||The Wolf and the Moose
Topic: Predator and Prey Relationships
Instructional Objectives: Students
1. Role play moose
and wolves to re-enact the predator/prey relationship
between the two species found in Denali National
2. Demonstrate the
relationship between wolves and moose through an
3. Reflect and
record in student science journals on how the balance
of nature works between wolves and moose in Denali
Wolves have an
indeserved reputation of being heineos super killers.
Most often the wolf is unsuccessful in its attempt to
find and kill prey. Moose and caribou are the primary
prey for the wolves of Denali National Park. The wolf
populations vary based on available prey. The balance
between moose and wolf populations is the target of
(Source: Mech, David, "Where Can The Wolf Survive?",
National Geographic Magazine, Washington, DC, Vol.
152,No.4, October , 1977.
Pererson, Dr. Rolf O., Moose and Wolves, EarthCorps
Briefing, Earthwatch, Watertown, MA, 1996.)
The Moose and the Wolf
for activity: One 45 minute period to
explain the activity and rules, take students
outdoors for the activity and time to discuss and
reflect what students observed.
Grade Level: Middle school (Extensions and
adjustments for elementary and high school found
Needed: Start out with 2 groups of moose (2
students) and two packs of wolves (remaining students
divided equally). Should one species seem to
dominate the survival game, increase the number of
students who will role play moose.
- Clock/watch for the timekeepers (2)
- 1 playground
- Color paper tags with kite string (similar to those
used in touch football) to be worn by each student
- Name tags identifying moose or wolf
- Student science journals
- 2 student timekeepers to follow moose
- 5 identified safe zones on the playground 10 meters
1. Divide the
class into four groups. Be sure that both girls
and boys play both roles, moose and wolf. Four of
the students will be moose and the remaining
students will represent 2 packs of wolves. Moose
will be followed by timekeepers to adhere to
rules of activity. Moose will be in 2 teams with
2 students each. Moose and wolf teams should
spend 3-5 minutes planning strategies of survival
for the activity.
2. Establish parameters in the playground in
which students must remain to represent Denali
National Park boundries. Identify by post,
football field chalk marks or other method, five
safe zones for moose to rest and feed. These safe
zones (10 meters in diameter) should be marked as
2 lakes, 2 forests and 1 mountain zone. Be sure
to mark the safe zones well. (Circle shape to
zone is appropriate.)
3. Hand out and discuss the rules of the
activity, found below.
4. Hand out color paper tags with kite string and
have students attach to themselves. (Students
will try to pull the tags from others which means
a kill by predator or by prey.)
5. Conduct activity under a 20 minute time limit
and return to class.
6. Reflect and record discussion issues or
predator/prey relationship in student science journals. Assess
how many of each species survived and discuss
reasons why one species survived and the other did
not, including survival of the strongest.
1. Each student
will wear a color paper tag with kite string.
Moose will be given a 30 second head start to run
to safety zones.
2. Every minute for each of the 20 minutes
allowed for the activity, a wolf is to be
removed from the game by teacher and/or
timekeeper (alternate boy/girl selection) as it
is lost to starvation.
3. Safe zones for moose are lakes, forests and 1
mountain zone and moose can remain only three
minutes in each zone, after which it must run to
the next zone, either as a pair or singly. The
safe zone represents feeding and rest for mouse.
Moose may leave the safe zone before three minutes
and one at a time. If they stay beyond
three minutes, one moose will die from
4. Each wolf and moose will try to pull the color
paper tag from each other to effect a
"kill" of the other species. Once a
moose or wolf is taken from the game, they will
sit on the sidelines until the 20 minute period
5. If a moose pulls a tag from a wolf, the moose
has "killed" the wolf, and if the wolf
removes a tag from a moose, the wolf has
"killed" the moose, thus providing food
for the pack and insuring the species survival.
6. Moose must behave as prey and run from wolves,
except when trapped when they may try to pull
color tag from wolves. Moose may rest and feed in
7. Wolves must behave as predators and chase
moose from zone to zone trying to pull color tags
8. At the end of a twenty minute period, return
Discuss results of
the student activity and student observations
regarding predator/prey relationships. Review student
science journals and have students evaluate how one
species might be more successful than another.
predators and prey are and their role in the
Denali ecosystem. Present pictures of predators
and prey and read stories to students about wolves
from the school library.
predator and prey relationships in Denali
National Park. Have students contact Denali
National Park Headquarters to get actual data of
wolf and moose numbers within the park and graph
the data over a period of time.
Resources on Wolves:
NOVA: Wild Wolves
International Wolf Center
National Geographic: Wolves