“Student collect, organize, evaluate and synthesize information from multiple sources to draw logical conclusions” is one standard stated in the benchmarks in the academic content standards for social studies. Then, students should be able to deliver the information in various settings such as oral, written or multimedia form. Though it is first priority to apply social studies curriculum to human behavior and interactions, we can as well transfer skills gained by collecting, organizing, evaluating animal behaviors to study human interactions.
Images obtained from scouting cameras can be collected and sorted based on various criteria-bucks and does, ages, size of antlers, time of day the images were captured, etc. Youngsters will come up with a variety of categories and the names they give them are less important than the consistency with which they apply them. These activities can be done by all students from grade one through high school, showing more sophistication with each year.
The data collected can be presented using different media all of which give students practice in basic social studies skills. Information gained from both primary sources such as their own sightings or photos from a trail camera, or secondary sources, including books, magazines, neighbors and other hunters can be organized and communicated to others through the use of charts and graphs. As students get older, they can present a position and support it with the evidence.
One skill mentioned at every age level is the ability to work effectively in a group setting to analyze data and predict outcomes. The activities presented here lend themselves to group work. Students can work cooperatively with siblings, parents, cousins and friends in both collection and analysis of data. Organizing the data and presenting in a pictorial form provides a positive family experience and encourages increased recreational opportunities. And while academic skills are important, the strong family ties formed through a common interest in wildlife and the environment last a lifetime.
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