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Keep Wild Animals Wild (K-2)



This set of eight lessons provides an opportunity for students to explore wild animals and the types of adaptations that make wildlife successful in their own environment.  The differences between domesticated and non-domesticated animals are evaluated, while role play and literature responses are used to facilitate meaningful discussions about keeping animals wild.  Direction is also provided for an activity in which students conduct a backyard investigation to observe animals in their natural habitat.  A final visual arts project offers an authentic communication strategy for sharing new learning with peers and community members.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • reading, reflecting and responding
  • observation
  • communication
  • wildlife identification


  • Includes a pre and post instruction assessment of learning.
  • Includes an outdoor component.
  • Lessons are supported by instructional videos and worksheets that are readily accessible.
  • Includes an online discussion forum for educators.
  • Includes ideas for action projects.


  • Several lessons place a high emphasis on literature comprehension which may be difficult for some students at this grade level.
  • An assessment tool for the final art project is not included.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This learning unit engages students in a cross-curricular experience where English Language Arts outcomes are used to support new learning about animals and their habitats.  Visual Arts are the mechanism for students to express their opinions and inform their peers about the detrimental practice of removing animals from the wild.  

One of the key strengths of the lessons is that it provides the framework for an action project in which students could become involved in wildlife conservation within their community.  An innovative hands-on learning experience could have a class working with volunteers and a local farmer to develop a shared space for domestic and wild animals. Activities could include nest box installation along fences, defining and marking "no mow" zones around hay fields or creating brush piles.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (2)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Wildlife Protection

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

This teaching unit presents a balanced approach to the controversial issue of wildlife in captivity by focusing on the positive interactions between humans and animals in natural environments.  Thus, students will strengthen their conservation ethic with age-appropriate actions to protect nature.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory

The lessons build on the strong connections between children and animals to support informed discussions about why wildlife conservation is important.  Although the economic and social costs of wildlife trade are beyond the scope of this unit, students will certainly gain a clearer understanding of the environmental damage caused by removing animals from their natural habitat.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Satisfactory

This lesson plan targets a very young audience so the complexities surrounding the topic cannot be explored in great detail.  However, the lessons do support outdoor observation of animals in their natural environment where students can view interdependence between species.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

As a final project students prepare and present a visual arts showcase that highlights the importance of wild animals.  This event could easily be open to the local community.  The lessons have also been developed within the framework of community action so many ideas for local projects are included with the resource.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

Students have many opportunities to identify responsible behaviour that protects wildlife.  They also explore and promote their personal ideas.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

The outdoor activity that engages students in a responsible interaction with a local natural space teaches students how to interact with wildlife without causing harm.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

The contents of this teaching unit are applicable to all students since everyone has had some interactions with animals.  The field trip to a local green space will reinforce the classroom content and provide a local reference for students.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Poor/Not considered
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

One of the highlights of this unit is the emphasis on group discussions where all students are encouraged to participate and express their feelings about wildlife.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Very Good

There are strong currculum links to English Language Arts, Science and Social Studies.  The final project also provides students with the opportunity to express themselves through a visual art project.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

This age level is suited to a certain amount of teacher direction but the lessons are structured to support dialogue and the formation of new ideas.  The outdoor activity also provides an opportunity for students to actively engage with the environment.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.


Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

There is an emphasis on reading and responding but the use of a video and art to support the learning will appeal to visual learners. 

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

Students are able to explore wild animals within a local natural area but most of the learning is classroom based.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Poor/Not considered

Students work in groups or individually.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good

The teacher's guide for this respource includes a pre and post assessment that enables the educator to determine the level of understanding before and after the lessons.  The final project could be used as a summative assessment but a rubric is not included with the guide.  The lessons all include formative assessment strategies such as guided questioning.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory

The lessons support peer to peer discussions and the visual arts showcase provides a forum for students to teach others.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Satisfactory

The opportunity to investigate animals within a local green space provides a meaningful expereince that supports the lessons and provides a local reference for discussions about wildlife.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

The final art project provides an opportunity for students to express their own ideas in their own way.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.