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The Turkey Web

Keywords: Biodiversity, turkey, habitat; Setting: classroom and woodlot in High School Nature Trail; Time Required: 15 minutes in classroom and 25 minutes on trail with total time of 40 minutes; Grade Level: special education - high school

Concepts to Be Covered

  • General: The interrelationship of people, plants, and animals
  • Specific: The habitat and diet of the Eastern Wild Turkey

Goal of the Lesson

  • The student will identify the habitat and feeding habits of the wild turkey and understand the connection of animals to man in the web of life.

Subject: life skills science 

Topic: biodiversity

Materials Needed

  • ball of yarn for demonstrating "web of life"
  • teacher-made copy of turkey track from field guide and list of sign
  • shoebox for collecting bug specimens (release after observation)
  • prescouted area within the nature trail where the wild turkeys have been scratching

Classroom Work

  • Have the students form a circle.
  • Give each student the name of some part of the turkey/man relationship (e.g., leaf litter; fallen logs; nuts; seeds; shrubs for the turkey's needs; and gun, cooking pot, and dinner plate for human's needs). The ball of yarn is given to the person that is the turkey and the teacher begins calling out the various appointed names as the ball of yarn crosses back and forth demonstrating the connectedness of all parts of the environment.

Field Work

  • Students talk about this relationship then proceed into the trail area.
  • Have the students refer to their picture of turkey tracks and the field guide for following other sign.
  • When the area is reached, have the students name the factions in that area that have become essential for the turkey to live and raise their young. Try to have them name the same items that they had represented in the yarn game and to look for others not named.
  • Have student search among the leaves and logs to find bugs, seeds and other food items. Take time to look at and name them if possible. Release them back into the area.
  • Students will discuss the survival needs of the turkey and the teacher will lead that into a discussion of man's food needs and our enjoyment of the turkey as a food source. Have the kids name their favorite part of the turkey, or other ways to "fix" turkey. This can be tied to the Thanksgiving holiday for additional learning opportunities.

Evaluation

  • Ongoing observation of student reactions to questioning and instruction by the teacher.

References

Kim, Ke Chung (2001). Biodiversity: Our Living World--Your Life Depends on It. University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Animal Tracking and Behavior. Donald and Lillian Stokes nature guide.

Author

Jo Ellen Hovis