Big Boas of Manu

Objectives of the Lesson
Background Information
Materials Needed
Evaluation/Alternative Assessment
Web Resources

Objectives of the Lesson:

Students will:

  1. Construct the framework of a large Boa, commonly found in Manu.
  2. Visualize the size of a Boa in Manu.
  3. Research the Boa Constrictor and other snakes of Manu.

Background Information:

Boas are found throughout South America. They grow from eight to about fourteen feet. A very large boa could reach sixteen feet . Boas are constrictors and do not crush prey. They eat mammals and birds. They are a very common pet and are easily raised in captivity. Boa Constrictors are much smaller than the Anaconda which can reach thirty three feet in length. The boa constrictor can live in many environments while the anaconda lives near water. Boas are found from Southern Mexico to Argentina. There are also a number of different species of boas. The anaconda is one of the two largest snakes in the world. (Mehrtens, John M., Living Snakes of the World, Sterling Publishing Company, New York, 1987, pages 17-18.)

Materials Needed:

  • A copy of the PBS program, The Living Edens: "Manu, Peru's Hidden Rain Forest" (If you missed The Living Edens "Manu" program that aired on November 12, 1997 you can order the video)
  • Eight to ten sheets of large white tagboard
  • Scissors
  • Download template of Boa Constrictor head from this site
  • Crayons, Markers, Colored Pencils
  • 25-30 Students
  • Compass for drawing circles up to 10 inches in diameter or larger
  • Scissors
  • Student Science Journals


  1. Class will view the PBS program, The Living Edens: "Manu, Peru's Hidden Rain Forest" (If you missed The Living Edens "Manu" program that aired on November 12, 1997 you can order the video).
  2. Pass out white tagboard and draw circles in the following diameters.
  3. Boa Constrictor: Four 10 -inch circles, Two 8- inch circles, Two-6 inch circles, Two 5-inch circles, and Four 4-inch circles. (14 foot snake)
  4. Anaconda (optional): Four 12- inch circles, Four -10 inch circles, Four- 8 inch circles, Four -6 inch circles, Four- 5 inch circles and Eight- 4 inch circles. ( 28 foot snake)
  5. After drawing the circles, cut them out with scissors and color the circles, both sides a camouflage design with green, brown, red and black.
  6. Have one student color (same colors) the head downloaded at this site the same camouflage design. (Optional Anaconda: Most of the anaconda is green with some brown spots)
  7. After the head and circles are colored, take students outside or in a large room in school and have them stand next to each other (approximately 1 foot apart) with the largest diameter circles in the center gradually getting smaller to each end of the snake.
  8. Have students form a wave as shown in the downloaded instructions at this site. Have them all move in unison so that they are able to see the way a snake moves. Each student must take the step at the same time. Have each student go to the front of the snake and look toward the students in a line and visualize the snake moving as student walk in unison.
  9. Students will see the size and as well as how the snake moves in this activity.
  10. Have students research boa constrictors on the world wide web and in books in the library and record data in student science journals.
  11. Have students reflect in their science journals and have students read these responses to the class.

Evaluation/Alternative Assessment:

Elementary Extension:

A discussion of the size of the Boa and optional anaconda is a good thing to do with elementary level students. They can each draw a picture of what they see in the activity as a follow - up .

High School Extension:

Secondary students can visit the zoo and study the reptiles first hand. A discussion with the curator of reptiles would also be a good idea. Students may research other species of constrictors and some venomous species as well. Distribution lists of where the snakes are found in the Amazon can be created.

Web Resources:

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