How can you find animals in the woods?
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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity and exploration you just completed.
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Videos & Discussion

Watch these videos to discover some animals that make their homes in a hole in an old tree. After each video, discuss, "Why do you think these animals live in the hole in the tree?"

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Activities: Nature Observation

  • For a very quiet classroom pet that’s fun for students to watch, consider keeping some garden snails.

  • If you have an outdoor area to explore, go on a nature walk. You’ll find nature walk tips here.

  • If you have access to a grassy lawn, give your students a chance to observe the world of small animals that live in the grass. Use hula hoops or string to create an observation area for each group of four students. Ask the students to explore the area as if they were ants. What would the area look like to an ant?

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Read-Aloud Books

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

  • Where is Baby Bear? : A story about hide and seek helps students think about where animals live. (ages 6-8)

  • A Home for Pearl the Squirrel (in English and English/Spanish) : A squirrel learns that every animal's home matches that animal’s needs. (ages 5-7)

  • Raccoon Cubs : A nonfiction book about raccoons. (ages 4-6)

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Nature Walk Tips

  • Ask students what they think they'll see on their walk. Have them draw their answers. (Drawing prompt handout

  • Talk about looking for any animals — from birds in the trees to bees in the flower bed.

  • Discuss a “no squishing” policy for creepy crawly critters, like worms, beetles, and ants.

  • Tell students to listen for animal sounds (birds chirping, squirrels scolding) and to look for signs that animals have been there (spider webs, animal tracks, nests).

  • After the walk, have students discuss what they saw and draw something they want to remember. (Drawing prompt handout

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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
person in boots walking in forest by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Alones
praying mantis spreading its claws by CaPro
snail on leaf by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: thechatat
snail on leaf by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: thechatat
video of gopher eating sunflower seeds by Alex Brandin
video of person lifting log by Hidden Villa Science and Nature Video Series
video of praying mantis applying self-defense by duncantakeru
praying mantis spreading its claws by CaPro
snail on leaf by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: thechatat
toad by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Tom Reichner
video of praying mantis climbing branch by Pond5
video of snail expanding its antennae by Epigrafx
video walking through forest by Zenvision TV
boy standing (1) by Hogan Imaging
boy standing (2) by Sergey Novikov
girl standing by Sergey Novikov
red eft by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Jay Ondreicka
snail on leaf by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: thechatat
video of praying mantis climbing branch by Pond5
video of snail expanding its antennae by Epigrafx
video walking through forest by Zenvision TV
boy blue sneakers and jeans by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Veja
boy standing (1) by Hogan Imaging
boy standing (1) by Hogan Imaging
boy standing (2) by Sergey Novikov
boy standing (2) by Sergey Novikov
girl standing by Sergey Novikov
girl standing by Sergey Novikov
ladybird beetle by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: BUFOTO
praying mantis on branch by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Viacheslav Matiukhin
praying mantis pose by Ferran Pestana
snail on leaf by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: thechatat
video of praying mantis applying self-defense by duncantakeru
gopher hole by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: schankz
owl in a tree hole by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Thitisak Mongkonnipat
praying mantis on branch by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Viacheslav Matiukhin
praying mantis pose by Ferran Pestana
snail on leaf by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: thechatat
snail shell by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Imageman
video of gopher eating sunflower seeds by Alex Brandin
video of praying mantis applying self-defense by duncantakeru
close-up of praying mantis by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Fernando Verdu Brufal
kid looking up at insects by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Philippe Put
praying mantis pose by Ferran Pestana
snail on leaf by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: thechatat
video of gopher eating sunflower seeds by Alex Brandin
video of gopher eating sunflower seeds by Alex Brandin
video of snail expanding its antennae by Epigrafx
white soundflower seeds in palm of hand by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Shyripa Alexandr
child sitting on stump thinking by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Aleksandra Nikolaeva
father talking with children in forest by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Monkey Business Images
sitting praying mantis by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Muhammad Naaim
video of gopher coming out of hole and discovering sunflower seeds by Alex Brandin
video of gopher eating sunflower seeds by Alex Brandin
video of praying mantis applying self-defense by duncantakeru
video of praying mantis applying self-defense by duncantakeru
young teen asian girl looking through gopher hole by dangdumrong
large hole looking upwards toward the sky by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Oppdowngalon
video of gopher coming out of hole and discovering sunflower seeds by Alex Brandin
video of praying mantis applying self-defense by duncantakeru
video of snail expanding its antennae by Epigrafx
video of woodpecker pecking wood by Benjamin Slade
young teen asian girl looking through gopher hole by dangdumrong
large hole looking upwards toward the sky by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Oppdowngalon
video of gopher coming out of hole and discovering sunflower seeds by Alex Brandin
video walking through forest by Zenvision TV
young teen asian girl looking through gopher hole by dangdumrong
video of person lifting log by Hidden Villa Science and Nature Video Series
white soundflower seeds in palm of hand by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Shyripa Alexandr
video of gopher eating sunflower seeds by Alex Brandin
video of gopher eating sunflower seeds by Alex Brandin
white soundflower seeds in palm of hand by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Shyripa Alexandr
video of land snail moving across pavement by Wishlessness
white soundflower seeds in palm of hand by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Shyripa Alexandr
video of praying mantis climbing branch by Pond5
two children running in the forest by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Monkey Business Images
father talking with children in forest by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Monkey Business Images
video of crawling rolly polly by Walter Kessler
Print Prep
Activity Prep

In this Mystery, students observe different animal behaviors and work to discover another pattern: all animals seek safety in order to survive. The activity, Gopher in a Hole, includes physical movement in which students pretend to be snails hiding in their shells, praying mantises scaring away predators, and gophers popping out of holes.

Preview activity

COVID-19 Adaptations
Students can work solo
No supplies needed
Prep Instructions

This activity does not require supplies.

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

Since there’s so little prep for this activity, we recommend you plan on doing one of the activities in the Extras section. To understand how animals seek safety, it’s important that children have a chance to observe them. You can provide that opportunity by keeping pet snails, exploring a grassy lawn, going for a nature walk, or watching videos to learn what animals make their homes in a hole in a tree.

Extensions
Download this Lesson to your device so you can play it offline: