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TEACHING GUIDES


Animal Einsteins Guide & Resources

Animals...how intelligent are they? In this episode of Scientific American Frontiers you'll meet some scientists who've studied the communication thought processes and problem-solving skills of animals and have discovered that they're a lot smarter than we thought. Take Rocky the sea lion for example. With the help of trainers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Rocky has learned to understand a special sign language. Fetch, touch, ball, bat and frisbee are just part of her vocabulary. Join host Alan Alda as he visits with Rocky and other Animal Einsteins in a quest to find out how -- and how much -- animals think.

Here are the topics and running times of stories on this show and a brief description of related activities you'll find in this online teaching guide:


  • If Only They Could Talk! (running time: 9:59) -- Meet a pig and a sea lion that understand sign language and a parrot that speaks English. Activity and Discussion: Solve a puzzle by decoding symbols.

  • Who Needs Words Anyway? (running time: 10:47) -- Is language essential to thought? Watch as researchers try to answer that question. Activity and Discussion: Observing animal communication.

  • Number Crunchers (running time: 7:15) -- Meet monkeys that count and chimpanzees that do fractions. Activity and Discussion: Understanding binary counting systems.

  • Figure That One Out (running time: 7:43) -- Watch as ravens and cotton-top tamarins solve some tricky problems. Activity and Discussion: Solving puzzles.

  • No Fools About Tools (running time: 4:46) -- What does animals' ability to use tools tell us about their intelligence? Activity and Discussion: Define and measure dog IQ.

  • Thinking About Thinking (running time: 10:20) -- Chimps and monkeys seem to understand what other animals think. Discussion and Activity: Be an animal observer.

  • Viewer Challenge -- After you watch Animal Einsteins, test your viewing skills with ten questions about the show!





 

Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
Sponsored by GTE Corporation,
now a part of Verizon Communications Inc.