What Denali Animal Am I?

Instructional Objectives
Background Information
Web Resources

Identifying the animal species of Denali.

Instructional Objectives: Students will:

1. Identify the different mammal species of Denali National Park from "infocards" they create in class.

2. Identify species from "infocards" through a classroom activity similar to Jeopardy.

3. Research the list of animals provided by this lesson and create infocards with the information to share with fellow students.

Background Information:

Students will create "infocards" (5 x 7 index cards) from research in animal books (example: field guides and other animal sources). I have selected the animals: Moose, Grizzly Bear, Fox, Ground Squirrel, Golden Eagle, and Caribou however this list can be easily expanded. The background information provided is sample information that may be used by the teacher. Additional information may be placed on the card following student research. (Source for Facts on Animals: Burton, John A, Mammals, American Nature Guides, SMITHMARK Publishers Inc.New York, New York.1991 and Burton, Philip, Birds of Prey, American Nature Guides, Gallery Books, New York, NY , 1991.)

Background Info For Some Animals In Denali National Park
Grizzly Bear: Ursus Arctos (Scientific Name)

Infocard Information:
- Found in Denali National Park
- Habitat: open country often in mountainous regions
- Extinct in much of its former range
- Abundant in part of NW Canada and Alaska
- Appearance: Large mammal, usually brownish or yellowish brown
- Size: Six to Seven Feet, 323 to 849 pounds
- Food: Omnivorous
- Usually have 2 in litter in alternate years

Moose: Alces alces (Scientific Name)

Infocard Information:
- Found in Denali National Park
- Habitat: Forests and willow thickets
- Apperance: Large mammal, largest deer in the world, dark, long legged, with a humped appearance and large muzzle, has antlers
- Size: 6.5 - 9 feet, up to 1,210 pounds
- Food: Mostly browse and aquatic vegetation, willows, aspen and birch
- Not threatened
- One to three calves born in the spring

Caribou: Rangifer tarundus (Scientific Name)

Infocard Information:
- Found in Denali National Park
- Habitat: tundra, boreal forests, taiga and mountain coniferous forests
- Appearance: A large deer, variable in color, but usually with shaggy brownish fur, paler on neck, with the underparts and rump whitish, has antlers
- Size: 4.25 - 6.75 feet, up to 594 pounds
- Food: Variable, lichens, twigs (willows and birches) sedges and fungi
- One calf usually some times two are born

Ground Squirrel: Spemophilus parryii (Scientific Name)

Infocard Information:
- Found in Denali National Park
- Habitat: Open shortgrass
- Appearance: Similar to prairie dogs, brownish
- Size: 9.75-14 inches, 13 -16 ounces
- Food: Mostly grassroots, and other vegetation
- Usually one litter a year of 2-11 young

Golden Eagle: Aquila chrysaetos (Scientific Name)

Infocard Information:
- Found in Denali National Park
- Habitat: Untidy Nest, rocky crag, sometimes trees and chooses most inhospitable mountainous areas in Northern Hemisphere to live
- Appearance: Dark Brown with some gold
- Size: 30-35 inches long, wing length, 22.5-28 inches, weight 7-12 pounds
Untidy Nest, rocky crag, sometimes trees
- Predatory bird

Fox: Vulpes Fulva (Scientific Name)

Infocard Information:
- Found in Denali National Park
- Habitat: Woodlands, forest, farmland, scrubby hillsides to arctic tundra
- Appearance: Dog like mammal, reddish brown with white underparts, feet and ears are blackish
- Size: 2.75-3.5 feet, weight: 3-7 kg
- Food: Small mammals, birds, fruit, and insects - One litter per year, 5-7 young
- Not a threatened species

Wolf: Canis Lupus (Scientific Name)

Infocard Information:
- Found in Denali
- Found in forests and tundra
- Appearance: Color is variable, white to black and yellowish or reddish brown Size: 1.3-1.8 meters, weight 26-59 kg
- Food: Moose and caribou
- Litter is usually 6-7

Activity: What Denali Animal Am I?

Time Needed For Activity: One 45 minute period to have students research animals of Denali and to participate in Jeopardy type activity.

Target Grade Level: Middle school (Extensions for Elementary and Secondary schools found below.)

Materials Needed: Students will work in groups of four.

  • Pencil/Paper
  • 5 x 7 Index Cards
  • Field Guides of Animals of North America
  • Student science journals

Procedure: Divide students into teams of 3-4.

1. Have student teams research the different animals assigned secretly by teacher.

2. Have students write identifying facts from animal field guides on index cards (infocards).

3. Students will then read one fact about the Denali animal to class. Other groups will try to guess which animal it is. Establish a system of points if another team guesses on one clue, two clues etc. Keep a point record and team with most points wins the challenge. If no team is able to guess which Denali animal it is with the first fact, then continue to present facts on the Denali animal until a team is able to identify the animal.

4. Use the point system for teams and have a prize for the winning team of students.

Evaluation/ Alternative Assessment

Have students make of list of the animals discussed and some relevant facts about the animals of Denali in student science journals. You may want to make animal picture posters by using animal magazine cutouts and display them.

Elementary Extension:

Find animals stories relevant to those animals found in Denali National Park and read the stories to the students. You may also have students draw pictures of the Denali animals.

Read story to students, "Grizzly Cub".
McIntyre, Rick, Grizzly Cub, Five Years In The Life Of A Bear, Alaska Northwest Books, Anchorage, Alaska, 1990.

Secondary Extension:

Have students research the mammals, birds, fish and amphibians of the Denali National Park. Students may compare and contrast the habitats of the different animals found in the park.

Web Resources on Denali Animals:




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