Printer Friendly

Cats.

Background

Cats come from a family of early mammals that lived in the post-dinosaur age. Panthers were among the first of the modern cat family to emerge. Early big cats spread around the world, and lions emerged out of Africa through Europe, Southeast Asia, and parts of North America. The oldest tiger fossils were found in China. And, leopards and jaguars were dispersed through areas of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Some parts of the world were without felidae until people imported domestic cats along trade routes.

Cats in the Americas

Although the Americas have only one big cat, the jaguar, they host a variety of smaller cats, ranging from the largest of the Fells genus, the puma, to the kodkod, a seven pound tree-dweller. Wild populations of the Americas also include the ocelot, bobcat, lynx, margay, pampas cat, mountain cat, tiger cat, jaguarundi, and Geoffrey's cat. Habitats of these cats continue to be threatened by cultivation and urbanization, and many are on the verge of extinction.

Domestication

Domestic cats have become popular pets in many countries around the world. They help reduce pests around homes, and people have domesticated cats dating back thousands of years in Pakistan, India, and of course, Egypt. Of all the species that have become domesticated, the cat is the only one that still is a solitary hunter.

How Cat Eyes Work

Cats are mainly nocturnal and hunt at night. They have large, well-adapted eyes that function well in the dark. In low light, the cat pupil can open very wide. It also can contract to a very small slit to protect the retina in bright light. Cats have an elliptical-shaped pupil that is controlled by a shutter-like muscle. Eyes of big cats, such as jaguars, are more circular than other cats when dilated. Cat eyes appear to glow in the dark because the tapetum lucidum is positioned at the back of the eye and acts like a mirror to reflect light back to the retina. It increases the amount of light that goes to the retina and makes the eye glow when exposed to light.

TEACHING NOTES (TN)

Supplement of Science Weekly Publication Pre-A through E

Initiating Questions Levels Pre-A-A

1. What is a cat? How big is a cat?

2. Have you ever had a cat as a pet?

Follow-up Questions Levels Pre-A-A

3. Are there many sizes of cats?

4. Where do cats live, and what do they need?

5. What kinds of cats live near you?

Level Pre-A

Main Concept: Some cats are big, and some cats are small.

Picture Activity

There are many different kinds of cats. Some are wild animals, and some are tame pets. Point to the cats that you think are wild. How can you tell they are wild?

Vocabulary

Students draw lines to match rhyming words.

Answers: cat--hat; big--dig; see--bee; small--ball

Weekly Lab

(Please see the SAFETY STICKY NOTE to the left.) Students will use their hands in the same way cats use their whiskers. Whiskers help cats to feel around in the dark or to see if they can fit into a small space. Students will act like cats while trying to crawl through a large box with their eyes closed. Ask students how they could tell where the opening of the box was. Point out that cats use their whiskers the way we use our hands--to feel.

Math

Students will cut out the boxes at the top of the page and then glue them at the end of each row to complete each of the patterns.

Answers: 1) tiger A; 2) tiger B; 3) lion

Storytelling

The domestic cat has bowls of water and food provided by an owner, soft, warm bedding, and lives indoors. The wild cheetah lives outdoors and sleeps in natural surroundings. The cheetah needs to hunt for smaller animals (prey) to eat. For water it needs to find a river or stream. Both types of cats need food and water and a place to live.

Challenge

Students mark an "X" on the cat in each group that is different from all the others.

Answers: 1) snow leopard (white leopard); 2) tiger with no tail; 3) cat with no whiskers; 4) cat with different color eyes

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Bringing It Home

(See maze solution.)

Level A

Main Concept:

There are many cats. Some cats are big, and some cats are small. Some cats live near us, but most wild cats live far from the United States in other countries.

Picture Activity

(See Level Pre-A.)

Vocabulary

Students trace the missing vowels in the new words.

Weekly Lab

(Please see the SAFETY STICKY NOTE on page 1. Also, see Level Pre-A.) Ask students how they could tell where the opening of the box was. Which senses did they use? Discuss the five senses (sight, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting) and the parts of the body used for each.

Math

(Please see Level Pre-A.)

Answers: lion A; tiger B; tiger A; lion B

Writing in Science

Students write answers to the questions. Cats have whiskers to help them feel what is around them. Whiskers help keep cats safe by helping them know what is nearby and if they can fit into small spaces to hide from predators.

Challenge

Answers: Students should color the following cats: orange: 1) leopard; 2) cheetah; 5) lion; 6) tiger; brown: 3) domestic long-hair; 4) domestic short-hair Students should circle the following: 1, 2, 5, and 6.

Bringing It Home

Students look at the pictures of cats and circle the cats that might live near them. Small domestic cats such as the calico cat and the coon cat might live nearby, and

should be circled. Larger cats such as the leopard, tiger, puma and lion live far away in other countries (not in the United States).

Initiating Questions Levels B-C

1. How many different kinds of cats are there?

2. Are all cats wild? What does domestic mean?

3. What do cats eat, and how do they get their food?

Follow-up Questions Levels B-C

4. How are all cats alike? How are they different?

5. What does carnivore mean?

6. Why are whiskers important for a cat?

7. Name some of a cat's strong senses and how they are used.

Level B

Main Concept: Cats are found in many sizes.

Domestic, or tame, cats live near us, but most wild cats live far from the United States in other countries. All cats have strong senses, are meat eaters (carnivores), and use whiskers to feel.

Vocabulary

Students draw lines to match each picture to the definitions.

Answers: 1) wild, 2) domestic, 3) whiskers; Bonus: A carnivore is a meat eater.

Weekly Lab

(Please see the SAFETY STICKY NOTE on page 1.) Students will experiment with reflection. They will try to trace a heart shape by looking only at the reflection. Many students may say it was hard to trace the shape while looking in the mirror. Ask students, "What is a reflection?" Explain that cat's eyes are like mirrors because they reflect light.

Math

Students will learn to identify male and female lions. While male lions have manes, female lions do not. The mane helps the male lion appear larger to scare away predators.

Answer: 10 lions--2 male lions=8 female lions

Writing in Science

Students answer questions about their WEEKLY LAB activity. Reflect means to send back images. If you shine a light into a mirror, it will reflect off of the mirror. Cat's eyes are like mirrors because light reflects off of them. When you see a cat's eyes in the dark, with light shining toward them, their eyes will glow.

Challenge

Students will complete the dot-to-dot drawing by looking in their mirrors instead of looking directly at the drawing. This CHALLENGE activity provides more practice with reflection and reinforces the WEEKLY LAB concepts. It also neaps students develop hand-eye coordination.

Puzzle hand-eye coordination.

Answer: A black panther is really a leopard with hidden spots.

Initiating Questions Level C

1. Are all big cats wild? Are all small cats domestic?

2. Have you ever seen a big, wild cat? Where?

3. What do cats eat, and how do they get their food?

Follow-up Questions Level C

4. What are saber teeth?

5. What is the special organ called that cats use to taste and smell? Where is it located?

6. How do cats use their whiskers? Why are whiskers important?

Level C

Main Concept: (See Level B.) Also, some cats are now extinct, such as the saber-toothed cat (or smilodon), that had sabers (huge teeth as sharp as daggers). All cats are great hunters, and use sharp teeth and claws to catch smaller animals. A cat also has a special organ in the roof of its mouth, called Jacobson's organ, used for both tasting and smelling.

Vocabulary

Answers: 1) whiskers; 2) carnivore; 3) domestic; 4) extinct; 5) saber; Cat Fact: Lions are the most social of all big cats. They live in groups called prides.

Weekly Lab

(Please see the SAFETY STICKY NOTE on page 1. Also, see Level B.) Students may feel like left is right when using the mirror to trace. Many students may say it was more difficult to trace the star using the mirror. Ask students, "What is a reflection?" and "How do cat's eyes reflect light?" Explain that cat's eyes are like mirrors because they have mirror-like membranes that reflect light.

Challenge

Students use the table to answer questions. The multiple choice format helps reinforce test-taking skills.

Answers: 1) d; 2) a; 3) b; 4) c

Math

Students use the same table from the CHALLENGE activity to complete the MATH problems. Students should show their work.

Answers:

1) 3,215-1,561=1,654 (more lions in Central Africa than in Western Africa); 2) 18,519-13,775= 4,944 (more lions in Southern Africa than in Eastern Africa)

Writing in Science

Students think about the WEEKLY LAB and answer questions using complete sentences.

Students may write that a convex mirror may reflect light in several directions since it is curved. Some items that glow in the dark include bicycle reflectors, reflector strips on jackets or backpacks, and special glow-in-the-dark sticker decorations.

Puzzle

(See maze solution).

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Initiating

Questions Levels D-E

1. What do you know about cats?

What makes them interesting?

2. How big are cats and where do they live?

3. How can cats see to hunt in the dark?

Follow-up Questions Levels D-E

4. List some of a cat's very strong senses and explain how they help a cat survive.

5. Why are cats successful, carnivorous hunters?

6. What is the Jacobson's organ used for? How is it unique?

Level D

Main Concept: (See Levels B and C). Additionally, all cats belong to the family felidae. Cats can see about six times better than humans. The pupil of a cat's eye can adjust from a very tiny slit to very wide, enabling them to hunt at night. Cats also have a good homing instinct, which enables them to find their way home from long distances.

Vocabulary

Answers: 1) carnivore; 2) felidae; 3) extinct; 4) domestic; 5) Jacobson's; 6) saber; 7) whiskers; Cat Fact: A leopard is the strongest climber of all the big cats. It can carry prey that weighs twice it's own weight up a tree.

Weekly Lab

(Please see SAFETY STICKY NOTE on page 1.) (Please see Level C.) Students will note that it can be difficult to trace the shapes by looking at the reflection because it will appear backwards. When shining a light into the mirror, students will note that the mirror reflects the light. The bicycle reflector should both reflect and absorb light. The light should reflect in more directions since it has many slanted mirrors inside of it. Explain that a cat's eyes are convex (rounded) rather than flat like a plane mirror.

Math

Answers:

7 cubs x 25 spots each = 175 spots on all the cubs; 175 spots on the cubs + 35 + 45 = 255 spots total

Writing in Science

Students may think the cat's eye is more like the bicycle reflector because cat's eyes have mirror-like membranes inside them that send light in different directions. Other items designed to glow when a light shines on them include reflector strips on jackets and backpacks, stickers, adhesive stars and planets 3 used as wall decorations, patrol belts, traffic signs, etc. These items are like cat's eyes because they appear to glow. They are different because they are safety items designed to be easily seen in the dark. A cat's eyes are designed to help the cat see better in the dark.

Challenge

Students will complete the maze while looking in their mirrors. (See maze solution.)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Puzzle

(See crossword solution, to the right.)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Level E

Main Concept: (See Levels B, C, and D). Most wild cats are large. Most domestic cats are small, but some small and medium-sized cats also live in the wild, such as the sand cat, serval, ocelot, and bobcat. All cats have super-strong vision and other senses. A cat's whiskers are used as a sensitive touch organ to feel nearby objects and take natural measurements of space.

Vocabulary

Answers: 1) pupil; 2) carnivore; 3) extinct; 4) domestic; 5) felidae; 6) saber; Cat Fact: Lions are the most social of all cats. They live in groups called prides.

Weekly Lab

(Please see the SAFETY STICKY NOTE on page 1.) Students will use the scientific method to determine how a cat's eyes reflect light. To establish a hypothesis, students will check which item they think reflects light most like a cat's eye. Students will then shine a flashlight onto the four items and record their data in the chart provided. All four items reflect light. Students will estimate the number of directions the light reflects as they make their observations and write it down. Students will write their conclusions in the WRITING IN SCIENCE activity. Students will probably conclude that a bicycle reflector is most similar to a cat's eye because it seems to both "hold" or absorb light and reflect the light back in many directions due to the many tilted mirrors inside.

Math

Answers: 1) 60 / 10 = 6; 2) 1/6 X 60 miles = 10 miles; a drawing that shows 6 each of 10, such as a pie graph, tally marks, or boxes of dots, for example

BONUS: 70 (miles in 60 min) / 6 = 11.4 miles in 10 minutes; or 70/6 = 11.4

Writing in Science

(See Level D.)

Challenge

Students will use the table to answer questions.

Answers: 1) Gir Forest National Park; 2) Southern Africa; 3) Eastern Africa; 4) 16,000, 13,000, 5) 30,000

Where in the World?

According to the map provided, list the countries in Africa with lion populations: Answers: Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cabinda (Angola), Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mall, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Weekly Resources

Helpful Sources for Planning Your Science Weekly Classroom Activities

Recommended Resources

* Clutton-Brock, Juliet. Eyewitness Cat. DK Publishing: New York, 2004

* Crisp, Marry. Everything Cat: What Kids Really Want to Know About Cats. Northwood: Minnetonka, Minnesota, 2003

* Johnson, Jinny. Cats and Kittens. Black Rabbit Books: Minnesota, 2009

Internet Resources

National Geographic Cats--

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/big-cats/

Explorit--

http://www.explorit.org/science/cats.html

Animal Planet--

http://animal.discovery.com/cat-guide/

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

DID YOU KNOW??

Purring is a sound produced by vibrating vocal cords.

After a fall, cats almost always land on their feet.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

There are more than 500 million domestic (do-mes-tic) cats in the world.

Some big cats, like I cougars, can jump 15 feet straight up in the air.

Cheetahs are the fastest land mammals.

Cheetahs do not roar; they purr.

Leopards are the strongest climbers of the big cats.

A cat cannot see I things under its, nose I because its nose gets I in the way.

Tiger stripes are like fingerprints. No two have the same pattern.

SAFETY STICKY NOTE

Attention Teachers!

Please exercise caution during the WEEKLY LAB activities. Students will require adult assistance and should be carefully supervised while crawling on the floor with their eyes closed or while working with mirrors and flashlights.

New words

cats

big

small

near

far

BIG CATS

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

jaguar

tiger

lions

leopard

Some big cats can jump high up in the air!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

SMALL CATS

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

There are a lot of cats.

There are big cats.

There are small cats.

There are cats who live near,

There are cats who live far,

Write the vowels for each word.

Vocabulary

NOTE TO TEACHERS and PARENTS:

(See directions in Teaching Notes for all activities.)

Write the vowels for each word.

The vowels are aeiou

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

cat

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

small

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

near

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

far

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

big

Weekly Lab

ADULT SUPERVISION REQUIRED

How do cats use their whiskers?

You need: a large box

ATTENTION TEACHERS! Please read Teaching Notes before beginning this activity.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

(1)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Close your eyes, Crawl to the box.

(2)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Feel the box. Will you fit?

(3)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Crawl through the box.

(4) body parts

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

What did you use to feel the box?

(5) senses

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

What did you use to feel the box?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Cats use whiskers to feel!

Math

Cut out the cats. Finish the patterns. Glue.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Writing in Science

What did you learn in the WEEKLY LAB?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

1. Why do cats have whiskers?

--

2. Do whiskers keep cats safe? Why?

--

Challenge

Color the big cats orange. Color the small cats brown.

Circle the wild cats.

(1)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

(2)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

(3)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

(4)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

(5)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

(6)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Bringing It Home

Which cats might live near you?

Circle the cats that might live near you.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

leopard

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

puma

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

calico cat

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

tiger

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

coon cat

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

lion

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"What makes you feel blue and say achoo?"

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"The flu!"

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"But the flu is no joke! We'll learn all about the flu in our next issue."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
COPYRIGHT 2010 Science Weekly, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Science Weekly
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Sep 22, 2010
Words:3061
Previous Article:Pulleys.
Next Article:The flu.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |