Animal Antics

Hi camp families! Another week of camp has come to a close. Here is a brief summary of what we did on each day as well as some pictures.

Monday

Campers went on a scavenger hunt in the museum. There were animal fact cards hidden within the museum gallery spaces. As they found each fact card, they would use the information to answer several questions about mammals.

Another activity campers did was making a mammal. Campers were given a story card that included a biome with information on each biome as well as things to take into consideration. The three biomes were rain forest, tundra, and chaparral. After looking over the story card campers then had to make a mammal with adaptations that would allow it to thrive in their biome.

We also learned about nocturnal animals. First we discussed what it means to be nocturnal. We then took a look at some nocturnal animals and saw certain adaptions they developed over time to help them survive. Some of these nocturnal animals we saw were also mammals. After going over some of these animals we then did two activities that involved using our other senses besides our eyes. The first activity involved our sense of touch. Campers were presented with ten items that were inside a brown bag. Without looking,  campers stuck their hands inside each bag and identified the item. The other activity involved our sense of hearing. Campers were given a sheet with ten different animals. Campers had to correctly match the ten animals to the ten animal sounds we played. Some of them were easier than others, such as the wolf howl. However others were a bit more misleading, like the African Penguin, which sounded a lot like a donkey.

Tuesday

Campers learned about the differences between reptiles and amphibians. One of these differences included development. Amphibians go through a complex metamorphosis throughout their life. In the beginning they look nothing like their parents, but eventually they do. Reptiles on the other hand look lie miniature adult versions of themselves when they are born. They also learned some similarities such as both of these groups of animals are cold blooded. Once they finished going over the information, they then played a sorting game to see whether or not the campers could pick out the reptiles from the amphibians.

One of the crafts we did on this day was the frog life cycle sequencing craft. In this craft we went over the metamorphosis of a frog. We condensed its development into four main stages. Once that was done we then constructed a craft to show the stages in a cute fashion.

An activity we did on Tuesday was the Frog Olympics: two frog related games. The first game we played was the frog jump. In the frog jump campers tested to see how far they could jump. However the course we had set-up had the length a particular frog species can jump. In essence it was them vs the frogs. The three frog species we had were the American Bullfrog, Leopard Frog, and the South African Sharp-Nosed Frog. The second game we played was called Bugs For Me! This game was essentially red-light green-light, however campers imagined that the person who was it, was the frog, while the people trying to reach the person who was it, were the insects.

The second craft that was done on Tuesday was the rattlesnake craft. Campers made their very own rattlesnake to take home. While making a rattlesnake they also learned some information about these reptiles. A fact that I found interesting was that rattlesnakes have these sensory organs called pits. These organs essentially give them infrared vision that allows them to see prey at night. Be sure to ask your camper what they found interesting!

Wednesday

Campers had the opportunity to visit a fish lab within the Biological Sciences Building. They visited Professor Cunming Duan’s lab. In his lab they saw some of the work he and his colleagues are doing with fish. They showed us that they can genetically modify the fish by giving it a mutation that affects the development of its ears. In humans ears, the hairs within our cochlea help us keep our balance. The ears of a fish help fish in a similar manner, by allowing it to swim correctly. If they are damaged then the fish cannot swim straight, instead the fish will swim in circles. They are able to see this mutation by adding a green fluorescent protein that will illuminate under UV light.

A craft we did on Thursday was the tropical fish mobile craft. While we were doing this craft we watched a video about the Great Barrier Reef.

We learned about whale communication i.e. echolocation. Campers also went up to the gallery areas to see some of our exhibits that mention whale evolution. Once that was done we then played the echolocation game. In this game campers were broken up into pods. Each pod was given the same code. Campers in each pod had to remember their code and then find their pod by ‘transmitting’ their code.

Another activity we did was called Color Me Deep. In this activity campers learned about the changes in ocean depth. Certain factors, such as light and pressure change depending on the depth of the ocean, which then affects the life that is found there. We made a diagram to show this change in depth, which created a gradient of blues. We  then went back to discuss and draw the life that would appear at each depth level.

A fun game we played was bingo. The older campers played 3D ocean bingo, while the younger campers played shark bingo. 3D bingo went over ocean zones and animals that live in each zone, while shark bingo went over different species of sharks. Speaking of sharks, happy shark-week!

Thursday

The guests from the Leslie Science and Nature Center visited us today, and they brought some feathery friends. Take a look at them!

The Hawk in the Nest

Campers played the Hawk in the Nest game, a circle game. This game taught campers about trophic levels. In this game campers went through each step of a food chain, except they go about it backwards. It first begins with the Hawk, then they worked their way down till they got to the Sun.

 

We took apart some owl pellets! In pairs campers dissected owl pellets to see what they could find within. Before they started the dissection campers took some measurements. Once that was done campers began taking it a part. Campers identified each bone with the help of a chart and then figured out from what animal the bones came from.

Fill the bill was an activity we did on Thursday. In this activity campers went through seven different stations to see how bird beaks are adapted for specific types of food.

Friday

Campers got to make habitat dioramas. Each camper was given an animal. They then had to come up with an appropriate habitat for it. This meant that they had to make sure they had the correct food source for their animal. Their shelter had to have adequate supply of water. Also they had to make sure that the amount of space met the animal’s needs.

We talked about camouflage. In nature, prey animals will develop camouflage to hide from predators or predators will develop camouflage which will help them sneak up on prey. An animal’s environment also often directs the color and shape of it. The first activity that we did which involved camouflage was brief. We had several different colored pieces of yarn, which we pretended were snakes. We threw the snakes onto a black background and then campers had to pick up as many as they could within a set amount of time. Once they were done they had to sort and count how many snakes they caught. Typically campers had more brightly colored snakes than darkly colored ones. After this activity campers were given a butterfly. It was their job to color it appropriately so that it could camouflage with the mural in the community room.

The campers also played a game called ‘Adapting to Habitat Loss.’