Cheetah: A Predator's Role in the Ecosystem
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2004 Edition. Cheetahs: A Predator's Role in the Ecosystem
Cheetah Biology (entire section) contains:
- Cat Comparisons I - Learners will study the cheetah by comparing and contrasting it to other members of the cat family. Activities include making a cat family tree and a cat comparison card game.
- Cat Comparisons II - This activity is designed to reinforce the differences between the cats. Learners will track the lion, leopard, cheetah, caracal, tiger and domestic cat through a simulated habitat, learning about each individual animal as they progress through the activity. They will also learn how to use and design field guides of their own.
- Adaptations - In this activity learners will learn about the adaptations of animals and the role those adaptations play in their survival. Cheetah adaptations are discussed using analogous objects and learners are given the opportunity to discover adaptations of backyard insects.
- Life Cycles - In this activity learners will work on their graphing skills by comparing the increase in weight after birth of cheetah cubs and human children.
- Nutrition - Learners will discover what the teeth of an animal can tell us about the animal and they will use this information to group common animals.
Ecology (entire section) contains:
- Habitats I - The learners will become familiar with the factors that influence an organism's habitat, including food, water, shelter, and space. They will then apply their knowledge to themselves and other living organisms to draw comparisons.
- Habitats II - This activity will further investigate the factors that influence an animal's habitat. It also uses the learner's background knowledge on the major cat species to predict the best habitat for each.
- Animal Behaviors - This activity is designed as an introduction to animal behaviours using the cheetah as a focus. Classroom and outdoor activities introduce the topic of behaviour to the learners while the activity ends with a research project comparing the interactions of cheetahs and other animals sharing their environment.
- Food Chains - In this activity learners study food chains, webs, and pyramids in relation to the cheetah. They use this information to construct their own food pyramid.
- Cheetah Hunt - In this activity learners discover limiting factors and carrying capacity using a game in which they all play cheetahs competing in the savannah.
- Predator-Prey Relationships - The purpose of this activity is to simulate the interactions between cheetahs and gazelles in order to understand what happens to the population of both species.
- Population Change - In this activity learners will look at which factors influence a population, including food, shelter, and space. They will play a game which simulates a population of cheetahs competing for food, shelter, and space. The data will then be graphed.
Conservation (entire section) contains:
- The Genetic Bottleneck - This activity demonstrates the importance of genetic diversity in healthy populations by simulating a genetic bottleneck event.
- Cheetah: An Animal at Risk - In this activity learners will look at the main reasons many animals become endangered. They will then look specifically at reasons why the cheetah is at risk and what will need to be done to save the cheetah.
- Threats to Survival - This role play is designed to begin the discussion on possible solutions to the cheetah's decrease in population.
Other Subjects (entire section) contains:
- Cheetah Math (Mathematics) - This activity includes possible mathematics problems that centre on the cheetah. Topics include number facts, averages, unit conversions, fractions, percentages, acceleration, and velocity.
- How Fast is the Cheetah? (Physical Education) - The learners will develop an appreciation for the cheetah's unique adaptations and amazing speed by comparing their speed to its.
- Writing About Cheetahs (English) - These activities are designed to develop language skills and to help learners realize their relationship with nature through creative writing and thinking.
- Mapping the Cheetah (Social Studies) - These activities deal with the distribution of the remaining cheetah populations throughout Africa and Asia. Learners are asked to get specific information from world and local maps concerning geography and the location of human and cheetah populations.
- Cheetahs Through History (Social Studies) - Learners will discover the prehistoric history of the cheetah and its movement from North America to its present home in Africa. An activity to create a timeline of cheetah history is also included.
Reference (entire section) contains:
- Cheetah Fact Sheet - Provides detailed information on the cheetah.
- Fact Sheets on Other Big Cats - Provides facts on the leopard, lion, caracal, and tiger.
- CCF Fact Sheet - Provides information on the founding of the Cheetah Conservation Fund as well as details on our goals.
- A Place for Predators - Discusses the importance of having predators in a healthy ecosystem.
- A Singular Species: Why Does the Cheetah Lack Genetic Diversity? - Discusses information on the lack of genetic diversity within the cheetah population and ways in which scientists are working to maintain as diverse a population as possible.
- The Cheetah's History - Provides information on the evolutionary history and history with humans of the cheetah.
- Cheetah Speed - Provides information on the speed of the cheetah and its special adaptations which make it the fastest land animal.
- Cheetahs and Farmers - Provides information on the conflict between cheetahs and farmers as well as possible solutions to the problem.
- Cats of the World - A map showing the wild cats of the world.
- Why Do Species Become Endangered? - A poster which details the H.I.P.P.O. dilemma.
- Photographs of the Big Cats - Included are full-page photographs of the cheetah, lion, leopard, tiger, and caracal for use in teaching.
- Glossary - A detailed glossary or vocabulary list of commonly used words throughout the activity book.
This Guide was compiled by Ron Gray, who teaches at Waldo Middle School in Salem, Oregon. He adapted it from the previous version, Cheetah Outreach's Teacher Resource Guide, the Cincinnati Zoo's Activity Book, Project Wild, and the Smithsonian's Black-Footed Ferret Ambassador Program, and added some original activities of his own. Many thanks to Ron for all his hard work.
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