The purpose of this activity is to pique students’ interest and to activate background knowledge about crocodiles.
Time for completion: 30 minutes
- Divide the class into groups of four or five students. Give each group a copy of the “Crocodiles FAQ” handout. Ask students to discuss each question, agree on what they believe is the best answer, and record their answer on the worksheet. Explain to students that they are not expected to have the “correct” answer for this activity.
- After all of the groups have completed the handout, visit the “Facts and Question” section of the Florida Museum of Natural History website. As a class, review the answers to the questions regarding crocodiles.http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/cnhc/cbd-faq.htm
Teacher Note: There is a section at the bottom of the webpage for asking questions about crocodiles. You may decide to e-mail to this address for answers to any questions that you cannot answer during these activities.
The purpose of this activity is for students to learn how the crocodile is valued by cultures around the world. Students will also write about a real life incident from multiple perspectives.
Time for completion: One 50-minute class and one homework assignment
- Share the following quotation with your class:
“The Toraja of central Sulawesi believe that the crocodile may be an ancestor and address him as ‘grandfather.’ They say that crocodiles do no harm to anyone, except when Poe Mpalaburu (Vishnu, the Maintainer of Creation) commands a crocodile to kill a certain person. Certain wicked men, they relate, can reincarnate into crocodiles in order to settle an old score with their enemies.” – Jan Knappert
- Next, read aloud to the class the Indonesian version of the Cinderella story, “Cinderella Crocodile” from the book “An Encyclopedia of Myth and Legend, Pacific Mythology” by Jan Knappert. A copy of this story can be found on the One World Magazine website at http://www.oneworldmagazine.org/tales/crocs/cinder.html.
- After reading the quotation and the story, ask students what they think is revealed about how these cultures value the crocodile.
- Watch the “Supersize Crocs” program from 12:53 to 13:56, and from 16:30 to 17:50. Involve the students in a brief discussion about the program. Divide the class into groups of five or six students.
- Tell students that they are going to work in groups to write six news stories based on a series of real-life fatal crocodile attacks that occurred on Lake Victoria in Uganda. Explain to students that the news reports are going to be written from six different perspectives.
- Hand out a copy of the “Crocodiles Eat Dozen People in Lake Victoria in Uganda” article from the Xinhua News Agency website (see below), and a copy of the “Crocodile News Report” organizer. Review the article and the information in the organizer with students to clarify what is expected of them before they begin. Explain to students that they will have to complete some background research in order to write some of the news reports.
- After students have completed their news reports, ask them to spend several minutes writing three things that they learned during this assignment.
Teacher Note: You may choose to have the news story be completed as a newspaper article, or a television or radio report.
The purpose of this activity is to provide students with an opportunity to reflect on the challenges crocodiles have faced historically, as well as those they face today. Based on this information, students will be asked to predict whether or not supersize crocs will reappear in the future.
Time for completion: Two – 50 minute class periods
1. Begin by watching the “Supersize Crocs” program from the beginning until 8:50 and from 53:08 to the end.
2. Pass out a copy of the “Crocodile Information” organizer to each student. Explain to students that they are going to research crocodiles and collect information in the organizers. Encourage students to use a variety of sources for their research. The following websites can be used to begin any Internet research:
- NATURE website: Supersize Crocs
- Crocodilians Natural History and Conservation
- The Paleosuchus Page
- Queen’s Land Park and Wildlife Service
3. Revisit the following closing remarks from the “Supersize Crocs” program with students:
“Although Rom’s not found his giant, what he’s seen in Australia has given him hope. He’s found a real change in our attitudes towards these magnificent reptiles. The trap remains empty, but Rom’s seen enough to believe that there are still giant crocs left out there and as long as there are habitats where they can grow in peace, in 20 years or so, giant reptiles might once again roam the Earth.”
4. Tell students that they are going to answer the question, “Do you think the supersize croc will roam the earth in twenty years?” Explain to students that the answer to this question will be in a written format, and at least one page in length. Their response should contain information from the “Crocodile Information” organizer that supports their supposition.
The “Crocodile News Report” rubric and the list of the three things that the students learned while completing the activity may be used to assess Activity One.
Students’ responses to the, “Do you think the supersize croc will roam the earth in twenty years?” question may be used to assess Activity Two.
Have students design a physical education program for younger children that gets students moving and teaches them something about crocodiles. The Florida Museum of Natural History website offers examples of the different ways that crocodiles move in the wild. Ask students to incorporate these moves into a physical education class. Tell students to include information about the crocodile when teaching the children how to perform the crocodile-like movements.
About the Author
Laurel Blaine is founder of Digital Narratives LLC, a curriculum design company. In addition to content development, Digital Narratives also works with young people to enhance their literacy skills as they explore the power of digital storytelling. Over the past decade, Laurel has created educational materials for a diverse range of clients including The Kennedy Center, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Learning Matters/Listen Up! and Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Museum.