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The Living Edens Madagascar-A World Apart Classroom Resources

Leaping Lemurs! How far can you jump?

Grade Level: 3-6

Subject Area: Math, Science

Estimated Time of Completion:

These activities take about ten minutes for each student pair (outside) and about 20 minutes discussion (inside).

A lemur can travel 25 feet in one leap. How far can a student travel in one leap?

After watching the segment of the video that deals with the lemurs' ability to jump, students learn more about their own jumping abilities.

I. Instructional Objectives
II. Tools and Materials Needed
III. National Standards
IV. Procedures and Activities
V. Definitions and Rules
VI. Assessment Recommendations
VII. Extensions/Adaptations
VIII. Web Resources

I. Instructional Objectives

By the end of this activity, students will be able to:

  • collect real data through measurement.
  • compare the physical abilities of students and lemurs.

II. National Standards:

This lesson correlates to the following national math and science standards for grades 3-6 as established by The Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory at

  • Selects and uses appropriate tools for given measurement situations (e.g., rulers for length, measuring cups for capacity, protractors for angle)
  • Uses specific strategies to estimate quantities and measurements (e.g., estimating the whole by estimating the parts)
  • Selects and uses appropriate units of measurement, according to type and size of unit
  • Organizes and displays data in simple bar graphs, pie charts, and line graphs
  • Understands that data come in many different forms and that collecting, organizing, and displaying data can be done in many ways

III. Tools and Materials Needed

Rulers (English or metric)
Yard or Meter Stick
Chalk or other “place holder”
-Data recording materials (pencils, pens, chart/paper, clipboards, index cards, etc.)

IV. Procedures and Activities:

Begin by viewing clips from The Living Edens: Madagascar that show lemurs in action. Afterwards, students can learn more about lemurs at The Living Edens: Madagascar: Lemurs site.

The teacher might ask students to collect certain pieces of information from the film and the Web site in a scavenger hunt for lemur facts.

This part of the activity is best done outside.

Pair students up so that each student does the following with his/her partner making the appropriate measurements:

  • Measure the length of a “standard step."
  • Measure the length of a “standing broad jump."
  • Measure the length of a “long jump.

V. Definitions and Rules:

a. Standing broad jump: have a student stand directly behind the starting line or scratch line and bend at the knees as though sitting down in a chair. Next, with the arms hanging down at the side, swing the arms straight back as if trying to point backwards to the wall behind you. With the knees bent and the arms back, push the legs and the arms up and out as the student jumps. The landing should be made on the feet whenever possible. Falling backward does occur with the student usually catching himself/herself with his/her hands. The student's landing is marked at the back of where the last part of the body landed. If the student landed on his/her feet, then the heel would be the marking spot. If the student fell backwards and landed on his/her hands, then the marking would from the finger tip. Three attempts should be given to each student.

b. Running broad jump: the student should not start more than six to eight feet behind the scratch line. Stress to the students that landing on the feet whenever possible is important for safety. Have the students run as fast as possible, yet at a speed that allows them to land on their feet. When the student approaches the scratch line, the jump will take place off of one foot instead of two as in the standing broad jump. You might use floor mats the first few times you try this.

Students should record the data clearly.

This part of the activity can occur in the classroom.

Discuss the following questions with the students:

  • Which one of the student leaps most closely resembles the lemurs' leap? – Have the students describe the leap of the lemur. Is it like other animals they know? Can they replicate it?
  • Did the students leap as far as the lemurs?

Why or why not?

  • How much difference (distance) is there in a student's leap and that of a lemur?
  • How many students does it take to leap as far as a lemur leaps?

VI. Assessment Recommendations

This activity can be used to assess the various aspects of data collection (organization, accuracy, standardization of units, etc.).

Student participation in the data collection (leaper and data collector) is measurable, as is student participation in the classroom discussions.

Students may construct bar graphs that compare results. For example, students might analyze boys' results against girls', results matched to height, etc.

VII. Extensions/Adaptations

Students could use a spreadsheet application and computer to answer questions such as:

Which student leaped the greatest total distance?

Was this student the “greatest” in each type of leap?

If not, how could s/he possibly have the greatest total?

What is the average “standard step," “standing broad jump” and/or “long jump” distance for each individual student?

What is the average “standard step," “standing broad jump” and/or “long jump” distance for the class?

Statistical extensions such as mode and median leap measures can be made.

Data collection strategies can be emphasized. Student pairs could create data sheets before attempting to collect each other's leap data.

Some student pairs could use standard English measuring tools (foot ruler and yard stick) while others use standard metric measuring tools (centimeter rule and meter stick). As class results are shared, a discussion about units of measure would surly unravel!

VIII. Web Resources

(Note: these links will take you away from PBS Online.)

Evolution: Lemur

Houston Zoo: Ruffled Lemur

Como Park Zoo: Blue-Eyed Black Lemur


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