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Animal babies.

At birth, many animal babies strongly resemble their parents. Others must go through several stages of development before they like the adult members of their species. An infant giraffe, on its long spindly legs, looks a great deal like a miniature version of its fully grown parents. The long-tailed, legless tadpole, though, doesn't look much like its frog mother or father. When they finally reach adulthood, all animal young will resemble their parents. Animal babies vary greatly in size also. A newborn elephant calf weighs about 90 kg (200 lbs.), and some baby whales can weigh as much as 2500 kg (5500 lbs.). A newborn kangaroo joey, on the other hand, is only about the size of a penny.

Some animal young are nidifugous. This means that they are able to take care of themselves right after birth. Often, they never even see their parents. Nidicolous young need lots of parental care, often for long periods of time. These young need to be nurtured, fed, and protected in order to survive their infancy.

Usually most invertebrates (animals without backbones) and many kinds of fish, amphibians, and reptiles have left their young by the time they hatch. Two interesting exceptions are the Nile crocodile and the Gastric-brooding frog. Nile crocodiles make extraordinary parents. Scientists recently discovered that they constantly guard their sun-warmed nests until they hear the squeaky calls of their ready-to-hatch infants. The mother then digs up the eggs and helps the hatching process by rolling the eggs over in her mouth. After they hatch, she gently carries the babies in her mouth to the water. The father will often help with this process. Some crocodile parents will look after their hatchlings for up to six months, an uncommon trait in reptiles! Unlike most other frogs, which lay their eggs and then leave them to hatch and grow on their own, the Gastric-brooding frog swallows her eggs after fertilization. She then regurgitates them when they have developed into tadpoles.

In order to survive, infant birds require a great deal of parental care. Bird parents not only build nests and incubate their eggs until they hatch, they also expend considerable energy bringing food to their helpless young. These parents must also constantly guard their eggs (and newborns) from hungry predators. Baby ducks become very much attached to the first moving thing they see. Usually a duckling sees its mother first and proceeds to mimic her actions and to follow her everywhere. This enables the duckling to receive plenty of food and protection. It also helps it learn how to "be a duck" by imitating a role model. This phenomenon of early attachment to parents or siblings is called imprinting. In some cases, animal babies imprint on the first thing they hear, smell, or even on the places where they are born.

Mammal infants are perhaps the most fascinating of all animal babies. Mammals feed their young on mothers' milk. Some of the richest milk is produced for babies born in cold environments. Milk high in fat enables polar bear cubs, seal pups, and whale calves to build up the thick insulating blubber needed for survival in freezing temperatures. Polar bear milk consists of almost one third fat, compared to cow's milk which is about 4% fat.

Almost all baby mammals play. Some scientists believe that play is an essential key to survival, sharpening a baby animal's physical and social skills. These skills will be relied on later, when they are grown and on their own. Mountain goat kids play "king of the mountain." Young squirrel monkeys leap through the trees and wrestle with their peers, while lion cubs pounce and claw and chew.

Parents may not always be the only care-givers during an animal's infancy. Some baby animals are also cared for "baby-sitters." Lionesses tend to each other's cubs and even share their milk with them. Young female wolves gain status in the pack by tending to the pups of the dominant female. Male baboons and some penguin dads even baby-sit while the mothers go off to eat or socialize. Many animals form nurseries, or kindergartens, where a few busy babysitters tend to large numbers of young.

By studying baby animal behaviors, scientists are gaining valuable information that is helping towards the success of captive breeding programs. These efforts by zoos are designed to help rare and endangered animals breed and keep their species alive. In one study to understand how cranes raise their babies, scientists used fake eggs containing thermometers and other sensors to measure the parents' body heat. This helped determine how often the eggs needed to be turned. In another, scientists used hand puppets to help train baby sea otters how to catch shellfish and break them open using rocks. They observed and then mimicked sea otter mothers' normal routines with their young. These types of studies have helped scientists to successfully duplicate many young animals' natural environments.

Level Pre-A

Main Concepts: Some baby animals resemble their mothers and fathers. Others look different from their parents.

Picture Activity

Have your students find all the animal babies on the front page. Ask which babies look pretty much like their parents, and which do not. The baby seal, gorilla, giraffe, ducklings, (and human) all resemble their parents. Explain that the worm-like caterpillars on the leaves are really baby butterflies, and the little tadpoles in the water are baby frogs. These babies do not look like their parents at all. They have to go through many changes before they are fully grown and look like their parents. Ask what kinds of things some parents need to do for their babies (feed them, protect them, clean them, carry them around, etc.

Vocabulary

Explain that some animal babies have special names like cubs, pups, kits, and calves. Have them write the letter "u" in the 2 blank spaces. Tell them that the babies on the left are all called pups. The ones on the right are cubs. Help them identify the baby animals shown: Pups - squirrel, dog, and seal and Cubs - tiger, bear, and shark (young sharks are sometimes referred to as pups also). Then have them draw lines to match the babies to their Moms.

Weekly Lab

You need: paper cups, small objects like cereal, rice, unpopped popcorn, salt, beans, paper clips, pennies, small foil balls, cut-up pieces of plastic straws, gummy-type candies or wrapped candies, rubber bands, etc., aluminum foil - large enough to cover the tops of the cups, rubber bands. Prepare the "sound cups" before beginning this lab. Make a number of matching pairs of cups (sets of 2 cups with the same items inside). Fill the cups about to 1/2 full. Then cover the tops with foil and fasten with rubber bands. Write a non-consecutive number on the bottom of each cup and keep a Master List of the pairs. This lab can be done in several ways. 1) Work with small groups and randomly give each child one of a pair of matching "sound cups." Have them walk around and see if they can find their matching "sound cup." 2) Pass out a different sound cup to each child. Give only one child a matching sound cup. Have this student walk around the room and listen as each child shakes their sound cup, until a match is found. 3) Have students work individually or in pairs. Give them several sets of matching "sound cups" and see if they can find the matching cups just through shaking and listening. Explain that animal parents can often find their own baby among hundreds of others, just by listening for their baby's voice. Some also use smell to help them. Have them find which baby belongs to the penguin parent.

Weekly Problem

Answers: 7, 9, 8. Babies born to an animal mother at the same time are called a litter. A mouse can have up to 9 babies in each litter and can have a new litter every 30 days! Have your students carefully count the number of babies in each mother mouse's litter and write the numbers in the boxes. Then have them circle the Mouse Mom with the most babies (the middle Mom).

Storytelling

All these babies are playing. Help your students identify them - a) chimps, b) wolf pups, c) kittens, d) human baby. Encourage them to use lots of action and descriptive words when discussing the pictures (e.g., rolling, tumbling, kissing, hugging, cuddling, tangled, building, crawling, etc. Many scientists believe that play helps babies learn skills that they will need when they are grown. Ask your students what they like to do the most when they play.

Animal Match-Ups

Have them cut out these Family Fit-Togethers, mix them up, and then put them together again. Help them identify each parent and read them these babies' special names. Ask which babies look like their parents and which do not. For extra backing, have them glue construction paper to the back of the page before cutting,

Level A

Main Concepts and Picture Activity: See TN Level Pre-A.

Vocabulary

Answers: 1) pup 2) kit 3) cub 4) calf. Explain that some animal babies have special names. Have them look at the 3 letters in the different shapes. When they see a box in the sentences below, have them write in the letter "u" (an oval - "i," a triangle - "a". Tell them that some baby animals are called the same name. For example, baby elephants, whales, and cows are all called calves. Ask what other baby animals they know that are called pups and kits (or kittens).

Weekly Lab

See TN Level Pre-A - WEEKLY LAB.

Weekly Problem

Answers: 7, 9, 8, the middle Mom (B), the first Mom (S). Babies born to an animal mother at the same time are called a litter. A mouse can have up to 9 babies in each litter and can have a new litter every 30 days! Have your students carefully count the number of babies in each mother mouse's litter and write the numbers in the boxes. Then have them write a B on the Mom with the biggest litter and an S on the one with the smallest.

Writing for Science

See TN Level Pre-A - STORYTELLING. In addition, have them complete the sentence at the bottom. Encourage them to write longer stories on a separate piece of paper.

Animal Match-Ups

Have your students cut out these Family Fit-Togethers and then put them together. When they have finished, help them identify the parents and each baby's name. Ask which babies look like their parents and which do not. To provide extra backing, have them glue construction paper to the back of the page before cutting.

Level B

Main Concepts: Animal babies come in many different sizes and shapes. Some closely resemble their parents, while others do not.

Vocabulary

Answers: 1) cub 2) kid 3) fawn 4) calf. Explain that some animal babies have special names. Have them cross out the letters - H ORSE - in the boxed letters. The letters that remain will spell the baby animal's name. Have them write the names on the lines.

Weekly Lab

You need: paper cups, small objects (like cereal rice, unpopped popcorn, salt, beans, paper clips, pennies, small foil balls, cut-up pieces of plastic straws, gummy-type candies or wrapped candies, rubber bands, etc. , aluminum foil - large enough to cover the tops of the cups, rubber bands. Prepare the "sound cups" before beginning this lab. Make a number of matching pairs of cups (sets of 2 cups with the same items inside). Fill the cups about 1/4 to 1/2 full. Then cover the tops with foil and fasten with rubber bands. Write a non-consecutive number on the bottom of each cup. Keep a Master List of the numbered pairs. This lab can be done in several ways. 1) Work with small groups and randomly give each child one of a pair of matching "sound cups." Have them walk around and see if they can find their matching "sound cup." 2) Pass out a different sound cup to each child. Give only one child a matching sound cup. Have this student walk around the room and listen as each child shakes their sound cup, until a match is found. 3) Have students work individually or in pairs. Give them several sets of matching "sound cups" and see if they can find the matching cups just through shaking and listening. Explain that animal parents can often find their own baby among hundreds of others, just by listening for their baby's voice. Some also use smell to help them. Have them find which baby belongs to the penguin parent.

Weekly Problem

Answers: 1) 2 2) 3 3) 16. Have them use the information given on the chart to color in the bar graph. Explain that all the babies born to an animal mother at the same time are called a litter. (These numbers are average size litters for these animals.)

Writing for Science

Have them use lots of descriptive words to describe these Moms and their babies. After they have written their stories, read them the following: Mother wolves will play "maul" with their pups to help teach them how to hunt and protect themselves when they are out on their own. Ducklings follow their Moms everywhere and copy everything they do. This is how they learn to be ducks. Mother tigers carefully pick up their tiger cubs, by the scruff of their necks, to help move them to safer places. This doesn't hurt the cubs, and they automatically relax and go limp when they are picked up in this way. It is the fastest way for their Moms to move them out of danger. This crocodile Mom is not eating her baby. She is carrying it very gently in her mouth. Crocodile hatchlings are often carried around in their parents' mouths when danger is near. Crocodiles are extremely good parents and take very good care of their young.

Animal Match-Ups

See TN Level A - ANIMAL MATCH-UPS.

Level C

Main Concepts: Animal babies come in many different sizes and shapes. Some closely resemble their parents, while others do not. Some babies can take care of themselves right from birth.

Vocabulary

Answers: 1) cub 2) kid 3) fawn 4) calf 5) pup. Explain that some animal babies have special names. Have them cross out the letters - HORSE - in the boxed letters. The letters that remain will spell the baby animal's name. Have them write the names on the lines.

Weekly Lab

See TN Level B - WEEKLY LAB.

Weekly Problem

Answers: 1) 2 2) 4 3) 16 4) rabbit Bonus: 40. Have them use the information on the chart to color in the bar graph. Explain that all the babies born to an animal mother at the same time are called a litter. (These numbers are average size litters for these animals. Ask how many babies human Moms usually have at one time. Ask if they know any animals that have had a litter.

Writing for Science

See TN Level B - WRITING FOR SCIENCE. In addition, encourage them to chose 2 more animal babies and have them draw and write a story about each.

Challenge

Answers: 1) gosling 2) goose 3) gaggle. Some other unusual group names are - a warren of rabbits, a crash of rhinoceroses, and a skulk of foxes.

Puzzle

Answer: a - e. The tapir is a donkey-sized animal that lives in the rainforests of Southeast Asia and South America. Baby tapirs are dark reddish brown with white or yellowish spots and stripes. This pattern provides camouflage in the dappled light of the forest.

Level D

Main Concepts: See Level C.

Vocabulary

Answers: 1) cub 2) kid 3) fawn 4) calf 5) pup 6) kit. Explain that some animal babies have special names. Have them cross out the letters - HORSE - in the boxed letters. The letters that remain will spell the baby animal's name.

Weekly Lab

Give each pair of students a container with one type of small object such as: cereal, rice, unpopped popcorn, salt, beans, paper clips, pennies, small foil balls, cut-up pieces of plastic straws, small chalk pieces, gummy-type candies or wrapped candies, rubber bands, etc. Provide enough different kinds of objects so that each pair of students can make a different set of "sound cups." When your students come to you with their completed cups, write a non-consecutive number on the bottom of each cup. Keep a Master List of the numbered pairs. When all the cups have been turned in and numbered, mix them up and randomly redistribute them. This activity can be done in small groups. You can also have your students work individually and make several sets of their own matching "sound cups." Have them see if they can find the matching cups through shaking and listening. Explain that animal parents can often find their own baby among hundreds of others, just by listening for their baby's voice. Some also use smell to help them. Have them find which baby belongs to the penguin parent.

Weekly Problem

Answers: 1) bear 2) eagle 3) 16 4) 4 5) mouse 6) fox. Bonus: 80. Using the information on the chart, have them color in the bar graph. These are average size litters for these animals.

Writing for Science

Encourage them to use lots of descriptive words to describe the interactions of these Moms and their babies. After they have written their stories, read them the following: Mother wolves will play "maul" with their pups to help teach them how to hunt and protect themselves when they are out on their own. Ducklings follow their Moms everywhere and copy everything they do. This is how they learn to be ducks. Mother tigers carefully pick up their tiger cubs, by the scruff of their necks, to help move them to safer places. This doesn't hurt the cubs, and they automatically relax and go limp when they are picked up in this way. It is the fastest way for their Moms to move them out of danger. This crocodile Mom is not eating her baby. She is carrying it very gently in her mouth. Crocodile hatchlings are often carried around in their parents' mouths when danger is near. Crocodiles are extremely good parents and take very good care of their offspring. The orangutan mother is very affectionate with her young. She often cuddles and "grooms" it (combs and cleans her baby's fur). The mother-baby orangutan bond is very strong and lasts for many years.

Challenge

Answers: 1) gosling 2) goose 3) gander 4) gaggle. Some other unusual group names are - a warren of rabbits, a crash of rhinoceroses, and a skulk of foxes.

Puzzle

Answers: a - d and e - g. See TN Level C - PUZZLE for more information on the tapir.

Level E

Main Concepts: Some animal babies resemble their parents. Others do not. Some are able to care for themselves right after birth, while others need to be nurtured by their parents for long periods. Play is an important factor in teaching future skills.

Vocabulary

Answers: 1) cub 2) kid 3) fawn 4) calf 5) pup 6) kit 7) lamb. Explain that some animal babies have special names. Have them cross out the letters - H O R S E - in the boxed letters. The letters that remain will spell the baby animal's name.

Weekly Lab

See TN Level D - WEEKLY LAB. Bonus: Have your students first put the cotton balls into the cups and then add a few drops of flavor extract. In this way, they will not get the extract on their fingers and transfer the scent to other cups. Also have your students waft the scent from the completed cups by fanning the scent towards their nose, instead of directly sniffing the cups.

Weekly Problem

Answers: 1) mouse 2) skunk 3) 1 to 2 (if you prefer not using ratios, ask them - "How many eaglets are there for each fox kit?") 4) mouse 5) fox 6) 4. Bonus: 80.

Writing for Science

See TN Level D - WRITING FOR SCIENCE.

Challenge

Answers: 1) b 2) both a and c are correct 3) c 4) a 5) b 6) a 7) b 8) c. You can have groups research these unusual baby animal names before giving the connect answers. Have them find others.

Puzzle

Have your students cut and glue each piece into the correct grid space to make this picture of a baby deer - a fawn. Even though it can walk within minutes of its birth, a fawn stays hidden in the underbrush for the first few weeks of its life. Its mother returns every few hours to feed it milk. The fawn's spotted coat makes it difficult for predators to find, by providing camouflage in the dappled light of the forest. The fawn instinctively remains motionless in its hiding place when danger is near. Mothers lick their young clean, so their scent can not be detected by enemies.

Level F

Main Concepts: See TN Level E. In addition, captive breeding programs are helping to ensure reproductive survival.

Weekly Lab

For Lab A - See TN Level D - WEEKLY LAB. For Lab B, have your students first put the cotton balls into the cups and then add a few drops of flavor extract. In this way, they will not get the extract on their fingers and transfer the scent to other cups. Also have your students waft the scent from the completed cups by fanning the the scent towards their nose, instead of directly sniffing the cups.

Weekly Problem

Answers: 1) I 2) F 3) A 4) I 5) C 6) A 7) G (also fingerling) 8) E 9) B 10) D 11) 1 12) H.

Writing for Science

Destruction of the Brazilian rainforest habitat has caused the tamarin population to drop from thousands to just a few hundred. Over the last 20 years, successful captive breeding programs in zoos have led to raising several hundred baby tamarins, about 100 of which have been returned to a preserve in Brazil. Have each student find out about a Tare or endangered animal e.g., Grevy's zebra, Bactrian camel, manatees, ocelots, etc. and then use that information to develop a birth announcement - or - have them make up a "fantasy animal" using information about a real endangered habitat somewhere in the world.

Challenge

Answers: sheep, ram, ewe, lamb, flock - rabbit, buck, doe, kit, warren - whale, bull, cow, calf, pod (or school) - geese, gander, goose, gosling, gaggle. They will need to use logic and the process of elimination to solve this puzzle. This activity can be done in small groups or with partners, also.

Puzzle

See TN Level E - PUZZLE. In addition, they will need to decide where the four pieces that are not numbered belong.

RELATED ARTICLE: Initiating Activities and Questions (Pre-A - B)

1. Ask what they could and couldn't do for themselves when

they were babies. What did their parents help them to do? 2. A great book for younger students is - Are You My Mom?

by P.D. Eastman. 3. Bring lots of books with baby animal photos to class. Photographs

help capture the endearing and charming qualities

of animal young. Ask your students why people like animal

babies so much. Have them collect their own baby animal

pictures to share.

Recommended Resources

* Allen, Thomas B., Karen Jensen, Philip Kopper. Earth's Amazing Animals. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation, 1993. * Grunwald, Lisa. "Animal Babies." Life. May, 1995. pp. 60-76. * Mayes, Susan. Baby Animals. London: Usborne Ltd., 1994. * Parker, Steve. Animal Babies. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1994.
COPYRIGHT 1995 Science Weekly, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Teaching Notes; includes a bibliography and list of needed materials; background information on baby animals and classroom activities from Level Pre-A through Level F
Publication:Science Weekly
Date:Nov 29, 1995
Words:3927
Previous Article:Weekly lab.
Next Article:Challenge.
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