tailed Hawks hunt mainly using their sight; as is true for
most humans, vision is their dominant sense. But as is the
case with most raptors, 'Red Tails' visual acuity is significantly
better than ours. Have students explore the sense of sight
in nature. Have each student pick three species that rely on
vision to help them navigate the world. Variation in their
choices will provide the best results
a vulture species,
a spider species, a primate for example.
Having researched their chosen species have each student (or groups of students)
create visual projects, perhaps art forms that attempt to show the world from
the visual perspective of a spider, or the savanna from the perspective of
an Egyptian Vulture gliding at 15,000 feet.
Students could also try and imagine their lives if they had the visual ability
of an eagle, or a nocturnal mammal; have them write an account of a day in
the life of a member of a fictional human society whose inhabitants see far
better than we do.
an enhanced understanding of the sense of sight, knowledge
of variations in the uses and qualities of sight in different
Do You Hear What I Hear?
many animals sight is not the primary sense they us to interpret
their world. Hearing is a sense that many animals rely on most
heavily. Many owl species, while they have wonderful night
vision, hunt more with their ears, and can catch prey even
when there is no light to see by. Coyotes and Foxes can hear
small animals below ground, and pounce on them with amazing
accuracy using sound as their only guide. Have students explore
what sounds animals hear: movement, vocalizations etc.,
at what levels, high frequency, low frequency etc.
Having discussed the role sound plays in the lives of many animals, have students
break up into pairs. Either during class time, or as an after school assignment
have one member of the team blindfold the other, take them to an unnamed destination,
and lead them around the area for half an hour. During this time the guide
student should not speak (unless the blindfolded partner is in danger). The
guided student should note all that she or he hears, the sounds on the way
to and at the destination. After half an hour the blindfolded student should
attempt to guess their location. Whether their identification is correct or
incorrect, after revealing the location the guided student should make a list
of the significant sounds they heard.
The pair should then change roles and the excersize should be repeated on a
second day. When all the students have been both 'guided' and 'led', the class
should come together and discuss the sounds they heard. What auditory clues
did they get to their locations? What sounds did they observe that they had
not really noticed previously? Did they hear more when they did not have their
eyes to rely on?
students who might prefer to work alone or for a more meditative
version of the activity, have students pick a favourite outdoor
place. They should then blindfold themselves and sit quietly
for 15 minutes to half an hour, and observe the sounds they
both of the previous activities there are many good web sites
which may be of help. An excellent one, Neuroscience for
Kids can be found at:
an enhanced understanding of the sense of smell, knowledge
of variations in the uses and qualities of olfaction in