November is a perfect time to introduce your students to turkeys and play the “Animal Trail Game.” It may be played inside or outside. Of course playing it outside adds to the fun, provides more of a nature experience, and allows kids to get some much-needed exercise.
LESSON PLAN: Animal Trail Game
In this lesson, students move from station to station along an imaginary trail of animal tracks. Students will strut, flutter, and hop as they discover what animals live in your area. Along the way, each student collects Animal Cards–facts about each of the animals. Playing the game will help your students become a Young Naturalist like Jenny, the main character in the book. Young Naturalists are kids who are curious and careful about the natural world around them!
Suggested grade level: K-3
- The book Gobble, Gobble
- 6 Animal Posters, sheets (8 ½ x 11 ) available from Nature Exploration Activities pdf, pages 6-12
- 6 business-size envelopes, one for each poster
- Animal Cards, one sheet (8 ½ x 11) per student, available in pdf, page 13. *Note: If these animals are not found in your area, you can create Animal Cards of different animals using the blank cards provided in the pdf, page 14. You will also need to create corresponding posters
- Print the 6 posters.
- Create a pocket at the bottom of each poster by cutting off the top flap of an envelope and gluing it to the bottom of the poster. Refer to the diagram on page 3 of the pdf.
- Copy Game Cards, cut them apart, sort them into piles by animal, and put them into the corresponding poster pocket.
- For non-readers, arrange for 6 helpers, one per poster. The helper may be a parent or older student who can read the poster and help young students write/draw the answers to the questions.
1. Read aloud Gobble, Gobble. Ask students: How did Jenny first discover she had turkeys in her yard? What did she find in the mud? (Ans: Turkey tracks) Ask: How long did Jenny observe the turkeys? (Ans. 1 year) How do they know? (Ans: The season changed from spring to summer to fall to winter.) How did the turkeys behave differently in each season?
2. Transition students into the game by saying something like the following:
- Even though you may not SEE the animals in your neighborhood or nearby woods, they do leave traces behind. Often you can tell who has been there by spotting and identifying tracks just like Jenny did.
- We’re going to play a game that helps you learn the tracks of woodland animals. To play the game, you will look for a poster with an animal on it. The poster will ask you some questions. You may know some of the answers or you may not—just make a guess. Once you make your guess, take a card from the pocket of the poster—it will have all the answers. You get to keep the card.
- Going to the next station: Look below the animal’s picture to get two clues about the station/poster you should go to next: (1) You’ll see the tracks that the animal makes. (2) You’ll see directions about how you should move to get to the next station, such as: flap your wings, scamper, etc. Go from station to station until you’ve gone to all 6.
3. Divide the class into 6 groups and position each group at one of the stations. It doesn’t matter where they begin because each poster will direct them to the next one. Continue play until students have visited all 6 posters. Debrief the activity by asking students to share something they learned about one of the animals.
Common Core ELA (K-3)
- Key Ideas and Details: K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1; K.3, 1.3, 2.3, 3.3
- Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: K.7, 1.7, 2.7, 3.7
Next Generation (DCI K-3)
- Life Science: LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
- Earth Science: ESS2: Earth’s Systems
WATCH A BOOK TRAILER OF GOBBLE, GOBBLE