Mousekin's Lost Woodland

Overview

After listening to a story summary that describes the effects of change on a white-footed mouse's habitat, children make and play a simple card game in which they compose stories about the effects that human and natural change have on an environment and the animals that live there. As a follow-up, children can visit four different online environments, play several interactive games that teach about biodiversity, and can make a poster or button showing their commitment to preserving the environment.

Mouse in Woodland

Objectives

Identify plants and animals found in different habitats.
Describe what living things need to survive.
Describe how people and natural forces can change the environment.

Materials

Steps

  1. Ask the children to read the story summary. Talk about Mousekin's habitat and ask children to name other living things found there. How does Mousekin get what he needs to survive? Then explore the forces that change this environment. Are they natural or human forces? What effect do these changes have on Mousekin and the other living things? Discuss what action Mousekin and the other animals take in order to survive. Guide children in comparing and contrasting how the humans that live near Mousekin's new home differ from those that live near his first home. Which of these people show respect for the environment? What do they do to help assure the survival of other living things? Challenge children to list ways that they might help living things to survive in their own neighborhood environment.
  2. Children can learn more about the animals that live in a woodland, a marsh, a forest, and a desert by visiting the Wild Animal Facts at the Wildlife Conservation Society's Web site for kids at http://www.kidsgowild.com.
  3. Distribute Mousekin's Lost Woodland Activity worksheet. Distribute index cards and crayons and read the directions with children.
  4. Children may benefit from a group brainstorming session in which human and natural forces that cause change are listed on the chalkboard. Human forces might include home construction, farming, highways, and dams. Natural forces could include floods, lightning strikes, earthquakes, and droughts.
  5. Once children have created their oral or written stories or plays, encourage them to share them with partners, small groups, or with the class. As an alternative to one long story, children can use all the cards to make up four short scenarios.

Home Connection

Children and their families can take a “Discovery Walk” around their neighborhood looking for signs of human or natural change. They can also look for newspaper articles describing change and the impact it has on the environment.

EXTENSION

Children may enjoy visiting the World Wildlife Fund's Virtual House at http://www.virtualhouse.org/. There they can solve a mystery while they learn about biodiversity and its importance to our planet. Another fun game on this site is Mapping Biodiversity, located at http://worldwildlife.org/fun/games/mapping/map_bio2.html. To play, children choose one of three animals that does not belong in a region. Once children have explored these sites, encourage them to make a poster or button showing their commitment to safeguarding the environment.

PRODUCT LINKS

Take your children on an Internet Field Trip to find out more about life in the world around us. Visit Houghton Mifflin Science Discovery Works to study life cycles and interactions of living things.

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