Learn from home – Endangered Animals
Have fun with Endangered Animals week by learning from home! Endangered Animals week at MOA brings with it a host of fun and educational games and activities that can be carried over from camp and into the home.
Food webs: Cut out pictures of animals in a specific ecosystem and connect them using string to demonstrate predator/prey relationships. This can teach children important ecological concepts such as niches, and help them understand the one species’ extinction can have on the other populations in its environment. Furthermore, these types of activities can be extended to teach children about bio-accumulation of pollutants, one of the reasons why so many predators near the tops of their food chains find themselves at risk of becoming endangered or extinct.
Survival is a fun group game to play with friends, similar to freeze tag. In this game, one out of every five kids are “predators” and must try to catch/tag the “prey”. When setting up the playing field a number of cones/flags equal to one less than the number of players are distributed around the play area. These will be the “trees”, which all of the players will have to run to whenever a supervisor (ie: parent) calls, “Survival!” Only one player is allowed to seek shelter/safety in each tree, leaving one player to be eliminated. After elimination, one “tree” is removed and the game of freeze tag resumes. This is repeated until only one tree and two players remain. This game teaches how deforestation, habitat deconstruction, and human activity is threatening the survival of many species around the globe.
Additionally, if all the predators are eliminated because they don’t reach the safety of the tree, they can be sent to rejoin the game as prey. They won’t be able to tag anyone, but it will make it harder to find a tree when “Survival!” is called. This is an example of what happens when a predator is removed from an ecosystem and their prey experience a temporary burst in population. A population which is larger than can be supported by its environment. If the damage done to the environment is not irreversible, the population will stabilize at the environment’s carrying capacity. However, if the population completely consumes its food resources or in some other way causes irreversible damage to its environment it can have a lasting effect which will affect the other populations in the environment for many generations down the line.
These are only a few examples of games and activities that can be brought into the home as a way of teaching children about endangered animals. Species-specific crafts and games can also be used!
While learning is important, fun is just as important when you’re a kid! Finding ways to incorporate lessons into fun games and activities is the key to an eager and excited student.