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«Edited and Reviewed by Kerry Carlin Morgan, PhD Alice McCaleb 2 July 2003 Dear Teacher, The Memphis Zoo would like you to join us on an exciting ...»

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Giant Panda Teacher Packet

Written by

April Fitzgerald

Ashley Hardin

Amber Hoehn

Edited and Reviewed by

Kerry Carlin Morgan, PhD

Alice McCaleb


July 2003

Dear Teacher,

The Memphis Zoo would like you to join us on an exciting journey from Tennessee to China. On

this journey you and your students will recognize the importance of conservation and research of

giant pandas. Giant pandas are one of the most recognized animals in the world. And now, the

Memphis Zoo is one of only four zoos in the United States with them on exhibition. This puts us in the unique position to educate our school children about this rare and wonderful animal.

We have developed an exciting new teacher packet that focuses on the giant pandas. The packet includes pre and post trip activities for you to conduct in your classroom. The pre-trip activities will help you prepare your students for their trip to see the pandas so they can maximally benefit from the experience. The post-trip activities will reinforce what they learned at the zoo. Each activity is correlated to the Tennessee State Science Curriculum Standards so you can meet your curriculum needs with these fun, engaging activities.

If you would like to expand your panda experience, we also offer panda classes at the zoo. Our educators use biofacts and animal visitors to engage your students in an up-close, personal experience. We hope the zoo can become an integral part of your curriculum.

Sincerely, Kerry Carlin Morgan Education Manager, PhD Memphis Zoo 3 Table of Contents Section 1- Pre-trip activities Furry Friends

A Bear’s Business

It’s All in Black and White

Paper Plate Panda Mask

China Map

Section 2 - Post-trip activities Bear Tracks

Baby Panda Book

Me and Baby Panda

Panda Puppet

Panda Pals

Section 3 - Web sites

4 Pre-trip Activities 5 Furry Friends Goal: Students will learn some characteristics of animals.

Behavioral Objectives:

1) Students will be able to identify some characteristics of animals.

2) Students will be able to name five animals with fur.

Curriculum Standard Correlations:


• Sort pictures of animals by structural features Grade 1

• Distinguish animals by structural features Grade 2

• Identify and compare the structural features of various animals

–  –  –

Background Information:

Animals are covered differently. Some animals are covered with fur while others have scales or even feathers. Fur serves many purposes. Fur keeps animals warm. It also provides some protection against sunburn and insects. Fur can also serve as camouflage and come in modified forms like quills on a porcupine.

–  –  –

1) Have children list five animals with fur that are not on the worksheet.

2) Have students draw their favorite furry animal.

3) Find a picture of a porcupine or hedgehog. Explain to students that sometimes fur can come in modified forms such as quills. Ask students, what do porcupines use their quills for? Discuss with students that fur serves many purposes (camouflage, warmth, protection, warning). Give an example of each.

4) Discuss what coverings other animals have. How are they alike? How are they different?

–  –  –

Behavioral objectives:

1) Students will understand that bears live in different places throughout the world

2) Students will understand that bears eat a variety of foods.

3) Students will understand that there are different types of bears.

Curriculum Standard Correlations:

Grade 1

• Identify structures that plants and animals use to get their basic needs Grade 2

• Identify specific animals behaviors associated with meeting the animal’s needs

• Describe the features of various predators that allow them to hunt and catch prey

–  –  –

Background Information:

• There are 8 different types of bears that live on the earth. Bears live in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.

• The giant panda is a black and white bear that lives in China. Giant pandas live almost solely on a diet of bamboo, up to 33 pounds a day.

• The polar bear is the largest bear and lives in the artic region. It’s diet consists of ringed and bearded seals. In the summers, polar bears will dine on berries or other plant material when available.

• The sloth bear can be found in the forested areas of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan. It eats mostly termites and ants and uses its specialized snout for vacuuming up these foods.

• The spectacled bear lives in the Andes Mountains of South America. It has cream-colored facial markings around its eyes that give it its name. It eats mostly plants. A group of plants called bromeliads makes up almost 50% of its diet.

• The sun bear also referred to as the “honey bear” is the world’s smallest bear. Very little is known about the distribution of sun bears, except that it includes areas of Borneo, Burma, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Thailand. It has an extremely long tongue for eating small vertebrates, invertebrates, fruits, the young tips of palm trees and bees nests.

• The Asiatic black bear is also known as the moon bear. This bear is normally blackish in color with a distinct V-shaped patch of cream colored fur on its chest. It lives throughout a large part of southern Asia. It eats a large variety of foods including small mammals, birds, bee nests, and fruit. In fall, they will frequent nut-producing trees where they will eat from self-constructed leaf and branch nests or platforms.

• The brown bear or grizzly bear is one of the largest bear species. Brown bears can be found in western Canada, Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington. They have a distinguishable “hump” which is actually a mass of muscle that, coupled with long claws, provides the brown bear with great digging ability. Brown bears eat a mixed diet of nuts, grasses, fruits, bulbs and roots, insects, fish and small animals. In a few areas they are known to eat larger animals such as elk calves, caribou and moose.

–  –  –



1) Discuss the different types of bears with your students. Use pictures to help students become familiar with the different types of bears. Then on a map locate where the different bears live.

You can even discuss geography with students by pointing out the different continents. It might help students if you tack bear pictures on the map where they live. Then discuss what the different bears eat what and maybe some of their favorite foods.

–  –  –


1) Have the students share their pictures with the class.

2) Have students research the different types of bears. Have them research other animals that might live where bears live. Have students draw some of the animals that could be found in their bear’s habitat.

–  –  –

Behavioral objectives:

1) Students will identify giant pandas’ fur color as black and white.

2) Students will identify that the color of giant pandas’ fur helps them blend in with their environment.

Curriculum Standard Correlations:


• Describe animals as living things

• Sort pictures of animals by structural features Grade 1

• Distinguish animals by structural features Grade 2

• Illustrate how adaptations of animals increase their chance of avoiding predators

–  –  –

Background Information:

Giant pandas’ fur is black and white. The color of some animals’ fur helps them blend in with their environment. This is called camouflage. Patterns of color on skin, shells, fur, or feathers that conceal an animal in their environment can help protect it from predators. The giant pandas unique colors help break up the outline of the animals and therefore help it hide in its environment. Its colors also help it blend in with the snow that covers the mountains where they live. The following are examples of animal camouflage.

• White polar bears blend in with their snowy surroundings. When a polar bear hunts, it covers its black nose with one paw so that it appears entirely white.

• Giraffes look brightly colored to us, with their yellow, brown, and tan bodies. But against a background of similarly colored leafy trees, giraffes blend right in.

• Black panthers blend in with shadows in the jungle.

• Many animals living in cold regions change their coats in the winter to blend in with the snow. An example is an artic fox.

• Green algae grows on a sloth’s fur helping the sloth to blend in with the leaves on trees.

• Lions have golden fur that is a similar color to the grasses where they live.

–  –  –

Extensions/Going Further:

1) Have the class name some other animals whose colors help them blend in with their environment.

Also you can demonstrate camouflage by using different colored toothpicks making sure you have green colored toothpicks. Teachers should scatter the different colored toothpicks in the grass. Ask the children to find the toothpicks in the grass. Which toothpicks were the easiest to find? Which were the hardest to find? This activity illustrates camouflage. The green toothpicks should have been the hardest to find because they blend in with the color of the grass.

2) Discuss with the class that some animals are colorblind. For example, the snow leopard is colorblind. Colorblind means that they only see in black and white. The snow leopard is one of the giant pandas predators. Do you think the giant pandas colors help protect if from predators like the snow leopard? If snow leopards could see in color, what colors might the giant panda want to be.

–  –  –

Behavioral Objectives:

1. To recall what a Giant Panda’s fur looks like- color, etc.

2. To identify the parts of the Giant Pandas face

Curriculum Standard Correlations:


• Identify the functions of the sense organs Grade 1

• Distinguish animals by structural features Grade 2

• Illustrate how adaptations of animals increase their chance of avoiding predators Time: 1 hour

Background Information:

Giant pandas have very unique fur colors. Their fur is white with black sections around the ears, eyes, and legs. The color of their fur helps the giant panda blend into the thick bamboo forests where they live in China. It snows in the giant pandas habitat. The white sections of the giant pandas fur help them to blend into the snow.

The giant panda has some very interesting adaptations. An adaptation is a behavior, physical features, or other characteristics that helps an animal or plant to survive and make the most of its habitat. One adaptation is the black fur around the giant panda eyes. By having the black fur around the eyes, it makes their eyes look bigger to predators. The large “eyes” would scare the predator away. Giant Pandas depend on the use of their five senses to survive in the wild. Four of the five sense organs are located on the giant panda’s face. The first sense is sight. Giant pandas need two eyes to see and locate food, other pandas, and predators. The second sense is hearing. Giant pandas use their two ears to listen for other pandas and for predators. The sense of smell is the third sense. The nose is used for smelling and locating food and other pandas. The fourth sense is the sense of taste. Giant pandas use their mouth to eat and taste food and to also make calls to other pandas. They will also use their calls to scare away predators. The fifth sense organ is not located on the face. The last sense is the sense of touch. Giant pandas use their legs for holding their food and to touch and feel things.

–  –  –

Extensions/Going Further:

1) In your dramatic play area, place black and white fur vests or large pieces of black and white fabric with arms holes cut out for the children to dress up in and pretend that they are giant pandas.

The children may also wear their panda masks as they are playing.

–  –  –

Goal: To develop map skills

Behavioral Objectives:

1. To recall that Giant Pandas live in China

2. To recall that Giant Pandas live in a few small areas in China

Curriculum Standard Correlations:

–  –  –

Time: 30 minutes

Background Information:

Giant panda’s have lived in China for hundreds of years. Originally, the number of Giant Panda’s ranged in the thousands and they occupied much of southern and eastern China. Today, the number of giant pandas has dwindled to around one thousand and they live in only a few small areas in southern China. Giant pandas live in three provinces in China; Sichuan, the Shaanxi, and Gansu. Giant pandas make their homes in the Qionglaishan, Xiangling, and Liangshan Mountains of Sichuan, the Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi, and the Minshan Mountains in Gansu. These mountain ranges are cool, snowy, and full of bamboo forests. These bamboo forests are very important because the giant panda mainly eats bamboo. China has the largest population of any country in the world, around 1 billion. Because so many people live in China, more homes and food are needed to sustain the growing population. As a result, homes and farms were built were the giant pandas lived.

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