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Calling All Canids

Subject: Science
Theme: Wolf/Canid Recognition
Duration: 2-3 class periods, 3-5 days out of class preparation
Location: Classroom

OBJECTIVE
Students will be able to identify and categorize different members of the dog family.

METHOD
Using the supplied chart, students learn to identify members of the canid, or dog, family according to size and general shape and appearance.

BACKGROUND
People are often very confused when they try to distinguish between wolves, coyotes, and dogs. In Yellowstone, park rangers record many "wolf" sightings from park visitors each year. Many of these turn out to be sightings of coyotes. Wolves and coyotes are often blamed for the depredation of feral dogs that roam in packs and kill livestock. While most members of the dog family are similar in shape, there are differences in size, color, and behavior that make separating them a fairly easy task. . .with a little patience.

MATERIALS
Canid chart, Page 1 | Page 2 (Remember to use your browser's "BACK" button to return here.)
Field guide to mammals
Other books on dogs available in your library
Use Internet sites provided within the electronic field trip

PROCEDURE
Have your students study the supplied chart in class and research information about size, weight, shape, and appearance of each species. Have the students search for pictures and articles about wolves, coyotes, and foxes in the library or on the internet. Create a classroom or school bulletin board display that demonstrates the main characteristics of these animals and how they are different.

EXTENSIONS
Have the students work in teams to research one of these canids and have each team give a presentation to the rest of the class. Compare the differences.

SOURCE
"Getting to Know the Wolf", A Teacherís Guide to the "Wolf Pack" Materials

 

An adult wolf

 
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