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Animals Through Time    Mystery 6

Mystery 6 image

In this Mystery, students discover why dogs’ expressions, like tail wagging, are so useful when living in a pack. In the activity, students observe other social animals and construct an explanation of how living in groups helps these animals survive.

Why do dogs wag their tails?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 6)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 6)

DISCUSS:

Why do you think it might be helpful for dogs to communicate with each other (like wagging their tails or rolling on their backs)?

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Beginning Exploration (3 of 6)
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Beginning Exploration (4 of 6)

DISCUSS (1 of 2):

Which other kinds of animals can you think of that live in groups?

Here are some animals we came up with:

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Beginning Exploration (5 of 6)

DISCUSS (2 of 2):

How might living in groups be helpful for animals?

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Beginning Activity Prep
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Field Journal

Each student will make a Field Journal. Then students will watch videos of animals, discuss their observations with a partner, and record their observations and conclusions in their Field Journal.

Each student will need:

  • a set of Field Journal pages (There are 3 sheets. The page numbers will look scrambled on the printout, but when students fold them and make their booklet, the pages will be in order.)

Each table of students will need:

  • a stapler to share

You may also want to print out:

Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Activity: Field Journal
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Beginning Exploration (6 of 6)
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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading and extension activity in the optional extras.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the Exploration and Activity you just completed.
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Activity

  • Dance Like a Bee: Bees live by the hundreds in hives, setting out each day in search of nectar. When a bee finds food, it heads back to the hive and tells the other bees all about it. How? By wiggling its body in patterns that tell the bees where to find the flowers.

  • Watch this video (2:49) to see a bee’s “waggle dance,” and then see how good you are at dancing like a bee with this activity from the New Jersey Agricultural Society. (Grades 3–5)

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Reading: Ants to the Rescue!

Readings from Newselaare free with registration. They’re available in English or Spanish and can be adjusted for reading level. Writing prompts and quiz questions are available for many readings.

  • Most insects don’t help each other if they get into trouble. Matabele ants from Africa, though, are different. They’ve developed a way to get rescued if they’re hurt. Read about how they work together in this article. (Grade 3)
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Video: Safety in Numbers

  • A crow on its own might make an easy meal for a big, strong bald eagle. But as you can see here, a group of crows (called a “murder” of crows) can work together to chase an eagle away. (1:23, TheLivingWilderness)

  • Most big birds are not built to fight in the air. Smaller birds that can fly faster and change direction more quickly can often avoid them. Big groups of small birds can be even more effective. See how sticking together helps this huge flock of birds escape a falcon on the hunt. (2:40, BBC)

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