Open-and-go lessons that inspire kids to love science.

Sign up now for tons of free lessons like this one!

Plant & Animal Secrets Unit
Why do woodpeckers peck wood?
Scroll for prep
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Summary: Food is one of many animal needs. You can discover their other needs by carefully watching different animals and seeing other things they do to survive.

Click to the next slide.

Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

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

Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity and exploration you just completed.
  • Videos: Watching these videos will let students figure out what caterpillars, cows, toads, and pandas eat.
  • End of Mystery Assessment : After watching the videos, ask students to draw an animal having lunch.
  • Read-aloud books online: These nonfiction books will get your students thinking and talking about the animals they met in this mystery.
  • Activity: A simple bird feeder can give students a chance to observe birds up close.
  • Activity: Take a nature walk or a field trip.
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Read-Aloud Books

Epic offers books online for teachers to use for free. Just click “Get Started” to register.

With photos and basic text, these books expand on what students have learned about these common woodland animals. Each book includes a glossary of vocabulary words.

Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Simple Bird Feeders

A feeder filled with birdseed can attract finches, sparrows, and chickadees for your class to observe. If you have the budget for it, buy a clear plastic feeder that attaches to your window, like this or this. Check your hardware store for other options.

If you’re feeling crafty, transform an old soda bottle into a seed feeder with the instructions here or the gadget sold here.

Insect-eating birds, like woodpeckers, nuthatches, juncos, and jays, like high fat food. To attract them, you can get a suet cake from a hardware store, along with an inexpensive suet holder like this one. Or you make your own with a recipe from Birds & Blooms and pack it in an old cup like this. The birds will be happy either way.

Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Field Trip Possibilities

  • Visit a pond where students can feed the ducks. Though many people feed ducks bread, that’s not the best food for them. We recommend uncooked rolled oats or birdseed. (Both are available in most grocery stores.)

  • Visit a farm where they can learn about several animals (including chickens, which scratch like quail).

  • Walk in the park or the woods and watch for animals, just as Doug did. Even an urban park is likely to have squirrels, sparrows, pigeons, and maybe a few gophers.

Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Video Discussion: What Do Animals Eat?

Ask your students what each animal eats and then watch the videos to discover the answers.

After watching the videos, have students complete the drawing prompt assessment .

Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

Other
portrait of boy by Hogan Imaging
quail head by Nico Giuliani
video of quail scratching for seeds by Don Desjardin
video walking through forest by Zenvision TV
woodpecker on tree branch by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Mircea C
baby raccoon head on top of Pat's body by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Seregraff
raccoon by pool of water by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: eddtoro
treehouse by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: AfriramPOE
video walking through forest by Zenvision TV
hand by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: aloneman13d
quail head by Nico Giuliani
video of quail scratching for seeds by Don Desjardin
video of woodpecker pecking wood and demonstration by Benjamin Slade
video walking through forest by Zenvision TV
video walking through forest by Zenvision TV
boy standing (1) by Hogan Imaging
boy standing (2) by Sergey Novikov
close-up video of quail in wilderness by Phooj Vaj
girl standing by Sergey Novikov
raccoon walking in pool of water and staff demonstration by darlaz2b
seeds in palm of hand by Jcomeau ictx
video of woodpecker pecking wood and demonstration by Benjamin Slade
quail scratching for seeds by Don Desjardin
video of foraging raccoons and staff demonstration by Mossy Oak
video of quail flapping wings and Pat demonstrating by Texas Parks and Wildlife
video of quail scratching for seeds by Don Desjardin
video of woodpecker pecking wood and demonstration by Benjamin Slade
video of foraging raccoons and staff demonstration by Mossy Oak
video of quail scratching for seeds and Pat demonstrating by Don Desjardin
video close-up of foraging raccoons by Mossy Oak
video of foraging raccoons and staff demonstration by Mossy Oak
video of quail pecking for seeds and Pat demonstrating by Barbara Weaver
baby raccoon by Sonsedska Yuliia
pond snails in palm of hand by Water Garden Plants
video of quail sprinting and Pat demonstrating by Texas Parks and Wildlife
California quial by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: cynoclub
video of woodpecker pecking wood by Benjamin Slade
video of woodpecker pecking wood by Benjamin Slade
wood-boring insects by Charlotte Simmonds
video of woodpecker pecking wood by Benjamin Slade
squirrel eating acorn by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Mircea C
squirrel eating acorn by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Mircea C
squirrel eating acorn by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Mircea C
squirrel eating acorn by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Mircea C
Overview
Grade K
Topic Plant & Animal Needs
Focus Animal Needs: Food
Print Prep
Activity Prep

In this Mystery, students observe animal behaviors and work to discover a pattern: all animals seek food in order to survive. The activity, Eat Like an Animal, includes physical movement in which students act out animal behaviors, pretending to be quail scratching in the dirt, raccoons wading in the water, and woodpeckers pecking a log.

Preview activity

Prep Instructions

This activity does not require supplies.

Make sure students have enough space to move around as they pretend to be different animals in the forest.

Since there’s so little prep for this activity, we recommend you also do one of the activities in the Extensions section. To understand what animals need, it’s important that children have a chance to observe them. You can provide that opportunity by attracting birds with a bird feeder, taking your class on a nature walk or field trip, or having your students observe animals through videos.

Overview
Grade K
Topic Plant & Animal Needs
Focus Animal Needs: Food
Slow internet or video problems?