Nature Activities for Home
A Healthy Reminder
Some of these activities may take you out into nature. Be sure to follow the recommended health and safety guidelines, including keeping at least six feet from others and washing your hands well when you return home.
- Mammal: an animal of the class Mammalia, characterized by being warm-blooded, having outside ears, having hair and feeding milk to its young.
- Scat: an animal's droppings
Using the Mammal Survey worksheet provided or one you create, record information on the local mammals they observe in or around a nearby park. We encourage you to do this once per week to track changes over the season. Emphasize the importance of taking careful notes on their sightings, and remind children that each time they are outside looking for signs of mammals (such as scat, tracks, food scraps, homes, or fur shed) they are acting as field scientists. Instruct children to document the date, description of the location and details about the animal’s appearance and behavior for each mammal they observe. If you are interested in expanding this project, you can also use the iNaturalist app to submit mammal sightings to a larger database.
After a few weeks of surveying mammals, you should have collected enough information to begin analyzing and interpreting the data. Have children determine different ways to graph or chart their mammal surveys and communicate what the data says about mammal populations in their area. Some examples of ways they can graph or chart their data are:
- Combine all of the data into a chart that displays all the different types of mammals observed and the number of sightings for each.
- Create a pie chart that shows how many different mammals were observed in a single area.
- Make a bar graph that compares the number of sightings of a specific mammal in different locations.
- Plot the number of mammals spotted vs. time of day or environment.
- Plot the number of sightings of the mammal vs. the behavior observed.
If you are a teacher and doing this as a class activity, you can gather the class data and send it out to your students to graph, and then discuss patterns that arise across the neighborhoods they live in.
After graphing, have a discussion about what the data shows:
- How many different types of mammals did you see while conducting your survey?
- Did you notice a relationship between certain mammals and the types of places you would spot them?
- Was there any relationship between certain mammal sightings and the time of day?
- Were there any common mammal behaviors you observed?
- Which were the most common mammals you observed? The least common?
“iNaturalist.org.” iNaturalist.org, California Academy of Sciences, National Geographic, 2018, www.inaturalist.org/.