Northwoods Mammals

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


Students will relate concepts and processes of science to adventure as they unpack key parts of science like exploration and observation.  During Northwoods Mammals, students engage in wildlife tracking field surveys-scent post survey in Spring, Summer, and Fall, and transects in Winter.  The focus is on building the story of mammals in the Northwoods at Wolf Ridge and asking questions rather than identification.

Class Outline

I. What do Scientists do?

A. Observation as a Core Practice

B. Question Generating

C. Making Connections

D. Evidence-based Explanation

E. Uncovering Mystery

II. How do we investigate our mystery?

A. Track Exploration

B. Field Guides

III. What mammals live in the Northwoods? 

A. Group Roles

B. Seasonal Survey

1. Winter

2. Scent Posts

C. Trail Camera

IV. What story will I pass on about science?

A. Data Summary

B. Debrief Science Practices

C. Science = Adventure!


Concepts and Outcomes


1.Science relates to all of us and is not limited to laboratories.

2.Challenges provide opportunities for learning and growth.

3. All living and nonliving components of an environment interact with one another to form an ecosystem.

4. Scientific inquiry uses multiple interrelated processes to investigate questions and propose explanations about the natural world.


Upon completion of the Northwoods Mammals class students will be able to:

  1. Learn about a variety of core practices of science.
  2. Relate concepts and processes of science to adventure.
  3. Reflect on science practices they engaged in after conducting a field survey.
  4. Build a story of animal activity by asking questions and making observations.

Standards Supported

MN Science Standards Grade Code
Living things are diverse with many different characteristics that enable them to grow, reproduce and survive. 5
Natural systems have many components that interact to maintain the living system. 5
Natural systems include a variety of organisms that interact with one another in several ways. 7
The interrelationship and interdependence of organisms generate dynamic biological communities in ecosystems. 9
Human activity has consequences on living organisms and ecosystems. 9

Next Generation Science Standards Grade Code
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem. MS MS-LS2-1
Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species. HS HS-LS4-5


Extension Activities