Science

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Information Processing: A Chimpanzee Identifies Threats

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An orphaned chimp learns to recognize danger in this video from the NATURE mini-series Animals with Cameras. In preparation for integrating orphaned Kimbang with a group of chimpanzees, her caretaker tests Kimbang’s response to a simulated danger, a plastic snake. In the accompanying classroom activity, students use the engineering design process to design a grabber to protect their hands, mimicking Kimbang’s use of a bush to protect herself from the snake.

Additonal support materials are available, including discussion questions and teaching tips. For more resources from NATURE, check out the collection page.

Monkey Babysitter

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Learn about how young Indian Langur Monkeys practice for motherhood in this video from the NATURE mini-series Spy in the Wild. Part of the episode “Love,” this video shows how challenging monkey babysitting can be. Support materials ask students to think about the importance of practice in order to build skills. Students are also encouraged to think about the needs of baby animals and the challenges of caring for young.

Unlikely Partners: Warthog and Mongoose

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Learn about the unusual animal partnership between warthogs and mongooses in this video from the NATURE mini-series Spy in the Wild. Part of the episode “Friendship,” this video shows how two very different animals help one another in the African savannah. Support materials ask students to recognize the benefits of animal partnerships in the wild. Students are also encouraged to think about the friendships in their own lives and how they are similar or different from animal relationships.

Nest Building Teamwork

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Learn about how a pair of Red-Billed Hornbills work together as a team in this video from the NATURE mini-series Spy in the Wild. Part of the episode “Love,” this video shows the unique way these birds keep their nest safe. Support materials include a review worksheet and a fun hands-on activity which challenges students to think like a Red-Billed Hornbill and design a way to protect the mother bird and her nest. 

Arctic Wolf Cubs Learn Pack Behavior

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Learn about pack behavior in this video from the NATURE mini-series Spy in the Wild. Part of the episode “Bad Behavior,” this video shows how young cubs must learn the rules of their pack and submit to older group members in order to survive. Support materials ask students to keep a spy journal to record their observations and to think about how the spy wolf is able to witness pack behavior closer up than a human scientist. Students are also encouraged to think about how the structure of a wolf’s body —specifically it’s jaw—determines how it interacts with other wolves.

Animal Structures: Nest Real Estate

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Visit Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History alongside NATURE’s host and ecologist Chris Morgan to view a sampling of birds’ nests from around the world. Each nest creation is the product of birds’ hard work and tells its own story.

Engineering Robotic Cameras to Observe Animals in Nature

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Learn how filmmakers use the engineering design process to make animatronic spy cameras in this video from the NATURE mini-series Spy in the Wild. The cameras are disguised as animals to secretly record behavior in the wild. The episode Meet the Spies highlights many of the criterion and constraints the filmmakers face while designing the spies, which can be further explored with the teaching tips in the support materials. In the accompanying classroom activity, students use the engineering design process to design a camera carrier to observe animals in the wild.

The Structural Engineering of Nests

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Learn about the mechanical properties of birds’ nests from Yale University structural engineer Corey O’Hern in this video from NATURE: Animal Homes. Students learn about the properties that are key to a nest’s success in the wild and observe a laboratory test that measures how much force it takes to distort and destroy different kinds of nests.

Animal Structures: A Nest Made Out of Mud

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Learn how male and female red ovenbirds work together to build nests made out of mud and clay in this video from NATURE: Animal Homes. Their jobs are not finished once the nest is constructed, as they spend just as much time building it as they do defending it!

Animal Traits and Functions

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In this video from NATURE: "Naledi: One Little Elephant," a baby elephant named Naledi is rejoining her elephant herd after being away from them for four months. In this clip, students will observe how elephants use their trunks to identify family members as well as communicate with each other. In the accompanying activity, Smell like an Elephant! students will explore how animals use their bodies to smell and communicate. Students will use their own bodies, like animals, to smell and identify different scents. Following the activity, they will conduct a writing response focused on the sense of smell.

Additional support materials are available, including discussion questions, vocabulary, teaching tips, and a handout. For more from NATURE, check out the collection page.

The Adaptations that Helped a Giant Dinosaur Eat

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Learn about the adaptations that allowed giant titanosaur dinosaurs to live in the this video from NATURE: Raising the Dinosaur Giant.

Paleontologists at Work

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Learn how paleontologists uncover, transport, and study fossils in this video from NATURE: Raising the Dinosaur Giant. When fossils from very large dinosaurs (called titanosaurs until they are given an official name) were found in Argentina, many people worked to excavate the fossils so they could be brought to a museum for further study. See the support materials for discussion questions, teaching tips, and an activity where students make a book about how fossils are studied. 

Human and Animal Relationships

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In this video from NATURE: "Naledi: One Little Elephant," a baby elephant named Naledi is taken into the care of animal scientists following her mother’s death. In the accompanying activity, students explore 

how humans are able to help, care for and nurse animals back to health using human-made feeders. Using this knowledge, students design animal feeders out of various materials for an animal of their choosing.  

Additional support materials are available, including discussion questions, vocabulary, teaching tips and a handout. For more from NATURE, check out the collection page.

 

Gorillas

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In 1956, Snowflake, a white gorilla was captured in the wild and later housed in a zoo in Barcelona, Spain. In years past, captive gorillas were confined to cells alone and fed meat. Now scientists understand that gorillas are vegetarians and should live together as a family. Today, zoos construct environments to reflect gorillas natural habitats. In this video segment from Nature, discover how scientists have learned how to better raise and care for gorillas in captivity and learn about Colo, the first gorilla born in a zoo.

Skinks in the Desert: Behavior as an Adaptation for Survival

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See how great desert skinks work together to survive in the Australian desert in this video from NATURE: Animal Homes. Most reptiles live alone, but skinks live in colonies and make burrows. This unique behavior adaptation enable them to escape the hot desert temperatures.

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