Animal Defenses

Time: 1.5-2 Hours (Can Be Shortened)

Grades: PreK-6

Across the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains, animals have some amazing special defenses! Your students will learn about the exciting, funny, and gross ways that animals (both large and small) keep themselves safe. They will also be able to see many animal biofacts, including insects specimens, mammal pelts, animal skulls, antlers, feathers, and full animal mounts!

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Animal Defenses:

The Animal Defenses program can be taught like one of our early childhood education classes, or like one of our classes for grades 3-6. If your students are younger, your program will feature an engaging educational lesson, hands-on animal biofact interaction, body movement, animal noises, a fun craft, and time for open exploration of the museum. If your students are a little older, your program will include an educational lesson, hands-on biofact interaction, a fun activity, a scavenger hunt, and time for open exploration of the museum. Read below to learn more about each of these; remember, your program can be shortened to fit any time constraints.

Younger Students: 90 Minutes

Educational Lesson: 40 Minutes
Craft: 20 Minutes
Museum Exploration: 30 Minutes

Older Students: 2 Hours

Educational Lesson: 60 Minutes
Activity: 20 Minutes
Scavenger Hunt: 20 Minutes
Museum Exploration: 20 Minutes

Educational Lesson: 40 or 60 Minutes

During the “Animal Defenses” program, your students will learn about some of the most common ways animals keep themselves safe, along with a couple unique methods too! We’ll look at speed, camouflage, mimicry, poison, venom, external defenses, burrows, scent, shells, and more! 

For each of these categories, we’ll see various animals that live in the Rocky Mountains or Great Plains that use this special defense. For example, when we talk about shells, we’ll discuss the millipede, pill bug, armadillo, and box turtle. Your students will also be able to see a lot of amazing animal biofacts during this field trip! We’ll see animal mounts, pelts, skulls, wings, shells, and more! Your students will also be able to touch many of these incredible specimens.

For younger students, we can do this program as a 40-minute field trip. For these students we’ll also pretend to be the animals by moving like them and making their noises.

For classes that are a little older, we can spend longer (60 minutes) and look at some additional animals. We’ll also discuss the animals and their adaptations more in depth.  

Click on the link below to request this fun program! 

Craft or Activity: 20 Minutes

After your program, younger students will be able to complete a craft… featuring some of the animals we just learned about! For the youngest students, this might be a coloring page. For slightly older kids, we can do some more involved crafts. Either way, it will be a ton of fun for your kids!

For older students, the museum recommends a fun activity. The activity for the Animals Defenses program is our scent game. Many of the animals we will be discussing utilize scent for finding their prey, and some of them use scent for a defense! For this activity, each of your students will be given a small vial with a mystery scent within it. Their goal is to find the one other student who has the same scent as they do. Your students will walk around, smelling the vials of their classmates, until they find their scent partner. This is a very fun game that students love to play! It also reinforces what your students will learn!

Scavenger Hunt: 20 Minutes

The Animal Defenses scavenger hunt is designed for slightly older students. It will bring your students through the museum, looking for certain items that pertain to what they learned about in their lesson. This will include skulls, pelts, and mounts of different animals and their prey species… along with depictions of these animals in both human artifacts and artwork. The scavenger hunts are completed in small groups or pairs.

Open Museum Exploration: 20 or 30 Minutes

While the program will give your students a wonderful look at different animals, our museum contains much more than just that! The open museum exploration time allows early childhood education teachers to walk their classes around the museum, exploring many of the many topics found here, from dinosaurs to mining to pioneers to animals to Native American culture to national parks and more!

Teachers with slightly older students can have their students explore the museum on their own or in pairs. This allows them to learn about what interests them!  While we include 20 or 30 minutes of museum exploration time in the program outline, teachers can spend as much time or as little time as their schedule allows in the museum!

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