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Ape Genius

Viewing Ideas

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Before Watching

  1. Ask your students to describe how the non-human great apes—which include chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans—are usually portrayed on TV or in movies. Do they think that the media portray the great apes realistically? Why or why not? Have students provide a list of things they think apes can learn, what kinds of things apes can teach each other, and ways that apes cooperate. Ask students to give examples to support their answers.

  2. As students watch, assign groups to collect information using the viewing guide provided in the activity called "Ape Genius?". See the activity procedure section for instructions.


After Watching

  1. After students have watched the program, have them revisit their lists about what they thought apes could do. How many of their preconceptions were correct? What did they learn about what apes can teach and learn, and how they cooperate? What facts about ape intelligence were most surprising to students? Why?

  2. Tell students that they have been awarded a grant to contribute a study to this line of research with apes. Organize students into groups and have each group consider additional experiments they could design to assess intelligence in apes. Help students to formulate ideas by asking them what signs of intelligence they would look for. Have each group create a protocol for its study that includes details about which apes would be studied, under what conditions, for how long, and in what environment.

Teacher's Guide
Ape Genius
WATCH A PREVIEW BUY THE VIDEO WATCH THE VIDEO ONLINE PROGRAM OVERVIEW VIEWING IDEAS CLASSROOM ACTIVITY RELATED NOVA RESOURCES INTERACTIVE FOR STUDENTS
   

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