As universities, colleges, and schools move learning online in the wake of the coronavirus spread and COVID-19, many educators are interested in how to conduct WILD activities remotely. See below for ideas and resources to guide students through WILD activities at their own location. If you have additional ideas or resources, feel free to send them our way at email@example.com. Stay WILD and healthy!
Courtesy of Kerry Wixted, Maryland Project WILD Coordinator:
Many of WILD's field investigations make it easy to have students go through activities on their own.
Seed Need (Project WILD page 117; student pages here)
- Create a background PPT or video to talk about plant dispersal . Here is a potential video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06sbmWAzoys
- Have students go outside and collect seeds from different plants. They can use the sock method, masking tape, collect by hand, or use materials like felt that is swept through brush.
- Have them sort the seeds using the investigation sheet. Have them take photos of their sheet and describe some of their reasoning for sorting seeds in those categories. Have the class share photos online with descriptions on where they collected seeds.
- After viewing the class photos, have students identify the most common type of dispersal and explain why they think that is.
- As a STEM extension, challenge students to design a dispersal mechanism that can disperse a lima bean. Options can include: by wind, by water, by animals, etc. See who can make the best design and have them measure how far it will travel. Have them share methods and results online.
Keeping Cool (Project WILD page 200; student resources here)
- Go over thermoregulation and how different organisms survive in a PPT or video.
- Have students select a local reptile and research optimal temperature ranges and habitat preferences.
- Have students design a model of their reptile. Have them take pictures of their models and provide information about habitat preferences.
- Have students create a data sheet to collect at least 3 temperature readings (see sample in text).
- Have students go outside and investigate habitat to evaluate if any of the selected sites would meet the needs of their reptile. Use thermometers to measure temperature and have them take photos of their reptile models in the 3 different habitats. Be sure to stress that temps should be taken within 15 min of each other.
- Once back inside, have students determine if any of the locations they selected may support their reptile. Why or why not. Have them write up observations and conclusions to share with the class.
Lunch for a Bear (Courtesy of Susan Robinson, Connecticut Project WILD Coordinator)
Growing Up WILD, p. 26; Grades: PreK-2
- Discuss the characteristics of a black bear using the DEEP Wildlife Fact Sheet on black bears.
- Have students make a bear using paper plates, construction paper, crayons, color pencils, and other craft materials. For ideas, see this video or visit this website.
- Show students the Food for Black Bears cards and discuss the types of food bears eat and whether the foods come from plants or animals.
- Spread the bear food cards on the floor and have students collect the food cards on their bear’s stomach. For an indoors option, students can look in the refrigerator or food cabinets and collect food or write down the foods bears would like. For an outdoor option, students can go outside and (1) take pictures of bear food, such as seeds, leaves, berries, (2) collect the bear food on their paper-plate bear’s stomach or a bag, or (3) write down or draw a picture of the bear foods they found outside.
- Discuss what foods they found. Do the Home Connections activity and discuss what foods they eat that are similar to what a bear would eat. Discuss what a bear would do if they didn’t find enough food.
What Bear Goes Where/A Home Away From Home (Courtesy of Susan Robinson, Connecticut Project WILD Coordinator)
Project WILD, p. 195, 222; Grades K-8
- Watch a video about bears. See these videos All about Bears for Kids or Bears 101 – Nat Geo Wild.
- Discuss where each bear lives, the differences in each place, and bears adaptation to their environment. Use DEEP Wildlife Fact Sheets on black bear.
- Have students create a poster or presentation of the habitat of the black bear or a bear of their choice. Students can use paper, poster, and other craft supplies, an online tool, such as SketchUp, or a video game, such as Minecraft.
- Discuss the posters, the bear, and their habitat and adaptations.
- Have students create a zoo enclosure for a bear that has been transferred to a place that is not its native habitat. For instance, have students create an enclosure or 3-D model for a polar bear that has moved to a desert climate. Students can use paper, poster, and other craft materials, an online 3-D model, such as SketchUp, or a video game, like Minecraft, to create an enclosure. In order for the bear to be healthy, consider what the temperature, humidity, amount of water and food, and other elements need to be included in the enclosure.
One critical skill to scientists is the ability to make good observations. Many of the Project WILD activities help students develop this skill. While at home parents can find information on how to teach this skill using AFWA’s Fostering Outdoor Observation Skills guide. The guide is available for download.
To celebrate 50 years of Earth Day, we're teaming up with the National Wildlife Federation and Project WET to provide an online professional development opportunity! On March 23, we're launching a FREE online training for educators on climate topics. This self-paced course will prepare you to lead others in a full week of climate education, community building, and storytelling.
Educators who complete the course will also receive access to two activities from Project WET's Climate, Water and Resilience Educator Guide, two Project WILD climate activities, and NWF resources. Did we mention it's all free? Sign up today to reserve your spot in the training!
PBS Resources that connect to Growing Up WILD activities (compiled in Ohio, but most links relevant nationally)
Natural and Historical Education Resources for Home by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Lessons, Field Trips, Maps and More by the North Carolina Office of Environmental Education
Teacher Resources by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Caregiver Resources with Educator Resources by New York Department of Environmental Conservation
Learn about Wildlife at Home or at School. Check out Alaska Fish and Game's standards-aligned activities, videos, inquiries, scavenger hunts, coloring pages, and more! New activities added weekly so check back often.
Wildlife on WiFi. Remote Learning Resources for Educators and Parents from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.