Wolf Ridge

Beaver Ecology


Animal Ecology
| 4th Grade - Adult
| Half Day 3 hrs
| Moderate

WR_4_1_4_BeaverEcology_02_760x300_HoldingBeaverLog

 

Students will participate in a beaver dress-up activity that illustrates the physical adaptations of the beaver.  A hike along Sawmill Creek offers an excellent opportunity to observe the effects of beaver activity on the environment.  Students may encounter dams, lodges, cut trees, canals, drags, or food caches.  A skit of fur trade era characters offers insight into human and beaver interaction in the past.  Discussion will help students understand the beaver’s role in the present.

Class Outline

I. Introduction

A. Greeting/Grabber

B. Learn Names

C. Behavior Guidelines

D. Class Overview

E. Assess Learner Level

II. Adaptations

A. Definition of Adaptation 

B. Beaver Dress-up

III. Sawmill Creek Hike

IV. Historical Perspectives

A. Prehistoric Era

B. Fur Trade Time Line

C. Modern Era 

V. Conclusion 

A. Review

B. Stewardship Action

Concepts and Outcomes

CONCEPTS:

  • All living things possess physical and behavioral adaptations to be successful in their environment.
  • All living and non-living components of an environment interact with one another to form an ecosystem.
  • The natural environment has many obvious and subtle impacts upon human history and culture.

OUTCOMES:

Upon completion of the Beaver Ecology class students will be able to:

  1. Define physical and behavioral adaptations
  2. Identify physical and behavioral adaptations that allow beavers to survive and utilize their environment.
  3. Recognize and interpret the evidence of beaver signs such as dams, lodges, canals, food caches, etc.
  4. Trace the history of the fur trade era and describe how beavers and humans interact in modern times.
  5. Evaluate how the beaver influences the ecology of both forest and aquatic systems.

Standards Supported

MN Science Standards Grade Code
Living things are diverse with many different characteristics that enable them to grow, reproduce and survive. 5 5.4.1.1
Natural systems have many components that interact to maintain the living system. 5 5.4.2.1
Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or harmful to themselves and other organisms. 5 5.4.4.1
Natural systems include a variety of organisms that interact with one another in several ways. 7 7.4.2.1
The flow of energy and the recycling of matter are essential to a stable ecosystem. 7 7.4.2.2
Human activity can change living organisms and ecosystems. 7 7.4.4.1
In order to maintain and improve their existence, humans interact with and influence Earth systems. 8 8.3.4.1
Explain how ecosystems can change as a result of the introduction of one or more new species. 9 9.4.2.1.2
Describe the social, economic and ecological risks and benefits of changing a natural ecosystem as a result of human activity. 9 9.4.4.1.2
MN Social Studies Standards Grade Code
Explain a historical event from multiple perspectives. 5 5.4.1.2.2
Identify various motivations of Europeans for exploration and settlement in Asia, Africa and the Americas from the fifteenth to early seventeenth centuries. (Colonization and Settlement: 1585-1763) 5 5.4.4.16.1
Identify various motivations of Europeans for exploration and settlement in Asia, Africa and the Americas from the fifteenth to early seventeenth centuries. (Colonization and Settlement: 1585-1763) 6 6.4.4.16.1

Extension Activities

Writing Prompts

  • What were the circumstances that lead to the near extinction of the beaver?
  • Do you think that animals should be hunted for fashion? Why or why not?
  • How can we ensure that no animal nears extinction due to over hunting?
  • Describe beavers adaptations and how they help the beaver survive.

 

Additional Resources

  • Attenborough: Beaver Lodge Construction Squad – BBC Earth, Video
  • An Ojibwe authored perspective of the fur trade