Have you noticed that there are a lot more animals out-and-about since we humans have been less out-and-about? I’ve seen videos of penguins walking down the street in South Africa, wild turkeys on an elementary school playground in California and even whales swimming off the coast of Marseille. While these videos are direct evidence that animals are more active during the pandemic, is there any indirect evidence?
How to Start: Discuss with your kiddos what evidence left by animals you would expect to find, other than actually seeing them. Make a list of your ideas and where you would expect to find them.
What to do next: Head on out and explore! What’s great about this activity is that you can explore anywhere. Out your window/balcony, in your yard, at a local park, in the streets…. The evidence is everywhere! Just put on your detective hat and look around. Even better, make it a week long project. Collect your data and put together an analysis.
Expand it: How can you bring in other content areas?
- Science: Research the types of animals in your area. Where do they live, what do they do? How could you use that information to help your investigation?
- Technology: Put together a presentation of your data to share with others. I’m sure grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, etc. would love to hear about your findings.
- Engineering: Have you heard about data engineering? If not, look into it. If so, how would you apply it to this project?
- Arts: Scientists record their data in many different ways, including taking pictures. Practice taking pictures of your evidence, without disturbing it.
- Math: How would you represent your data? Think about how you would show your data to others. How would you analyze your data?
- National Geographic Wildlife in Your Backyard: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/nature/wildlife-in-your-backyard/
- National Wildlife Federation Wildlife Guide: https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide
- National Wildlife Federations Wildlife apps: https://www.nwf.org/natureguides?utm_source=NWFdropdown&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=GBTN&utm_content=03022020
- PBS Backyard Wildlife: https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/evscps.sci.life.backyard/backyard-wildlife/
- Schoology has put together a great list of presentation tools for kids of all ages: https://www.schoology.com/blog/7-best-presentation-tools-students
- Kiddle definition of data science: https://kids.kiddle.co/Data_science
- Expertphotography.com has some pointers about teaching photography: https://expertphotography.com/photography-for-kids/
- Photography tips and techniques from Canon: https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/learn/education/topics/article/2018/june/Take-Photos-Like-the-Pros-Easy-Techniques-for-Great-Composition/Take-Photos-Like-the-Pros-Easy-Techniques-for-Great-Composition
- PBS data analysis resources for PreK-12: https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/subjects/mathematics/k-8-mathematics/measurement–data/representing-and-interpreting-data/