Seeing wild animals in towns and cities is not uncommon. Even New York City is home to all kinds of wildlife—raccoons, coyotes, opossum, deer, and hawks to name a few species.
In northern regions, wild moose sometimes roam into towns. As explained in the book Little Brother Moose, “They enter towns for a variety of reasons, including illness. Naturalists speculate that apparently healthy, young males enter town for a different reason: curiosity.”
Little Brother Moose tells the story of just such a curious young male. He’s lured into a town by the sights, sounds, and smells of civilization. And he gets lost! Eventually he finds his way home by listening with his whole being to the promptings of nature.
LESSON PLAN: Listen, Listen, Listen
In this activity, students practice listening to sounds outside. Listening builds children’s awareness of the natural world, and it can also be a very calming activity for children. Some of the best months to practice listening to nature sounds are when birds are active, from February to June.
Suggested Grade Level: K-3
Materials: The book, Little Brother Moose
- Pre-select a suitable spot where nature sounds can be heard, preferably away from other loud
sounds, such as traffic.
- Read aloud Little Brother Moose. Discuss the many things in the town that attracted Little Brother. Ask what things he misinterpreted. For example, he thought the loaves of bread in the bakery window were mushrooms.
- Explain to students that listening is one of the first skills young animals learn from their parents. Read the information about listening in the back of the book. Tell the children they are going to a special “listening place” where they can practice listening too.
- Lead them quietly to the spot you’ve chosen and have them stand in a circle. Explain that everyone is going to listen for all of the different sounds they can hear, both natural and man-made sounds.
For each different sound they hear they will raise one finger. Natural sounds include such things as different birds, the wind in the trees; man-made sounds include trucks, cars, or airplanes, and machines; and sounds close by such as the rustling of a coat.
For Round One: Have the children close their eyes, listen, and raise their fingers for about a minute or more. Then have them open their eyes and ask individual children to name one of the sounds they heard.
For Round Two: Explain that everyone is going to listen again, but this time they are only going to listen to nature sounds. Repeat the procedure.
Ask children what they discovered about listening to nature sounds. Did they try anything that made it easier to hear the sounds? If children remain interested, repeat the process a third time. Did children increase the sounds they could hear?
[This activity is adapted from Sharing Nature With Children.]