Lesson 4: World Geography

Diet and Food: What do humans eat?

  • Human beings are omnivores.
  • As a result, the diets of people throughout the world was once dependant upon the available foods whether they be fruits, vegetables, grains, or meat. 
  • People also have evolutionary cravings for fats, sugar, and salt. People also have an emotional connection to food based on tradition. 
  • Today’s diets have changed dramatically as the result of advanced technologies in food production and transportation. 
  • Changes in diet include more meats and proceed foods a trend that begun in developed countries that has spread worldwide.
  • What will our diets look like in the future? How are these agricultural advances affecting other wild flora and fauna around the world?

Refer to Module 1 – Lesson 7: Eat a Healthy Diet. Students will understand how to support themselves and their community by making good, healthy, and nutritious food choices.

Behavior: What is the social grouping for humans? 

  • In many cultures throughout the world, families are frequently defined by the nuclear family of mother, father, and children.
  • In some cultures, the extended families are the predominant model as evidenced by communal living structures. 
  • In many cultures, polygamy which creates blended families has been the predominant form of family. 
  • In all cultures, there is some form of community. How these communities function is dependant upon different traditional values.
  • How have changes in transportation and economics affected family units?

Refer to Module 1 – Lesson 8: Reproductive Health and Consent

Threats: What are the threats to human beings and what are the threats that people are causing? A healthy ecosystem doesn’t need us… we need a healthy ecosystem! Therefore, we must ask ourselves what are we doing that is harmful to the environment, which has begun to harm us.
  • disease
  • drought
  • natural disasters
  • shortage in water and food
  • poverty
  • inequities
  • uneven distribution of wealth
  • human conflict
  • the unintended consequences of the technologies advanced within the last two hundred years
  • What is Earth’s carrying capacity? Are people respecting the limitations of the planet?
  • When we overuse and stress natural resources everything is effected.
Following core values will help bring solutions to my people. I am a business owner now. I respect my clients. I am honest with them. They trust me and they return to buy more things. My wife and I practice family planning. We will not have more than 2 children.
Jean d'Amour Tuyisenge
Art of Conservation graduate, Rwanda

Register your activities with the United Nations World Environment Day as you join others around the world doing great things for Planet Earth.

Solutions: BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE: Making behavioral changes is difficult in the best of circumstances. Others will need role models to see that change can happen. Remember: Small Changes done together can make a BIG difference!

What are the changes you can personally make to improve your hygiene and the health of those around you?

  • Foods you eat.
  • Resources you use (plastics, water, fertilizers)
  • Care of your animals.

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY (David Brower, Rene Dubos from Jaques Ellul): How can YOU become active in Conservation, Preservation, or Restoration projects close to home. Show the value of your place in the world by making it better. Others may follow!

Raise awareness and funds with a lemonade stand, participate in citizen science by testing your local water sources, track the birds in your backyard. What creative ideas do you have?

EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE: As we learned, people can be rational. In order to be rational, however, one must have accurate information based in science and experience. We have also learned that people are influenced by tradition. Those traditions that are based in false information or superstitions lack rationality.

Based on your studies, how can you influence others?

  • Do an Art of Conservation display for family and friends. For this lesson, art shows may demonstrate human evolution, people’s contributions through positive innovations and the unintended consequences of humans progress and/or potential solutions.
  • Expand your display to local Community Centers, Library, Town Halls and other venues.
  • Write to local, state and national leaders explaining the importance and environmental needs of the natural resources, animals and people you know are threatened.
  • Share the information you have learned through local media such as newspaper editorials or a local television or radio station.
  • Always be looking for new and creative ways to share what you have learned. This is a lifetime task. Always be certain that you are telling the Truth, especially to those in authority! Nothing is more powerful than Truth to Power. But, it is also challenging so ALWAYS present the truth with respect. If we are respecting the Environment, we must demonstrate respect to others, even those who do not have the facts you do.

People in Art #1

This exercise can be done in combination with Module 4’s Theme 4: Figure & Portrait Drawing.

Draw a person. Pencil on watercolor paper. Add color.

Materials: worksheets, visuals or models, brushes, water cups, rags, paints

People in Art #2

This exercise can be done in combination with Module 4’s Theme 4: Figure & Portrait Drawing.

Draw the head of a person. Pencil on watercolor paper.

Materials: worksheets, visuals or models, brushes, water cups, rags, paints

Lesson Consolidation
People have been a part of the natural evolution of the planet (4.5 billion years) for at least 200,000 years. One of the significant aspects of being a Person is that we have the ability to be rational. The skills we have developed have improved the lives of many, but have also harmed others and had unintended consequences on our home, the planet Earth.

Assessment Prompts

Attitudes and Values

Intention of the Assessment

Examples of how students can demonstrate their learning

Students will demonstrate an understanding of human evolution, including the positive and negative influences people have had on others as well as the environment through artistic expression, discussion, and written essays.

Students can demonstrate their newfound knowledge as listed above in the Solutions section.

Module 3 - Animal Health Sciences: Discovering the Animal Kingdom

Lesson 7: Species Spotlight, Dog

Big Idea

Every community has the ability to make adjustments in their daily lives to support and improve the well-being of all creatures. We must have a deep understanding of the range of biodiversity around our home and the community in order for everyone to commit to supporting a One Health perspective.

Overview

The overall theme of Module 3 is focused on scaffolding age-appropriate scientific literacy on biodiversity – teaching children through research and community exploration to understand the interconnectedness of their community ecosystem.

By the end of this lesson students will:

  • Knowledge: Students will learn how dogs evolved, how they have been domesticated, and how they currently fit within both human societies and the Web of Life. They will learn about the various roles which dogs have played in human societies throughout the world.
  • Understanding: Students will understand that dogs, among other animals (and perhaps plants!) are sentient beings who have been taken from the wild and domesticated to play a variety of roles for human beings. They will understand that dogs, given proper care and respect, in return, enrich the lives of their human caretakers.
  • Skills: Students will apply their knowledge of dog evolution and domestication to become better owners and caretakers of dogs and other domesticated animals in their lives. Students will learn the skills of feeding, exercising, and properly training the animals under their care.
  • Attitudes and Values: Students will appreciate the complexity of how dogs today have been shaped by evolution and breeding. By knowing the roles that dogs have historically played both in the wild and under domestication students can better appreciate that the lives of dogs (and other pets) are profoundly influenced by way they are treated. Students will learn that pets are not toys.

Lesson Supports

Artifacts of Learning

Kids' Art

Section

Notes

Review and Making Connections

I love and admire all animals but simply love dogs tremendously. During my first year living and working in Rwanda, I adopted two feral African Street Dog puppies. I knew I would take care of them to the best of my abilities and when the time would come to leave Rwanda, they would be going with me. I soon learned about the sad history of dogs in a country that has endured years of civil war and genocide. Dogs were to be feared. To be tortured. To be left to suffer. At best, they were utilitarian beasts. Rwanda is not alone. The world over, atrocities or not, too many people mistreat animals.

My two dogs became integral to the learning experience in Art of Conservation to both neighborhood children and those in the classrooms. The veterinarians visiting the classes with their dogs, both in Rwanda and later in Mexico, raised even more awareness of the responsibilities one needs to provide when taking on a pet or any domesticated animal. At first, children and students were fearful but over time, I witnessed the children change in both attitude and demeanor. They understood that when you treat another living thing with kindness and respect, you are given that gift in return.

Hook: Spotlight on Dogs

Think about:

  • Dogs give us so much happiness and companionship. 
  • Share some of your stories about the dogs or cats you have known and loved?
  • How do you feel when you see a stray dog?
  • Should someone adopt a pet if they don’t have time to take care of him/her?
  • Are you a responsible human family caretaker? What are some of the things you do to make sure your pet is healthy and happy?
  • Dogs depend upon us almost as much as we depend on them.

Distribute laminated species cards for students to study. Allow time for students to talk with their classmates, switch cards, etc.

Natural History Study

Species name: Canis lupus familiaris
Common name: domestic dog, doggie, puppy, man’s best friend, hound

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: Canis lupus
Subspecies: Canis lupus familiaris

Conversations and Sharing

  • Dogs were domesticated for hunting, protection, food, and companionship and ultimately can become members of the family.
  • Dogs are descendants of wolves meaning dogs are a distant relative of the wolf.
  • The transformation or the divergence of the two species happened between 40,000 and 20,000 years ago. 
  • Dogs are probably the first domesticated animal.
  • They lost their big sharp teeth.
  • Ancient Egyptians were possibly the first people to breed dogs for their appearance and utility. 
  • Selective breeding led to purebred dogs.
  • Today, we have more than 300 different breeds.
  • Have we gone too far with breeding? Certain breeds have a tendency for genetic disorders. Breathing problems, hip dysplasia, and increased risk of cancer.
  • What are our options when we are ready to bring a dog into our home and care?

Conservation Status What is the current population status: Not evaluated
Students can stick their cards in the correct place on the status bar.

Size and Measurements

  • Many varieties of dogs. All shapes and sizes.
  • A Yorkshire Terrier is one of the smallest, a Saint Bernard the most massive, and the Great Dane is the tallest.
  • Height: 6 to 33 inches (at the shoulder)
  • Tail length: straight, sickle, curled, or cork-screw. Some tails are docked. Do you know why? Do you think that is a good idea, or not?
  • Adult weight: 3 to 175 lbs (1 to 79 kg)

Characteristics

What are the characteristics of a dog?

  • Strong senses! Vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and sensitivity to Earth’s magnetic field.
  • Playful, trainable, loyal
  • Dogs help people – therapeutic roles, search and rescue, aiding disable or handicapped people, protection, assisting the police, herding, farming, hunting, and companionship.
  • Dogs help protect wildlife (anti-poaching in Africa and India)
  • How can you tell if a dog is happy? Excited tail-wagging.
  • How about if a dog is angry or feels threatened? Bared teeth.

Habitat

What does the habitat of a dog look like?

  • Dogs are usually closely associated with their human family caretakers.
  • What is your dog’s favorite place to sleep? How about where he/she likes to go for a walk? 

Distribution and Range: Where in the world do dogs live?

  • Found throughout the world.
  • The African Wild Hunting Dog is in the same family, CANIDAE, but is a different species, Lycaon pictus, and is a wild animal.

Diet and Food: What do dogs eat?

  • Omnivore. Eats meat and may eat plant material and invertebrates.
  • It’s important to talk with your veterinarian about the proper diet for your dog. 

Behavior: What is the social grouping for dogs? 

  • Dogs evolved in groups called packs.
  • They defend their territories by urinating on things.
  • Have you ever seen a dog bury his/her bone or favorite toy? Will he/she find it for future use?

Threats and Solutions

Dogs endure great suffering due to:

  • The dog meat trade, raising and slaughtering dogs for food, is considered permissible in the perspectives of some cultures. This sad fact is extremely cruel. Dogs face a lifetime of abuse and slaughtered in a nightmarish manner.
  • Inhuman treatment, mistreated, abused, neglected
  • Culled by poisoning
  • Navigating in and out of vehicular traffic
  • Made to participate in dogfighting
  • Not sufficient food or exercise
  • Left on rooftops. Suffer from the hot sun and hot rooftop surface.
  • Do not receive veterinarian care. A dog needs regular vaccines and treatment for illnesses.
  • Diseases your dog can contract and spread – Brucellosis, Campylobacteriosis, Capnocytophaga, Cryptosporidiosis, Tapeworm, Hookworm, Rabies, Ringworm, Sarcoptic Mange, Tickborne Diseases, Giardia
  • Letting domesticated cats or dogs become pregnant with a litter might be overwhelming for the individual, family, or community to take care of.
  • Abandoning unwanted pets, rather than bringing them to animal shelters or other rehoming programs.
  • This irresponsible behavior can cause a rapid increase in wild, feral, and stray animals in the community.
  • When people do not take care of their dogs, dogs may go after other animals. Some of those animals may be endangered.

Be kind to animals:

  • Dogs often developed strong emotional ties to their human family caretakers. Reciprocate that love with kind caretaking.
  • Dogs are pack animals. You are the leader of the pack now. Spend time with your dog. A dog can feel separation anxiety if you do not give them lots of attention.
  • They are social animals. They want to play, be loved, and cared for.
  • Look at your beloved dog. Don’t have your gaze and attention on electronic devices.
  • Plenty of exercise, but don’t over-exercise especially in unfavorable weather, hot payment/ground surfaces.
  • When out on a walk, let them take time sniffing around. They are getting the news of the day.
  • Don’t rush their potty efforts.
  • Learn good leash practices that are good for you and your dog.
  • Understand why your dog misbehaves. Is it your behavior that is the trigger? Be consistent with your training cues. (same hand signals and verbal cues, keep them simple)
  • Did your pet experience past traumas? Work with an expert to understand better and this will help your training. 
  • Trim their nails with expert care.
  • Limiting and controlling the opportunities for animals to breed.
  • Spaying, neutering –  the sterilization of animals, usually by removal of the male’s testicles or the female’s ovaries and uterus, in order to eliminate the ability to procreate and reduce sex drive.
  • Otherwise, undesirable puppies
  • Before buying or adopting a dog or puppy, make sure a dog is the right type for you and your family. 
  • Always clean up after your dog to keep the environment clean and reduce the risk of diseases spreading to people and other animals. 
  • Learn how to prevent dog bites. Any dog can bite, but most are preventable and there are many things you can do to help prevent them.
  • Advocate against the cruelty of animals and the dog meat trade

Career Exploration: Veterinarians and their Dogs Come to Class

Many thanks to Drs Magdalena and Juan for their numerous visits to our classrooms. They took time out of their busy schedule, brought with them X-ray machine, stethoscope, skeleton, brushes, nail clippers, their dogs, and so much more. Students saw so beautifully how dogs respond with proper care and training. Inspired to be kind to animals and study to become a vet are the two big takeaways from their visits.

Dogs in Art #1

Draw a proportionally correct dog. Pencil on watercolor paper. Add color.

Dogs in Art #2 Mosaic

Draw proportionally correct the head of a dog. Pencil on watercolor paper. Cut and paste little squares of colored paper.

 

Lesson Consolidation
Dogs have a special place in the lives of human beings. In addition to the role that evolution played in their modern development, dogs have been domesticated by people for uses including protection, hunting, food, companionship, and affection.

Assessment Prompts

Attitudes and Values

Intention of the Assessment

Examples of how students can demonstrate their learning

Students will demonstrate an understanding of dog evolution, domestication and animal care through oral, written and artistic expression.

Students can demonstrate their newfound knowledge gained from experts in the field of veterinarian care by how they interact with dogs and other domesticated animals under their care. They can educate others in their families by setting an example for appropriate feeding, play, training, and nursing of their dogs.

Module 3 - Animal Health Sciences: Discovering the Animal Kingdom

Lesson 8: Spotlight Species, Mountain Gorilla, Part 1

Big Idea

Every community has the ability to make adjustments in their daily lives to support and improve the well-being of all creatures. We must have a deep understanding of the range of biodiversity around our home and the community in order for everyone to commit to supporting a One Health perspective.

Overview

The overall theme of Module 3 is focused on scaffolding age-appropriate scientific literacy on biodiversity – teaching children through research and community exploration to understand the interconnectedness of their community ecosystem.

We Protect Mountain Gorillas Study is an in-depth look at the endangered mountain gorilla. Facilitators are reminded that this study may be used as a template for YOUR KEYSTONE SPECIES or may be used as an exciting consolidation of One Health concepts.

This study is divided into 4 parts because of the depth of detail and may be used to model any other module.

By the end of Parts 1 through 4, students will be able to demonstrate a depth of knowledge about mountain gorillas:

  • Knowledge: Students will learn the history of European mountain gorilla discovery, Natural History classifications and physical characteristics, mountain gorilla habitats, social order and behaviors, diet, and daily life. Students will learn about human/mountain gorilla interactions, conservation and tourism as well as the special significance of the Gorilla Doctors and other heroes in the welfare of mountain gorillas.
  • Understanding: Students will understand the significance of why mountain gorillas are a Keystone Species in Eastern/Central Africa as well as their importance as a key element of One Health concepts for this region of the world. By integrating a knowledge of the lives and history of mountain gorillas, students will gain a clearer understanding of the roles human beings play in the entire Web of Life.
  • Skills: Students will demonstrate a wide array of knowledge about the lives, Natural History, significance and numerous (positive and negative) human interactions with mountain gorillas. Skills will include the care and actions necessary to ensure the survival and thriving of these Great Apes.
  • Attitudes and Values: The Mountain Gorilla Study is designed as a prime example for student awareness of One Health concepts. Students will recognize that human behaviors have been critical in the lives of this precious species very closely related to ourselves. Students will gain a thorough understanding of care versus carelessness; nurturing versus exploitation as a result of coming to know well the lives and interactions with this close relative.

Lesson Supports

Artifacts of Learning

Kids' Art

Section

Notes

The We Protect Mountain Gorillas Project Assessment for Learning The option for giving students an intake, pre- and, post-questionnaire for this in-depth look at the mountain gorilla follows previous opportunities to administer evaluation and monitoring tools. 

Diagnostic Quiz There is a suggested written diagnostic that could be used when facilitating the mountain gorilla study. It is important students know that this is not a test and that they are not expected to know the answers when taking the pre-questionnaire. But the goal is that we will see an increase in learning at the end of the gorilla study. This activity can be structured around helping the facilitators to learn more about the student’s classroom experience and personal stories. It is important to establish a baseline (starting point) to measure the changes in understanding and values towards One Health and students’ sense of responsibility towards community health. Upon completion of this study, repeat this diagnostic minus the intake. You’ll find student behavior, knowledge has changed and improved. The findings are also helpful for you and your team to tweak, change, and revise the lessons to better fit your needs.

Note: Connect with educators in the community who may want to consider modifying the questions to be more inclusive and culturally appropriate as necessary.

Hook: Spotlight on the endangered mountain gorilla

Think about:

  • On our Safari through Time (Module 2: Lesson 3) we learned the Tertiary Period beginning 65 million years ago brought mammals to the forefront on Earth.
  • Smaller mammals like monkeys, primates, began to come down from the trees and begin their evolution into great apes.
        • Orangutan evolved 8 million years ago
        • Gorilla 6 million years ago
        • Chimpanzee 4 million ago
        • Ancestors of chimpanzees and bonobos diverged 2 million ago
        • Homo sapiens evolved into what we are today, modern humans, approximately 200,000 years ago
  • 4 out of the 5 great apes live on the African continent; Mountain gorilla, Chimpanzee, Bonobo, and Human being
  • The 5th great ape, the Orangutan, lives in the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra.
  • Gorillas are found naturally in 10 African countries and are protected by law in all of them.
  • After chimpanzees, gorillas are our closest relatives.
  • We share over 98% of our DNA (our genetic material) with gorillas. 
  • We are so genetically similar, yet gorillas haven’t developed all the necessary immunities to fight off illnesses spread from us to them.
  • Cases of transmission of human diseases to great apes include blood-borne viruses such as Ebola or H.I.V. 
  • Gorillas and the other great apes are particularly susceptible to respiratory infections, such as human metapneumonia virus (MNPV) and Covid-19. Exposure to these viruses is especially concerning because they can be transmitted easily through the air.

Distribute laminated species cards for students to study. Allow time for students to talk with their classmates, switch cards, etc.

Natural History Study

Name: Mountain gorilla
Common name: the Kinyarwandan word for gorilla is ingagi

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Homininae
Genus: Gorilla
2 Species: Western Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) and Eastern Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei)
4 Subspecies:

  • Western Gorilla Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli)
  • Eastern Gorilla Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) and Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei)

Activity: Sing-along in English & Kinyarwanda!
Virunga is derived from ‘kirunga’ meaning ‘high isolated mountains that reach the clouds.’ Ingagi is the word for gorilla.

Conversation: How the mountain gorilla got its name

  • In 1902, a German army officer named Captain Robert von Beringe was the first European to report seeing mountain gorillas on the volcano called Mt Sabyinyo which straddles Rwanda and Uganda.
  • Mountain gorillas were unknown to European science at the time.
  • Captain Beringe shot 2 gorillas which were sent to the Natural History Museum in Berlin.
  • Science named this new species Eastern Gorilla and later determined it had 2 sub-species. 
  • These specimens were given the scientific name Gorilla beringei beringei.
  • Hunting continued until protection was finally encouraged but in the 1960s civil war and later genocide brought more threats and insecurity.

Today, Rwanda celebrates Kwita Izina, an annual gorilla naming ceremony. Movie stars, business leaders, local officials, and community members are given the opportunity to name mountain gorilla babies who were born during the year. The event draws large crowds of Rwandans and tourists to celebrate the conservation and protection of the endangered mountain gorilla. 

In 2012 student Habibu Habineza was given the honor to name a baby gorilla. He chose IWACU meaning HOME in English.

Conservation Status What is the mountain gorilla’s current population status: Endangered

  • Approximately 1000 mountain gorillas in the wild are alive today. 
  • A 2016 census counted 604 mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes. Where does the other half live? We’ll find out!
  • In 1981, the Virunga region had an estimated 250 mountain gorillas! A very low number. 
  • Superstars in Extreme Conservation – George Schaller, Dian Fossey, Craig Sholley, David Watts, Kelly Stewart, Ian Redmond, Alexander Harcourt, Amy Vedder, Bill Weber, Mike Cranfield, highly skilled and dedicated local partners, and so many more – began the work to bring back the critically endangered mountain gorilla population to what it is today.
  • The world owes gratitude to these compassionate individuals.
  • It is illegal to harm or kill a mountain gorilla.
  • It is illegal to enter their forest home without permission.
  • Mountain gorillas are not in zoos. Other types of gorillas, such as the lowland gorilla, may be seen in zoos.
  • Gorillas have extremely strong social bonds with their family in order to survive. Baby mountain gorillas who have been taken from their mothers and family groups have died within months.
  • People pose a serious threat to all the populations of Great Apes through poaching, disease, and population pressure.

Students can stick their mountain gorilla status cards on the conservation status banner at endangered.

Size and Measurements Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates!

  • Head and body length: up to 70 inches (180 cm)
  • Weight: 300-400 lb. (90-180 kg) Males usually weigh twice as much as females.
  • Arm span: About 8 feet (over 2 meters)
      • Having arms and legs the same length lets gorillas walk and run well on all four limbs.
      • Gorillas use their strong arms to climb into trees and to pull branches down for food.
      • Our legs are longer than our arms. It requires greater strength in our legs for walking. 

Characteristics & Physical Appearance

Along with other visible characteristics, wild animal veterinarians, scientists, trackers, and guides can identify each individual gorilla by its unique nose shape and print.

Nose Print Look at your thumb. Your thumb and fingerprint are unique. The shape of mountain gorilla nostrils and the patterns of wrinkles on their noses are unique too.

Activity With visuals and outline drawings, students can study the shape of the nostrils and the wrinkles. With an ink pad, students can make thumb and fingerprints and compare them with their classmates. They can add their own pattern of wrinkles to the outline drawings of the gorilla face.

Characteristics & Physical Appearance continued

Hands & Feet Gorillas have hands and feet just like we do.

  • Hands and fingers They have an opposable thumb and 4 fingers on each hand.
  • Feet and toes Their big toe is longer and lower on the foot than ours. Their big toes are flexible which helps with grasping and climbing behaviors.

Characteristics & Physical Appearance continued

Quadrupedal Mountain gorillas walk on all 4 limbs (2 hands and 2 feet) most of the time.

Knuckles Gorillas walk on their knuckles.

  • Ask a volunteer to demonstrate this. Guest visitor, Leonard Rwambibi, a tracker in the park, demonstrates how the gorilla turns his/her hands over and walks on his/her knuckles. Only with the hands, not the feet.

Bipedal Gorillas are capable of running bipedally, on their two rear legs, up to 20 feet (6 meters).

Characteristics & Physical Appearance continued

Shaggy Fur

Mountain gorillas have longer and darker hair than other gorilla species.

Thick and shaggy fur helps them stay warm in their cold and high-altitude habitat.

Gorillas in Art Let’s draw an anatomically correct mountain gorilla. Pencil on paper.

Gorillas in Art Draw a bipedal adult female mountain gorilla. Her height is about 4 feet 3 inches (130 cm). Her average weight is 165-175 lbs (75-80 kg). Pencil on paper

Career Exploration: Mountain gorilla veterinarian care

The Gorilla Doctors, a non-profit organization, is a group of veterinarians who monitor the health and well-being of the gorillas. Their patients, the mountain gorillas, are treated when caught in snares or have serious sicknesses, pneumonia being very serious. 

HOW they treat their patients is a big and exciting story. Early every morning, the Gorilla Docs trek into the forest to check on their patients. Constantly, they receive reports from trackers and guides especially if a gorilla shows signs of sickness or any other concern.

Imagine being a Gorilla Doctor. You received a message that a gorilla is caught in a snare. What would you do? Would you hike up the volcano to the family, approach your patient, and simply cut away the snare? What if the snare is wrapped so tightly around the skin and infection has set in? Wait a second! The Silverback, the leader of the family, would not allow this. He is incredibly protective of his family and the veterinarian may get hurt.

A plan must be made. The Gorilla Doctors and their team prepare the needed equipment. Once they’ve reached the family in the forest, the doctor stands behind a tree with a dart gun. Quickly the gun is fired sending a flying syringe filled with the right amount of anesthesia which will settle the Silverback and other adults so the patient can be worked on. In some cases, the flying syringe has medicine, not anesthesia, that enters into the sick patient. But in the case of a snare, the highly concerned family members need to be sedated. Gorillas don’t usually notice the syringe hitting them and simply pick it off and discard it. The vets work quickly and carefully on their patient by removing the rope or wire, cleaning wounds, and giving medicine if there is fear of infection. Vitals are also taken such as temperature. Blood samples are obtained and examined back at the clinic. Hopefully, the intervention has not caused stress to the family and the patient heals quickly. It’s been an exciting and successful morning.

Please note: If a gorilla is having problems that are not human-induced, it is likely the Gorilla Docs will not intervene. 

As you can see, the vets must be prepared for all kinds of medical treatments and surprises so they carry a lot with them into the forest. 

  • Prep list: rubber gloves, masks, coveralls, stethoscope, thermometer, scissors to remove snares: wire and rope, trash bag, warming blanket, mass hazardous waste bag, radio, medical kit – dart gun, CO2 cartridge, syringe, antibiotics, topical ointments, etc…

Q & A: Allow plenty of time for students to ask questions. A common one, “What do I do to become a Gorilla Doctor like you?”

Poster: I want to be a Gorilla Doctor!

Lesson Consolidation Oral Quiz

  • Name the two species of Gorilla? (Western and Eastern)
  • What is the scientific name for mountain gorilla? (Gorilla beringei beringei)
  • What type of animal is the mountain gorilla? (mammal)
  • The Gorilla Doctors treat a mountain gorilla that is caught in a snare by (keeping the group calm and if needed use a flying dart syringe to administer medicine or a light tranquilizer.)

Module 3 - Animal Health Sciences: Discovering the Animal Kingdom

Lesson 9: Mountain Gorilla, Part 2

Big Idea

Every community has the ability to make adjustments in their daily lives to support and improve the well-being of all creatures. We must have a deep understanding of the range of biodiversity around our home and the community in order for everyone to commit to supporting a One Health perspective.

Overview

Building upon the previous lessons, students will continue our in-depth mountain gorilla natural history study as we explore mountain gorilla habitat, key figures, and the daily lives of mountain gorillas.

Lesson Supports

Artifacts of Learning

Section

Notes

Habitat What does the habitat of a mountain gorilla look like?

The Virunga Massif or the Virunga Volcanoes is a 400,000-year-old volcanic habitat with a 25-mile long chain of volcanoes, mostly extinct. The mountain gorillas’ home is considered a high-altitude montane and bamboo tropical forest.

Here’s a closer look at the different forest zones

  • Mountain gorillas spend most of their time in the hagenia and hypericum forest at 9,200–11,000 feet (2,804–3,353 meters). They can find food, such as the gallium vines, year-round in this zone.
  • The bamboo forest is the lowest altitude where the gorillas spend time. 7,300–9,200 feet (2,225–2,804 meters) 
  • Above the hagenia and hypericum forest, gorillas climb through sub-alpine and even to the top of the volcano which is called the giant Senecio zone or Afro-alpine at 11,300–14,000 feet (3,444–4,267 meters). They like to eat the soft centers of giant senecio trees.

The photos below show the mountain gorilla habitat from inside and outside of the park. 

Distribution and Range

Where in the world do mountain gorillas live?

As we learned above, The Virunga Massif or the Virunga Volcanoes is a 400,000-year-old volcanic habitat with a 25-mile long chain of extinct volcanoes. Mountain gorilla habitat can be described as small forested islands surrounded by a sea of people. Gorillas don’t know borders and it happens that their home is in 3 different countries.

  • Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda
  • Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda

A separate mountain gorilla population lives about 20 miles to the north.

  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda

K A B I S A G A M U is an easy way for children in Rwanda to remember the name of the volcanoes.

  • Karisimbi: Rwanda/DRC 14,790 feet – 4,507 meters
  • Bisoke: Rwanda/DRC 12,180 feet – 3,711 meters
  • Sabyinyo: Rwanda/Uganda/DRC 12,050 feet – 3,674 meters
  • Gahinga: Rwanda/Uganda 11,400 feet – 3,474 meters
  • Muhabura: Rwanda/Uganda 13,540 feet – 4,127 meters

But this leaves out a few volcanoes that are located in the DRC.

  • Mikeno: 14,560 feet – 4,437 meters
  • Nyiragongo: 11,400 feet – 3,474 meters
  • Nyramuragira: 10,031 feet – 3,058 meters

Buffer Zones Keeping gorillas inside their protected park can be difficult when they know yummy food is on the other side of park boundaries. Eucalyptus bark is a favorite. This tree is not indigenous to Rwanda but was introduced because it is fast-growing and used for building houses. In an effort to keep gorillas and people safe, planting tea plants and other crops that the gorillas don’t like is a good practice. The tea then brings in economic help by harvesting and selling the tea.

Virunga Massif

National parks in Rwanda

Outside of the park, Guide François shows tourists how the mountain gorilla takes off the bark from an eucalyptus tree.

Science and Art at Kabara Meadow 

Important boundary-making deals, research, and art has been made at Kabara Meadow. The meadow is in the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo. Karisimbi, the highest volcano peak and Mikeno, the second-highest peak flank the beautiful meadow. 

  • King Albert of Belgium had control of much of the land that was home to the gorilla. Germany and Britain were the other colonial powers.
  • Carl Akeley, an American naturalist, urged the Belgian government to make this Africa’s first national park. And so in 1925 most of the Virunga volcano mountain chain became a protected area and Africa’s first national park named Albert National Park.
  • In 1921 Carl Akeley painted a diorama of the mountain gorilla habitat from the side of Karisimbi just near the meadow. The diorama can be seen in New York’s American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of the Apes.
  • In 2010 Stephen Quinn, an artist from the same museum, Museum of Natural History, repainted the same scene from the original site that Carl Akeley painted from. Unfortunately, it shows the shrinkage of mountain gorilla habitat replaced by human encroachment. Throughout the last 100 years, the gorillas’ ability to adapt when their natural habitat is converted to farmland is extremely fortunate. They leave the lower section of the Virunga Volcanoes to higher altitudes. Currently, there are plans to expand, or take-back, some of the original habitat for the gorillas.

Career Exploration: Pioneering Great Ape researchers – George Schaller and The Trimates

  • In 1959 George Schaller began the first long-term scientific study of the mountain gorillas’ life at Kabara Meadow.
  • He spent over 458 hours of observation.
  • He helped change the perception that gorillas were ferocious and scary beasts. He approached them with empathy and respect and recognized them as the sentient beings that they are.
  • Louis Leakey, who pioneered the study of human evolution in Africa, encourage three amazing women, Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas to undertake intensive great ape research. Jane Goodall with chimpanzees in Tanzania. Birute Galdikas with orangutans in Sumatra/Borneo. And Dian Fossey with mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes. Thanks to their dedication and courage, the outside world learned about these incredible primates and the human cultures surrounding them. Leakey coined them The Trimates. 
  • In 1963 Dian Fossey made her first short visit to Kabara Meadow when photographers Joan and Alan Root were there making a gorilla documentary. She would return a few years later to begin her pioneering mountain gorilla research. More on Dian Fossey to follow.

Revisiting Carl Akeley’s Gorillas in 2010 with artist Stephen C. Quinn

Diet and Food: Big Bellies
Mountain gorillas are primarily herbivores, plant-eaters. One-third of their day is spent searching for and eating plants. 

  • The majority of their diet consists of leaves, shoots, and stems.
  • Gallium is a vine and easy to find year-round.
  • Thistle, nettles, and wild celery are their favorites.
  • The tannins in the plants they eat turn their teeth and tongues black.
  • Bark, roots, flowers, and fruits (a blue fruit called Pygeum) like berries.    
  • Small insects or invertebrates like grubs and snails.
  • A few months of the year fresh bamboo shoots are sprouting. The gorillas travel to the bamboo forest to eat the sweet and favorite treat. 
  • With their strong arms and sharp teeth, gorillas grab and cut through tough, fibrous plants.
  • Adult males can eat up to 75 lb (34 kg) of vegetation a day, while a female can eat as much 40lb (18 kg)
  • Their diet of all these plants contains lots of water so rarely are they seen drinking from mountain streams or lakes. 
  • Their big bellies are full of food and it takes a while until the nutrients can be absorbed into the body.

Behavior: Gorillas have extremely strong social bonds with their family in order to survive. 

Family Groups Most mountain gorillas live in family groups of around 30 to 40 individuals. 

  • One dominant male protects the group. He is called the silverback.
  • There may be more than one silverback in a group but the older more experienced silverback is in charge.
  • Males between 8-12 years, not old enough to have a silver back, are called blackbacks.
  • Some adult male gorillas live alone.
  • Families have many adult females.
  • They are leaders to the younger females. They are the mommies and aunties helping with caring for the young gorillas.
  • When they get older, most males and around 60% of females leave their birth group to join another group. This helps prevent inbreeding. 
  • A female gorilla is pregnant for 8.5 to 9 months.
  • Baby gorillas are infants until they reach around 3.5 years old. Weaning from the mother’s milk occurs around 3 years of age.
  • They hug, carry, and play with them.
  • No other gorilla is allowed to care for the baby.
  • The baby sleeps with the mother for the first 3 years. 
  • By the age of 4, the young gorilla is independent enough and is through nursing, so the mother is able to get pregnant again. 
  • Gorillas are called juveniles between ages 4 to 7.
  • It’s hard to tell male and female juveniles apart from one another.
  • They spend their days playing, climbing, and exploring.
  • Older gorillas make sure they do not wander too far from the group.
  • Discipline for unwanted behavior is a pig-like grunt and a stern look.
  • Juveniles are treated with affection and patience.
  • A gorilla family spends their day like this…  40% resting, 30% eating, and 30% traveling or travel-feeding-times.
  • Mutual grooming is important because it reinforces social bonds and keeps their hair free from dirt and parasites.

Life Span Up to 50 years. Common causes of death and threats facing the gorillas are explored below.

Activity: Making Night Nests

If you were a mountain gorilla where would you sleep? In the tree like a chimpanzee? On the ground?

Let’s become a mountain gorilla family. How about the Sabyinyo Group?

  • Who wants to be the top silverback, Guhonda?
  • Gihishamwotsi is the other less dominant silverback.
  • Gukunda is an older female. She will make her own bed, or night nest, and share it with her baby Itabaza and nobody else!
  • Kampanga, another female, has a baby named Ishimwe
  • Umutungo is an adult female who recently joined the group from a different group. She helps Gukunda and Kampanga with their babies. Aunties are like that.
  • Another female Agasozindatwa and her baby Umulinzi will share their nest together.
  • Shirimpumu, a male Black Back, will sleep in his own bed.
  • Isheja is a juvenile now older than 4 years old. He will make his own night nest. He may even decide to sleep in a tree!

Good Night, Sweet Dreams We have finished our afternoon forage and it’s time to prepare for sleep. We make new beds every night. This is how it’s done-

  • We gather, pull, and build our ground nests out of the forest plants.
  • Our pillows are made by folding down flexible leafy stems.
  • Silverback Guhonda makes his bed and we build our nests around him for safety.
  • Our moms are so caring. They make our bed and grab us and protect us all night long.
  • We sleep a lot as people do by lying down.
  • But sometimes we sleep in a sunken sitting position and lean on something or another gorilla. We look like a person who is sleeping in an armchair.  

Good Morning The sun is rising. It’s time to start our day. We will find a nice place where there is good forest food and have breakfast. Hopefully baby bamboo shoots – our favorite!

Trackers and Scientists Trackers employed by the national park leave the forest at night once they know where the gorilla group made their night nests. In the morning, trackers return to that same spot in the forest. This helps guides, scientists, and vets find the gorillas early in the morning. 

Fecal Samples What mountain gorillas leave behind in their nest gives us a large amount of valuable information. Their fecal samples are collected out of the nests and studied back at the lab. Stress, paternity, the presence of parasites, diet, a female’s possible reproduction schedule, and much more can be discovered by studying their poop. 

Art Activity: Papier-mâché gorillas This may take a couple of class sessions. Time is needed for the paper to dry before adding paint.

Basic paper gorilla forms can be made prior to working with the students.

Art Activity: Papier-mâché with other animals If your spotlight species is a turtle or jaguar, here are samples. Have lots of visuals for students to study.

Wire frames can be made prior to the class session.

Lesson Consolidation Oral Quiz

  • What countries in Africa do mountain gorillas live in? (Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda)
  • According to the 2016 census, the estimated number of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Mountains around Volcanoes National Park are ______ individuals. (604)
  • A mountain gorilla family has only one Silverback. (False)
  • Mountain gorillas are primarily herbivores. (True)
  • Individual mountain gorillas can be identified by (nose print)

Module 3 - Animal Health Sciences: Discovering the Animal Kingdom

Lesson 10: Mountain Gorilla, Part 3

Big Idea

Every community has the ability to make adjustments in their daily lives to support and improve the well-being of all creatures. We must have a deep understanding of the range of biodiversity around our home and the community in order for everyone to commit to supporting a One Health perspective.

Overview

The overall theme of Module 3 is focused on scaffolding age-appropriate scientific literacy on biodiversity – teaching children through research and community exploration to understand the interconnectedness of their community ecosystem.

Building upon the previous lessons, we continue our in-depth mountain gorilla natural history study by exploring Social Behaviors, Human Interactions with an emphasis on Tourism, and the importance of Protection and Conservation.

Section

Notes

The Silverback

An adult male gorilla is called a ‘silverback’ because of the silver hair that covers his lower back.
Silverback Fast Facts:

  • He is the leader of the gorilla family.
  • His job is to protect his family.
  • A typical silverback is as tall as an average human, but about 3 times heavier and with much longer arms.
  • He can weigh up to 400 lbs (180 kg) and is twice as large as a female.
  • When a male is 10 to 12 years old, he develops a silver section of hair over his back and hips.
  • The silvering is completed by about 15 to 16 years.
  • This tells the other gorillas that he is sexually mature.
  • His head develops a crest, called the sagittal crest, that gives it an elongated shape.
  • A silverback is gentle with other family members.
  • Young gorillas sit and climb on him.
  • He shows aggression to scare off danger if he believes his family is in trouble.
  • He’ll fill air sacs in his chest and then beat his chest. It sounds like pok-pok-pok and can be heard from a distance.
  • He may show his large canine teeth.
  • He may rise bipedally.
  • And throw vegetation.

The Silverback in Art Pencil and watercolors on watercolor paper.

#1 Draw a silverback mountain gorilla. Consider his head with its ‘sagittal’ crest, the silver on his back and hips, and like all mountain gorillas, his hands turned under for walking on his knuckles.

#2 Draw a silverback with his family in their forest home. Where does a silverback position himself while his family members play, eat, nurse, rest?

Gorillas in Art: Watercolor Resist painting of a Silverback