This focus area was quite a challenge to put together. I hope that you have fun studying mammals over the next nine weeks with the Outdoor Hour Challenges. You are welcome to complete all the aspects of the challenge or you can pick and choose which ones fit your family best. Please leave me some comments letting me know how you like the set-up of this challenge. Give the challenge a try and please email me with any ideas on how to make the challenges better or simpler.
You will still have a reading in the Handbook of Nature Study that gives you the foundation of the challenge.
If you have younger children, you may enjoy reading the selections in The Burgess Animal Book for Children. We will not be reading every story in this book because of the time constraints but I am including as many as I can. You can use these challenges as a model if you wish to continue on with this book after we are finished with the nine week focus on mammals.
I have also tried to include some internet links for more information on mammals and rabbits in particular. There are also links to mini-book page and a coloring page that you can use as an option to a nature journal entry this week.
Admittedly, not many of us are going to have wild or domestic rabbits to observe in person. Any study of mammals can be done with what you have on hand. Do you have a pet dog, cat, mouse, or rat? Do you have a neighbor that has a dog or cat they will let you observe? How about a relative? How about visiting a pet store? Be creative.
You can still complete the reading each week and the outdoor time even if you don’t find the mammal we are focusing on to observe in real life. Many mammals are nocturnal and you will rarely find them to observe anyway. Some mammals hibernate in the winter so they are not easily observed. Many more mammals are just plain shy and rarely show their faces. Reading about them and learning their behaviors will help you find and observe them in the wild if you are diligent…it may not be this week or this year but you will be ready if you do the study ahead of time.
Outdoor Hour Challenge #44
Mammals: Rabbits and Hares
1. Read pages 214-219 in the Handbook of Nature Study.
In this case, I would actually mark sections to read to your child about rabbits as a way to introduce them to an animal they probably haven’t seen in the wild. You do not need to read the whole section on rabbits but only as much as you think they will be interested in hearing. If you are using The Burgess Book of Animals, you may wish to skip reading from the Handbook of Nature Study to them altogether.
Although few of us will have access to a real rabbit of any sort to study up close, children will enjoy reading about the rabbit and then remembering some facts about rabbits for any future opportunities that may arise. Be creative and see if you can visit a pet shop that has rabbits that you can observe or let others know that you are studying rabbits and they may know someone who owns a rabbit that you can study with your children.
Here is a great link to read with your children that includes photos of the cottontail rabbit as well as images of the rabbit’s tracks.
2. Supplemental Reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 1-3. After you read each chapter, stop and pause for a little discussion about the animals in each story. See if your child can narrate back to you a few facts about each animal. If narration is new to your child, you may need to prompt them at first but it does get easier as you practice. Use the illustrations if you need to get them started.
“The purpose of this book is to acquaint the reader with the larger groups-orders, families, and divisions of the latter, so that typical representatives may readily be recognized and their habits understood.”
The Burgess Animal Book, Preface
3. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. Ask your children where they think that they might see a mammal. If you have snow or mud, look for animal tracks of any kind. Look for any other signs of animals as you walk. Look for gnawing marks on trees and plants. Look for scat or cones or seeds left from a meal.
“The cotton-tail thrives amid civilization; its color protects it from sight; its long ears give it warning of the approach of danger; and its long legs enable it to run by swift, long leaps.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 218
Don’t forget that you can also observe other mammals if you have the opportunity. Cats, dogs, squirrels, and horses may be available. You can draw attention to the similarities and differences between a rabbit and these other mammals. For example: How are a cat’s and a rabbit’s ears different? Why do you think they are different? How are a cat and a rabbit alike? (both have fur, both have four legs, etc.)
4. For your nature journal this week, try sketching two different kinds of rabbits. Use The Burgess Animal Book as a reference or you can Google Cottontail rabbit, Northern hare, Swamp rabbit, Snowshoe rabbit, Jack rabbit. (Please preview before you share with your children because many times the images are of dead rabbits.) As an alternative to a nature journal, see the resources below for printable activities.
Post an entry on your blog sharing your experiences. You can link up by clicking the carnival button or you can send them directly to me: [email protected]
|Hearts and Trees Mammal Lapbook Kit|